Nook closes support forum

As of September 7, the official NOOK forum at Barnes and Noble is shutting down. From the posts on the site, it seemed that posting activity had dwindled to a small number of posts. Users of the forum received an email on the closure.

While the forum may be closing, assistance is still available from Barnes and Noble. According to the post,

Though the forums will no longer be around, we’ll still be here to answer all your support questions at https://help.barnesandnoble.com/ and on social media at the following links:

• Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/barnesandnoble/
• Twitter: https://twitter.com/BN_care
• Instagram: https://Instagram.com/barnesandnoble

If you are looking for another forum, there is still an active community of Nook users at NOOKBoards.

You can also find discussions for Nook users at the NOOK forum on mobileread.com.

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Barnes and Noble sends customers email about defective charger (finally)

bn_adapterI have written several posts about the issues plaguing Barnes & Noble’s new $50 NOOK tablet. In December, malware was discovered by researchers on the tablet. The company countered that with an announcement stating that they had already corrected the malware issue. A few weeks later,  Barnes & Noble voluntarily recalled the tablets, stating that there was a defect in the power adapter included with the device.

Today, Barnes & Noble finally sent an email letting customers know about the defective power adapter that came with the $50 Barnes & Noble tablet.  (I received my email this morning.) It seems like Barnes and Noble was waiting for the replacement adapters to be available before contacting customers

According to the email, Barnes & Noble is voluntarily recalling the charger because the casing can break when plugged in to an electrical outlet and cause an electric shock.

The recalled adapter bears the model number TPA-95A050100UU and was sold with the $50 Nook 7′ tablet with model number BNTV450.

Barnes and Noble is offering a replacement adapter and a $5 gift card upon the return of the adapter. According to the email,

If you have the power adapter that came with the NOOK Tablet 7″, you should immediately stop using the power adapter and go to https://help.barnesandnoble.com/app/tablet7_adapter_replacement to register to participate in the recall. Barnes & Noble will provide you with a free replacement adapter along with a $5 Barnes & Noble gift card upon return of the recalled adapter. In the meantime, you can charge your NOOK Tablet 7″ by using your computer and a USB cable.

If you need additional assistance, please contact Barnes & Noble at (877) 886-5025 from 8am to 11pm ET, Monday through Friday, or 9am to 11pm ET on Saturday and Sunday, or visit our website atwww.barnesandnoble.com and click on “Product Recalls” listed at the bottom of the B&N.com home page for more information.

After I registered for the recall, I was told that I would receive a UPS return shipping label in the mail. Within minutes, I received an email with a link to print the label.

According to the instructions, after I return the defective adapter to the Returns Center, a replacement power adapter will be shipped out via UPS 2-Day Delivery and a $5 gift card will be included. Note that you must enter your device’s serial number to register for the recall.

As of this writing, the Nook 7″ tablet is still listed as unavailable on the Barnes and Noble website.

Photo © The Ebook Evangelist,  All rights reserved.

Barnes & Noble recalls the new $50 NOOK tablet

nook_recallFriday,  it was reported the Barnes & Noble had pulled the tablet from its stores, both physical and online. Supposedly, the recall is due to three faulty chargers. according to an article on Android Police, the company is seeking an alternate source for the charging adapter. In the meantime, the device can be charged via USB.

When Barnes & Noble first released its new $50 NOOK tablet last November, it seemed like it could be a viable alternative to the $50 Fire tablet by Amazon. The initial promise of the cheap tablet that included Google services seemed like a product that could put Barnes & Noble back as a contender in the ereader game.

However, the discovery of the ADUPS malware was included in the tablet software was a major misstep for the company’s new tablet direction. Conflicting reports about whether the firmware had been updated and claims of other exploits didn’t help the situation.

Friday,  it was reported the Barnes & Noble had pulled the tablet from its stores, both physical and online. Supposedly, the recall is due to three faulty chargers. according to an article on Android Police, the company is seeking an alternate source for the charging adapter. In the meantime, the device can be charged via USB.

Oddly, a link for the tablet still shows on the main NOOK page, but is unavailable on the product page.

I have the feeling there is more to come here….

B and N says they already fixed the NOOK malware issue, but….

nook_boxYesterday I posted a story about the new NOOK branded tablet coming with malware pre-installed. Barnes and Noble says that the device had already been update prior to its initial sale and that an new update to remove it completely is forthcoming. Here’s their response to 9 to 5 Google’s request for comment:

“NOOK Tablet 7” went on sale on November 26. By that time, the device automatically updated to a newer version of ADUPS (5.5), which has been certified as complying with Google’s security requirements, when first connected to Wi-Fi. ADUPS has confirmed to Barnes & Noble that it never collected any personally identifiable information or location data from NOOK Tablet 7” devices, nor will it do so in the future.

Finally, we are working on a software update to remove ADUPS completely from the NOOK Tablet 7”. That update will be made available to download within the next few weeks, but in the meantime customers can rest assured that the device is safe to use.” – Fred Argir, Chief Digital Officer

The problem with this is that Charles Fisher, the engineer who broke the story on Linux Journal, says that ADUPS 5.5 is not version that was on the NOOK BNTV450.

A new Android Central article notes that the shipping version for the tablet was 5.2.0.2.002. Evidently, there was some sort of an update, as their post goes on to note that “the version in the update file we received last night is 6.0.” While they state that the update should solve the ADUPS problem, they are still saying avoid this one:

But there are plenty of reasons to still not buy this tablet. Beginning with the fact that it’s still 100% vulnerable to CVE-2015-6616. In human language, that means the Stagefright exploit. The Android version (6.0 in this case) should be at least partially patched, but there are security updates for the processor which have not been applied.

The bottom line is that there is just too much uncertain about this tablet. I am sending mine back.From comparing them side by side, the $50 Fire 7″  was faster anyway….

Photo © The Ebook Evangelist

So that $50 NOOK has malware….

new_nookIf you had wondered if that NOOK $50 tablet was too good to be true, turns out you were right. Remember last month’s story on that ADUPS malware that was infecting the Blu R1 HD phones and sending data back to China? Yeah, that one. Well, as it turns out, the same malware is affecting the NOOK BNTV450. And, unlike the BLU scenario where an update was issued, 9 to 5 Google is reporting that there seems to be no way to disable the ADUPS on the NOOK device.

If you want the technical info on the malware, there’s a lot more information on the issue in the Linux Journal article that apparently broke the story. The article notes that Google has blacklisted the ADUPS agent and that a user can expect “zero privacy” from a device with this agent installed. Barnes and Noble has yet to comment on the story.

Since I bought one of these last month, I am not a happy camper. Although I hadn’t had time to do much with it (maybe a blessing in disguise), I was already past the 14 day return window that the online store allows. I have performed a factory reset on my device while I reach out to Barnes and Noble on the matter.  I suggest you do the same or use at your own risk. While the ADUPS does not seem to be active at the moment, that can change at any time.

To reset the device, go to Apps> Settings>Backup and Reset. (Note that the correct one is the grey option that says just settings, not the green NOOK settings option.) Everything will be erased from the tablet, so make sure to transfer any files you want to keep.

More on this as it unfolds. I will update with any news from Barnes and Noble. I am off to change passwords. 😦

See an update to this story here.

How does the new $50 NOOK tablet compare to the $50 Fire?

nook_tab_2016

Barnes and Noble has a new NOOK tablet coming on November 25th. Most recently, B & N has had a line of tablets co-branded with Samsung, but now is getting back into the tablet game again with this new budget friendly device. It’s priced at $50, clearly competing with Amazon’s 7 inch Fire tablet.

Here’s a comparison table of the specs for the two devices:

Fire 7” NOOK
Price Starting at $49.99 $49.99
Screen Size 7″ IPS Display 7″ IPS Display
Resolution 1024 x 600 (171 ppi) 1024 x 600 (171 ppi)
Colors Black, Magenta, Blue, Tangerine Black
Processor Quad-core 1.3 GHz Unknown
Alexa Enabled Yes No
Google Play No Yes
Content Access to millions of movies, TV episodes, songs, books, apps, games, and more via AMAZON Audio: M4A, 3GA, AAC, MP3, FLAC, WAV, OGG, AAC

Video: MP4, 3GP, WMV, ASF, AVI, FLV, MKV, WEBM

Gallery (pictures): JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP

Reader/Other: PDF, ePUB, DRP, ePIB, HWP, HWT, HML, HWPX, DOC, DOCX, TXT, RTF, DOT, DOTX, HWDT, XLSX, XLSB, XLS, XLSM,XLTX, XLTM, XLT, CELL, HCDT, PRN, TXT, CSV, TSV, HTML, HTM, PPTX, PPT, POTX, THMX, SHOW, HSDT, HTHEME

Audio Mono speaker,

Built-in microphone

Unknown (website specs only list headphone jack)
Storage 8 or 16 GB

(expandable by up to 200 GB microSD card)

Free unlimited cloud storage for Amazon content

8GB on-board memory

Add up to 128GB with an optional microSD card and store eligible eBooks (NOOK Books® with Digital Rights Management enabled only) to make more room. All of your NOOK® purchases are stored for free in the NOOK Cloud.

Cameras VGA Front-facing camera +

2 MP rear-facing camera with 720p HD video recording

Front: VGA

Rear: 2 MP

Connectivity Single-band Wi-Fi b/g/n Dual-Band (2.4GHz/5GHz) Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n)

 

Battery Life* Up to 7 hours of reading, surfing the web, watching video, and listening to music Up to 7 hours of reading, watching videos and web browsing
Weight** 11.0 oz (313 g) 8.80 oz
Dimensions** 7.5” x 4.5” x 0.4”

(191 x 115 x 10.6 mm)

7.40” x 4.2” x 0.39”

 

Customer Support Screen Sharing + email, web, and phone In-store support provides assistance for setup, connectivity, and basic troubleshooting when you visit Barnes & Noble bookstores

The specs on the new NOOK tablet seem pretty comparable with the 7″ Fire. There are a few pluses for the Nook. Unlike the Fire, the new Nook doesn’t have the special advertising offers on the lock screens. It also runs a straight version of Android (6.0) and has the Google Play store installed on the tablet. (You can install the Play store on the Fire, but it involves work and whether it continues to function is at the mercy of software updates.) The new NOOK tablet also features dual band WiFi rather than the single band sported by the Fire.

The Fire, of course, now has voice integration with digital assistant Alexa installed on the device.

The tablet is available for pre-order now with free shipping on the Barnes and Noble website. Tablets begin shipping on Friday, November 25, 2016. It will also will be available in stores on Black Friday.

I ordered one of the these new NOOK tablets and will be posting a review after I have played with it for a while. 🙂

And PS: If you are interested in one, at least for the time being, the Samsung-branded NOOK tablets are still available (and at sale prices!).

Barnes and Noble offers print, e-book bundles

bnsyncE-book aficionados have long been asking for for e-books to be bundled with the sale of a paper copy. Barnes and Noble is fulfilling that wish–at least for the holiday season. With the new B & N Sync Up! promotion, customers can purchase a paperback at a B & N store then get the e-book for $4.99. There are over 70 books to choose from, including bestsellers such as Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep, Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander,  Sue Monk Kidd’s The Secret Life of Bees and the Life of Pi by Yann Martel.  Eligible titles will be marked with a “B & N Sync Up!” bookmark.

The program offers a  great value because the purchaser can either keep both copies or give one away as a gift. Details of how the program works are available here at Barnes and Noble.com.

This is a special offer for the holidays, but the web site does not list the begining and end dates for the promotion. It is live on B & N now.