Over the last few months, Barnes & Noble has been running a number of special deals on the
The deal comes at a turbulent time for the company. Much has been written lately about
It's not surprising, then, that the company would try to kill two birds with one stone and bundle its long-in-the-tooth entry-level e-reader and its higher priced tablet (the company also sells the smaller 7-inch
But beyond the simple fact that Barnes & Noble is trying to move inventory, the big question is whether the special offer signals that the company has a new product -- or products -- on the horizon. Last month, when rumors circulated that the company was looking at, B&N spokesperson Mary Ellen Keating told CNET, "We have no plans to discontinue our award-winning line of Nook products."
You can take that at face value or not, but if B&N does plan to continue in the hardware game, its Nook E Ink line is due for a refresh, particularly as we head into the warmer summer months when sales of e-ink readers, which are readable in direct sunlight, tend to perk up. (B&N also sells the $99
True, as more consumers gravitate toward multipurpose tablets, the dedicated e-reader has been viewed by many as a dying breed. But companies tend to plan, design, and engineer products months or even years in advance of their releases, so presumably B&N has next-generation e-readers and tablets in the works. The question is when -- and if -- they'll see the light of the marketplace.