There was an interesting article and followup over on Seeking Alpha about the NookColor and Barnes & Nobel’s development strategy, or apparent lack thereof. The article, Nook Needs an App Store to Survive, is by Joel West. Since I’m not an investment community type, and they require registration to leave a comment (something I’m disinclined to do just to leave a comment) I thought I’d add my two cents to the conversation here.
Joel’s basic argument is that Barnes and Nobel delivered a very nice device, but a device filled with untapped potential. There is a fully function tablet hidden at the core of the NookColor, but B&N has hidden it away behind their own little shell. True, a user can root their Nook to unlock that potential, but Joel feels it should not be incumbent upon the user to do so. In short, Barnes and Nobel needs to launch an app store in order to keep the momentum started by the release of the NookColor growing. I completely agree.
He goes on to say, “I am much less enthusiastic about the nookColor than when I bought it, because without the basic apps that you would find in a 1995 Palm Pilot — like a synchronized address book, a calendar and a simple note-taking app — I still have to carry a laptop or smartphone to every place that I take my nook. (Or I can just carry the laptop and leave the nook at home).”
He has a point, but I’m still very enthusiastic. I suppose that is because I use it mainly as an ebook reader when away from the house rather than an all purpose device. The web browser works well (if you can find a hot spot) and the device tucks nicely into my jacket pocket. At home I often leave my laptop upstairs and check my email and do some web browsing downstairs, which is convenient as all get out. I absolutely love my non-rooted NookColor. I read more and have bought more books since getting it than I have in the past year.
Still, I must admit I do miss those apps.
One of his readers begged to differ, saying he saw no reason for Barnes & Noble to build an app store when there is already a fully functional Android store available but for the effort of rooting the device.
Here I disagree. The reason B&N needs an app store is because there are many uses like me who have no desire or inclination to root their Nook but who want some basic apps such as a calendar and notepad. If they don’t come out with an app store I will be very disappointed with them.