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Nook

The largest retail bookseller in the United States is now in the business of selling Samsung tablets. As was announced earlier this summer, Barnes & Nobel will discontinue its own line of skinned Android tablets and instead will partner with Samsung to sell a Nook-branded version of the Galaxy Tab 4, which will be called, rather uncreatively, the Galaxy Tab 4 Nook. This version of the seven-inch tablet will have several Nook book and music marketplaces preinstalled and it will be sold for $180 at Barnes & Noble as well as online. Barnes & Nobel locations will also offer customer support for customers struggling with the jump from paper books to a fully-fledged Android tablet.

In Brief

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The Sharp Aquos smartphone with those oh-so-skinny bezels announced earlier this week in Japan is officially coming to the United States, and no surprise, it’s headed exclusively to Sprint and its prepaid subsidiaries, Virgin Mobile and Boost Mobile. But what is a bit of a surprise is how attractively priced it is: At $240 without a contract, it represents a strong challenge to the Moto G LTE for the mid-range Android crown. It’s even cheaper on Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile, checking in at $150 when purchased locked from Sprint’s prepaid MVNOs. There isn’t an official release date yet, but it should be available later this fall.

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It’s been a year full of tumult for Blackberry since CEO John Chen took over the company last November, but there’s at least one more shake-up in store: Blackberry announced Monday that it is creating a new business unit consisting of its most promising technologies. The Blackberry Technology unit will house QNX, Blackberry’s embedded OS, Project Ion, its foray into the Internet of Things, its cryptography software, and 44,000 patents. It will be headed by former Sony-Ericsson CTO Sandeep Chennakeshu. The reorganization could be the first step to reopening talks to sell off parts of the business.

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In Brief

Buying a Kindle Paperwhite? Make sure you get the latest model — which is identical to the version released last year, except with doubled internal storage. As pointed out by Nate Hoffelder at The Digital Reader, the international product page for the Wi-Fi Kindle Paperwhite started sporting a banner earlier this summer pointing to a “current version” product page. Kindle fans on the MobileRead forums have confirmed the new page is for a 4GB Paperwhite, which was previously only available in Japan. Amazon told TechCrunch that this isn’t a new product — it’s the old Paperwhite, but with more storage.

In Brief

The YouTube app on your television may be getting a makeover: Google has updated the interface for its YouTube App for TV to reduce the number of clicks needed to get around menus armed only with a remote control. The update has already rolled out to Microsoft’s Xbox One, and will head to other streaming devices “in the following weeks.” The new interface relocates subscriptions to channels and videos to a menu on the left hand side, like on the web, and it also puts a search bar on the top of the default home page. You can check out a preview of the interface in your browser here.

In Brief

T-Mobile announced on Monday it is making changes to its prepaid Pay As You Go plans, simplifying the billing rate as well as adding an option to add limited-time LTE data passes. Previously, prepaid minute purchases at T-Mobile were tiered: If you bought 30 prepaid minutes, it would cost $10. Compare that to 1000 minutes for $100 — those are two very different per-minute rates. Starting August 17, after a $3 monthly minimum charge that includes 30 minutes, a single minute or text message costs $.10. If you’d like data, $5 gets you a one-day pass with 500MB. There’s a $10 option for a seven-day pass with 1GB of LTE-eligible data as well.

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