Barnes & Noble and Samsung today unveiled a new Nook-branded tablet at a press event in New York. The $179, 7-inch “Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook” is available today.

Speaking on stage at the event, Barnes & Noble CEO Mike Huseby called the device the first Android tablet optimized for reading. The launch comes as little surprise; the device was long-rumored and oft teased by both insiders and Barnes & Noble itself.

What we have here is a custom-branded Samsung Galaxy Tab 4, with a Barnes & Noble “Newsstand” app and “Nook Store” app, which features movies, games, and, of course, books. The Nook version also includes a custom home screen and reader profiles. Aside from the long-winded name and custom apps, it’s not clear exactly how the device will challenge more successful reading-centric tablets like the Kindle Fire.

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Above: Barnes & Noble CEO Mike Huseby on-stage at the Galaxy Tab 4 Nook announcement event.

Barnes & Noble touts that it will offer “in-store customer service at no cost and no appointments necessary” for the “life of the device.” A clear jab at Apple for requiring Genius Bar appointments.

Here’s a closer look at the awkwardly-named device:

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