Both Barnes & Noble Inc. and Amazon are challenging Apple Inc. and its dominant — and much more expensive — iPad for a piece of the holiday pie.
The Nook Tablet arrives just weeks after Amazon.com released its Kindle Fire tablet, which sells for $199. Barnes & Noble said its device offers more memory and longer battery life.
The Nook Tablet runs on Wi-Fi, and it has a 7-inch display, a built-in microphone, web browsing, email, the ability to play movies in HD and a “Nook Newstand” that allows users to subscribe to periodicals.
Barnes & Noble’s new tablet comes with 16 GB of memory, twice that of the Kindle Fire, and enables users to add up to 32 GB more using an SD card.
Barnes & Noble spent what it says is a ton of money developing a rich, highly readable display with a steep viewing angle and minimal glare. Its 1024 by 600 screen resolution matches the resolution of Kindle Fire.
The book seller cut the prices on its existing e-readers. The Nook Color is now $199, down from $239, and the Nook Simple Touch black-and-white reader, which has no browser, is now $99, down from $139.
“They are (pricing) the Nook Color at $199, so for consumers looking at that price point, Nook Color may wind up being the stronger direct competition to the Kindle Fire,” NPD’s Rubin said, but noted that the Nook Color could end up eating into Nook Tablet sales.
Neither Fire nor Nook Tablet have cameras, unlike the iPad 2.
But while Barnes & Noble has aimed its competitive fire at Fire, Lynch doesn’t view the iPad as a direct rival, and he envisions folks buying Apple’s tablet and Nook Tablet. “Form factor matters,” Lynch says.
“Despite the fact (that Apple is) closing in on 40 million iPads in the U.S., the iBookstore is still a much smaller share of the overall market than is the Nook bookstore and the Kindle bookstore. That is because these devices, including Nook Color, have been optimized around the reading experience.”
Of course, Kindle and Nook apps let you read books purchased through Amazon or Barnes & Noble on the iPad.
Morningstar Analyst Peter Wahlstrom said the tablet appears to be a solid device.
“At $249, it gives Barnes & Noble customers or potential customers enough to think hard about which device they want,” he said.
Barnes & Noble, which operates about 700 U.S. bookstores, does not have the deep pockets Amazon has, but its devices have found a niche among book buyers interested in e-readers and tablets rather than pure tech aficionados.
“We are serving the core reader first,” Lynch told reporters at the presentation in New York, comparing the Kindle Fire to “a vending machine” for Amazon’s myriad services beyond books.
Lynch called the storage offered by the Fire tablet “deficient” and said the Nook Tablet’s extra speed, memory and in-store customer service justified the higher price. [via Mashable, USA Todayand Reuters]