Barnes & Noble Unveils Nook Tablet, Burns Kindle Fire

Posted by · November 7, 2011 11:50 am

Last week, we heard that a new Nook Color was set to launch today. Well, we heard wrong. Sort of. While the new device unveiled by Barnes and Noble this morning was not the Nook Color 2, it was a tablet nonetheless. In fact, that’s what they’re calling it.

A short while ago, Barnes and Noble CEO William Lynch announced the debut of the Nook Tablet, which is currently available for pre-order at a competitive price of $249 and is set to hit major retailers as soon as next week. As a result of the Tablet’s unveiling, the B&N CEO also announced that the Nook Color will now be available for $199, and the Nook Simple touch for $99.

Needless to say, this announcement seems rather familiar.

However, this morning’s event did not stop after an impressive presentation showing off the latest addition to the Nook family. According to Extreme Tech, Lynch spent a “good portion” of his time berating what is likely going to be its closest competitor—the Kindle Fire. Downplaying the fact that the Amazon tablet costs $50 less, the B&N CEO spent a fair amount of time assuring his audience that the Nook Tablet is well worth the extra cash.

How so?

First, says Lynch, the Tablet is “laminated”; however, I’m not sure that consumers are going to see a $50 value in what will amount to less glare, at best. On the other hand, the Tablet’s extra 8GB of internal storage—compared to that of the Fire—and its microSD slot might be a little more appealing. Although Extreme Tech contributor Sebastian Anthony is not sure what the impact will be in terms of movie watching, the fact that the Tablet has twice the RAM of the Fire is also noteworthy.

The Tablet is also a little bit lighter.

Despite relatively few distinctions from the Amazon alternative, Lynch did not miss the opportunity to call out the Kindle Fire for being “deficient for a media tablet,” specifically in terms of its storage capacity, something he said was worth “at least $20” of the Nook Tablet’s bigger price tag. But he didn’t stop there.

“To accelerate speed to market, Amazon employed the BlackBerry PlayBook design and the same company,” Lynch said, “which is why the devices look so much the same,” suggesting that the Kindle fire is little more than “a vending machine for Amazon services.” The Nook Tablet, on the other hand, has not left users with such limited choices, suggests Lynch. The Tablet comes preloaded with Netflix, Pandora, and Hulu Plus, as well as popular apps including Rhapsody and Grooveshark. “We’ve decided we’re going to partner with the world’s most popular media services and let the consumer choose,” says Lynch. Putting it simply, the B&N CEO described the new tablet with a single word—“open.” That is, unless the consumer would choose to have access to the entire Android app store, notes Paid Content’s Laura Owen.

Nevertheless, while Lynch’s one-word description might warrant an asterisk (*), it would seem that the Kindle Fire has met its match. And considering the Nook Color’s current position as the number two tablet behind the iPad, it’s now up to Amazon to prove that its tablet is a worthy competitor.

More Nook Tablet News

Nook Tablet vs. Kindle Fire: Media Tablet Spec Showdown

[VIDEO] Nook Tablet Video Demo

The new Nook Tablet: Can it compete?

Tablet war 2011: Nook vs. Kindle vs. iPad