Barnes & Noble to take on Kindle Fire, iPad with new $250 Nook Tablet

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014
Barnes & Noble on Monday unveiled its next-generation Nook Tablet, a new 7-inch touchscreen device with a color screen that's a direct competitor to Amazon's new Kindle Fire.



At $249, the Nook Tablet features more power than the similarly sized Kindle Fire, with the latest Nook packing a 1GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, and 16GB of built-in internal storage. Barnes & Noble said its new Android-powered Nook, which arrives on Nov. 17, also boasts 11.5 hours of battery life.



"In Nook Tablet, we've created the best wireless media tablet in the portable 7-inch class," said Barnes & Noble CEO William Lynch. "Nook Tablet?s VividView display has been designed to be the world?s finest screen for readability and viewing content. We've utilized that breakthrough display technology to bring consumers the largest digital catalog of color and interactive books, magazines, children?s books and high-quality apps through our NOOK Store.



"Additionally, we?ve seamlessly integrated today?s top entertainment services like Netflix, Hulu Plus and Pandora in a product that?s powerful, easy-to-use, under a pound, and a tremendous value at only $249."



The Nook Tablet's closest competitor will be the new Amazon Kindle Fire, another 7-inch touchscreen tablet powered by Android. Set to ship on Nov. 15, the Kindle Fire is available for preorder and carries a price of $199.



To compete with Amazon at that price point, Barnes & Noble also dropped the price of its previous-generation Nook Color to $199. Apple's entry-level 16GB, Wi-Fi-only iPad is $499, sporting a larger 9.7-inch display.



Speaking with USA Today, Lynch said that he doesn't view Apple's iPad as a direct competitor. Instead, he believes people will buy both an iPad and a Nook Tablet.



"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," he said. "That is because these devices, including Nook Color, have been optimized around the reading experience."







Apple executives indicated last week that they are not concerned with the forthcoming Amazon Kindle Fire. They believe that devices like the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet will only fragment Google's Android platform, as both devices feature a custom user interface that masks the Android underpinnings of the devices.



And Amazon is already rumored to be looking beyond the forthcoming first-generation Kindle Fire, even before it becomes available. Numerous reports have suggested that the world's largest online retailer plans to adopt a larger screen size with future color touchscreen Kindles.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 65
    Is the 7" tablet really more optimal for reading than the iPad?



    Over time, I wonder if it might turn into a hardcover vs. paperback comparison.
  • Reply 2 of 65
    jd_in_sbjd_in_sb Posts: 1,466member
    The Kindle Fire won't add to Android fragmentation because from the user's point of view it is not Android. It's looks and behaves like a proprietary platform.
  • Reply 3 of 65
    alfiejralfiejr Posts: 1,524member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post


    The Kindle Fire won't add to Android fragmentation because from the user's point of view it is not Android. It's looks and behaves like a proprietary platform.



    you're right. the Fire and Nook do not "fragment" Android. they "fork" it. and in fact compete directly with Google's version.
  • Reply 4 of 65
    And yet the Lenovo A1 has better specs and a $199 price tag.





    The 7" market is so overrun, no one will be able to tell any of them apart. And iPad will just let them have the tiny screen market. No use getting into that mess.
  • Reply 5 of 65
    nhtnht Posts: 4,034member
    The Nook color looks like a good alternative to the iPod touch. I think I'll get one of these for the kids this christmas, mostly for netflix.



    I'd really like to see a 5" iPod touch with the A5 and 32GB for $300.



    Yeah, that's the same price as the current 32GB iPod touch...but it's still $50 more than the Nook and $100 more than the fire.
  • Reply 6 of 65
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by stelligent View Post


    Is the 7" tablet really more optimal for reading than the iPad?



    Over time, I wonder if it might turn into a hardcover vs. paperback comparison.



    7? is nice sometimes. So is 6? and 8?. 12? and 15? have some appeal too.



    But fragmentation is too big a problem: best case, it only affects UI design, making some apps harder to use, even if the users never appreciate what they?re missing. Best case, it hurts profitability for developers having to spend time/money on the problem, and hurts longevity of devices that get abandoned, stop getting updates, and lose compatibility with new tablet app releases?or app releases for the wrong size screen. (Because it?s one more layer of complexity that makes everything harder to maintain.)



    I can see Apple one day having more than two sizes, but not while the platform is young. Two sizes (full and pocket) is appropriate for now. And Google?s strategy of suggesting that every app developer have their apps adapt automatically to all potential sizes sounds good... on paper, as a concept. But it?s another failure (Microsoft too is guilty) to realize that touch computing done right cannot be the same as traditional computing.



    eBook readers are a special case, though: if all it does is read books, and does it well, that?s enough if the price is low and the weight is far less than a ?real? tablet! That?s why the e-Ink Kindle is still a great product in its own way.



    There?s a bigger issue than screen size, though: ?widescreen? sounds nice in an ad, and people will mindlessly throw money at buzzwords like that. But it?s not good for a tablet.



    It?s the best way to watch one thing: widescreen movies and recent TV series. Much of the video on the web is still 4:3, as are older TV series, so I wouldn?t say widescreen is best for video viewing in general. Just for certain kinds of viewing. (Kinds you?ll probably do more often on a big screen, and only occasionally on a tablet.)



    But it?s worse for most other things. Holding a tablet sideways with one hand is more tiring, so Apple wisely designed the iPad to be in portrait as its native orientation. But a widescreen display is just too narrow when held that way. And when held in landscape, there?s too little vertical space for your content. Widescreen is too extreme. 4:3 is much more practical in both orientations.



    In addition, for the same inches, widescreen means less area. A 10.1? Android tablet has fewer square inches than a 9.7? iPad. You can see how small the screen seems side by side.
  • Reply 7 of 65
    nhtnht Posts: 4,034member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by airnerd View Post


    And yet the Lenovo A1 has better specs and a $199 price tag.



    Since when is a single core A8 better than a dual core A9? And it only has 2GB in board storage vs 16. The primary advantage it has is GPS.



    The 7" market will be owned by the Fire and the Nook.
  • Reply 8 of 65
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by airnerd View Post


    And yet the Lenovo A1 has better specs and a $199 price tag.





    The 7" market is so overrun, no one will be able to tell any of them apart. And iPad will just let them have the tiny screen market. No use getting into that mess.



    I agreed with this as well. Apple will not be interested in competing for lower profit margin market anyway. Apple refused to release and compete in low-end desktop computers for the same reason.
  • Reply 9 of 65
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post


    The Kindle Fire won't add to Android fragmentation because from the user's point of view it is not Android. It's looks and behaves like a proprietary platform.



    Fragmentation is not primarily an issue "from the user's point of view"; it's a problem from the developers point of view, so new forks of Android will increase fragmentation, unless developers don't bother attempting to support it.



    Also, "from the user's point of view", isn't Amazon claiming that apps from their Android marketplace will run on the Fire? (I could be mistaken about that.) If that's the case, then it is an issue "from the user's point of view".
  • Reply 10 of 65
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,534member
    In what way is the Nook (colour) and the Kindle Fire, for that matter, optimized for the reading experience beyond what the iPad is?
  • Reply 11 of 65
    alfiejralfiejr Posts: 1,524member
    what we see here is the true emergence of a "basic small tablet" market at a low-end price point. especially the new Nook Tablet, which is a better thought out v.2 model of the v.1 Nook Color. its hardware is clearly more developed than the first Amazon Fire coming soon that is just a stripped down version of the failed Playbook's hardware (an improved Fire is reportedly coming early next year).



    the Nook and Fire are not the first effort to address this market of course. Archos has been trying for two years. but the both the Fire and Nook bring ecosystems with them that Archos always lacked - Amazon's cloud and Barns & Nobles' retail stores. and both the Fire and Nook are proprietary "walled gardens" running forked versions of Android that, unlike Archos, don't depend on Google for anything. which means they are simpler/easier to use.



    So this is very significant. the big question is of course, how popular will they be? we'll have to wait and see over the next year ... the general market viability of the 7" size is still very much in question.



    and to get to this low-end price point, both the Fire and Nook sacrifice many features. no camera, 3G, or Bluetooth. does that matter? we'll see ...



    but one thing, they will still very likely crowd out the high-end "full featured" Android 7" tablets, like the new Samsung Galaxy at $399, even if those run the latest ICS software. buyers that want all those capabilities might as well upgrade to a 2x bigger 10" screen for just $100 more, unless there is some unusual reason the smaller size works best for them (certainly not for just sitting on the sofa).



    Apple is lacking a product for the tablet market between the 3.5" iPod touch and the 10" iPad. i think that is a mistake. a larger 5.5" version of the touch would be a great PGP (to complete with Sony's Vita and the 3DS), and still much more portable than a 7" tablet. and at $299 it would compete very well with this new batch of basic tablets, thanks to all of its much superior capabilities. maybe next year ...
  • Reply 12 of 65
    Oh wow! Digging the super hero comic in the advert. Maybe I can buy a nook and have uber awesome comic readings in a digital form!



    Only I have an iPad 2. So nuts to this.

    /s





    On a slightly less sarcastic note. Reading comics on a 7" screen is a nightmare - pan zoom city. At least the iPad2 is 4/5ths the size of a standard comic page - comics scale down but not so much they become uncomfortable to read.



    I know comics is not the focus of this article but I'm in one of those moods and I felt like nit-picking the promotional image.
  • Reply 13 of 65
    paul94544paul94544 Posts: 1,027member
    Steve Jobs said that the 7 inch form factor does not work for tablets



    After having read many books using the iPad I tend to agree because even with the 10 inch screen I still find it a little bit too small. I find myself zooming in to read the sentences on occaisons- I imagine on the nook and the kindle fire it will be even worse. DOA





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nht View Post


    Since when is a single core A8 better than a dual core A9? And it only has 2GB in board storage vs 16. The primary advantage it has is GPS.



    The 7" market will be owned by the Fire and the Nook.



  • Reply 14 of 65
    drdoppiodrdoppio Posts: 1,132member
    Awesome development in the portable tablet range. Just a year ago the Galaxy Tab was $600 with a single-core processor, no Netflix, and shorter battery life...
  • Reply 15 of 65
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jd_in_sb View Post


    The Kindle Fire won't add to Android fragmentation because from the user's point of view it is not Android. It's looks and behaves like a proprietary platform.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Alfiejr View Post


    you're right. the Fire and Nook do not "fragment" Android. they "fork" it. and in fact compete directly with Google's version.



    I'd glad this concept is catching on. The other day when this was an issue I couldn't get anyone to see that PoV.



    It does, however, further fragment the tablet OS market which in turn does not help Android solidify into a proper choice for consumers (not that Google is helping with their efforts on iCS).
  • Reply 16 of 65
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Paul94544 View Post


    Steve Jobs said that the 7 inch form factor does not work for tablets



    After having read many books using the iPad I tend to agree because even with the 10 inch screen I still find it a little bit too small. I find myself zooming in to read the sentences on occaisons- I imagine on the nook and the kindle fire it will be even worse. DOA



    I think Jobs was right and I think the biography stated what I mentioned 2 years ago about them trying various form factors to get the right fit. However, Apple was working with a full-on, versatile mobile OS while Amazon and B&N are using a much more limited, rangebound OS that I think works very well for customers looking for something just a little more media-capable than the standard eReader.
  • Reply 17 of 65
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by airnerd View Post


    And yet the Lenovo A1 has better specs and a $199 price tag.





    The 7" market is so overrun, no one will be able to tell any of them apart. And iPad will just let them have the tiny screen market. No use getting into that mess.



    It is interesting that Amazon lists the Lenovo A1 for $199 -- same as it's own Fire.



    I wonder if Amazon will become a reseller for the Nook tablets...



    I wonder if the Amazon Kindle Bookstore will be accessible to the Nook tablets (and vice versa)...



    ...thereby competing with its suppliers



  • Reply 18 of 65
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nagromme View Post


    7? is nice sometimes. So is 6? and 8?. 12? and 15? have some appeal too.



    But fragmentation is too big a problem: best case, it only affects UI design, making some apps harder to use, even if the users never appreciate what they?re missing. Best case, it hurts profitability for developers having to spend time/money on the problem, and hurts longevity of devices that get abandoned, stop getting updates, and lose compatibility with new tablet app releases?or app releases for the wrong size screen. (Because it?s one more layer of complexity that makes everything harder to maintain.)



    I can see Apple one day having more than two sizes, but not while the platform is young. Two sizes (full and pocket) is appropriate for now. And Google?s strategy of suggesting that every app developer have their apps adapt automatically to all potential sizes sounds good... on paper, as a concept. But it?s another failure (Microsoft too is guilty) to realize that touch computing done right cannot be the same as traditional computing.



    eBook readers are a special case, though: if all it does is read books, and does it well, that?s enough if the price is low and the weight is far less than a ?real? tablet! That?s why the e-Ink Kindle is still a great product in its own way.



    There?s a bigger issue than screen size, though: ?widescreen? sounds nice in an ad, and people will mindlessly throw money at buzzwords like that. But it?s not good for a tablet.



    It?s the best way to watch one thing: widescreen movies and recent TV series. Much of the video on the web is still 4:3, as are older TV series, so I wouldn?t say widescreen is best for video viewing in general. Just for certain kinds of viewing. (Kinds you?ll probably do more often on a big screen, and only occasionally on a tablet.)



    But it?s worse for most other things. Holding a tablet sideways with one hand is more tiring, so Apple wisely designed the iPad to be in portrait as its native orientation. But a widescreen display is just too narrow when held that way. And when held in landscape, there?s too little vertical space for your content. Widescreen is too extreme. 4:3 is much more practical in both orientations.



    In addition, for the same inches, widescreen means less area. A 10.1? Android tablet has fewer square inches than a 9.7? iPad. You can see how small the screen seems side by side.



    Great post!
  • Reply 19 of 65
    jlanddjlandd Posts: 873member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post


    It is interesting that Amazon lists the Lenovo A1 for $199 -- same as it's own Fire.









    I'd almost forgotten about the Lenovo, and with good reason: it still hasn't shipped, and I've yet to be able to fool with a display model to see if it's a yea or nay for $200. It could very well turn out to be a great deal but they won't be able to compete with the B & N kiosks with piles of in-stock Nook tablets being demoed. If the A1 doesn't show up just a few days after B & N loads does, in 10 days, they might as well call it off.



    B & N are so saturated and have such a good kiosk presence that they drive home to even the casual shopper how frustrating it is to walk into a Best Buy or even J & R in NYC (which I like) and check out a dizzying assortment of half not-functioning tablets with salespeople who aren't versed in their interfaces. I'm no B & N or Nook fan, but I can walk into any B & N and play on the latest model for as long as I want, and get the right answer to a Nook question. At all of the stores here that sell tablets most are not functioning, at best they function but are not online, and some are visibly broken. Whatever the scenario, no demo.



    I agree with those who see the Nook Tablet as a good iPodTouch upgrade/alternative, depending of course on what it actually feels like when it arrives. If you don't need the iTunes integration or to put it in your back pocket I can think of worse ways to spend $200 : )
  • Reply 20 of 65
    drdoppiodrdoppio Posts: 1,132member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by nagromme View Post


    In addition, for the same inches, widescreen means less area. A 10.1? Android tablet has fewer square inches than a 9.7? iPad. You can see how small the screen seems side by side.



    The area of the Xoom is ~45.85 sq.inch, the iPad is ~45.16, so they are about the same. A perfect square with a 10'' diagonal would have a greater (50 sq.inch) area, but I doubt people would like that. I personally prefer the golden ratio as an excellent compromise between 16:9 widescreen and 4:3 "old TV".
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