Barnes & Noble unveils 2 new tablets
The new, lower-cost tablets take on rivals from Apple, Amazon and Google.
Barnes & Noble (BKS) unveiled two new tablets Wednesday: the 7-inch Nook HD and the 9-inch Nook HD+.
In a move clearly geared at undercutting the price of chief competitor Amazon (AMZN), Barnes & Noble priced the 16GB Nook HD+ starting at $269, or $30 cheaper than the 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD. The retailer is also selling a 32GB model for $299, or $70 cheaper than the 32GB Kindle Fire HD.
The opposite is true for the smaller tablets. The 7-inch Kindle Fire HD starts at $199 and comes with 16GB of memory; the 7-inch Nook HD retails for the same price but comes with only 8GB of memory. Consumers can spend an extra $30 to get a 16GB Nook HD, or an extra $50 to get a 32GB Kindle Fire HD.
Next to the price, consumers will quickly notice that while Amazon charges $20 for a wall charger, the new Nooks include one in every package. The Nook HD and Nook HD+ will also ship without ads. Amazon charges consumers an additional $15 to remove ads from its new tablets.
These comparisons are aimed at highlighting the cost benefits of owning a Barnes & Noble tablet versus other tablets.
The new Nooks also feature expandable memory (via microSD) and are lighter than their competitors. While the third-generation iPad weighs 23 ounces, and the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 weighs 20.0 ounces, the Nook HD+ comes in at 18.2 ounces. The 7-inch Nook HD is also lighter than the 7-inch Kindle Fire, weighing 11.1 ounces versus 13.9 ounces.
With a screen resolution of 1440x900 (720p, 243 pixels per inch), the Nook HD features the highest resolution of any 7-inch tablet. Its 1.3 GHz dual-core OMAP 4470 Texas Instruments (TXN) processor is also faster than the 1.2 GHz dual-core OMAP 4460 processor featured in the Kindle Fire HD.
Both the Nook HD and Nook HD+ contain an exclusive new feature called Nook Profiles, allowing six people to customize each tablet to their liking (similar to the way users customize a Mac or PC).
Barnes & Noble will ship the new tablets in late October. Retail stores are expected to begin selling them in early November.
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