Barnes & Noble's Nook Tablet and Amazon's Kindle Fire are on a collision course, with shoppers' holiday dollars to go to the victor.
NEW YORK CITY -
Barnes & Noble has responded to Amazon's recent revamping of its Kindle
line in perhaps the only possible way: announcing an upgraded line of Nook
e-readers and tablets that will go toe-to-toe with the online retailer's
devices this holiday season.
At the center
of Barnes & Noble's reloaded efforts is the Nook Tablet, a 7-inch
touch-screen loaded with Android Gingerbread, and designed to not only display
e-texts, but also play video. It is evidently meant as a direct competitor to
the Kindle Fire, a full-color tablet with easy access to Amazon's online
storefront, and will go on sale late next week at a $249 price tag.
Just as the
Kindle Fire's hardware looks nearly identical to Research In Motion's PlayBook,
having been built by the same manufacturer, Barnes & Noble's Nook Tablet
also bears a strong resemblance to a pre-existing device: the Nook Color, the
bookseller's first attempt at a full-color tablet.
offer streaming content to the tablet via its own online store, as Amazon does
with the Kindle Fire, Barnes & Noble has chosen to emphasize its partnerships
with other content companies, and how the Nook Tablet features applications
from the likes of Netflix and Pandora. In a Nov. 7 event here, the bookseller's
executives also made head-on comparisons between their device and the Kindle
Fire, claiming the Nook Tablet's 16GB storage and IPS-laminated screen make it
superior to Amazon's offering.
which offers scores of Android applications via a branded marketplace, Barnes
& Noble has chosen to deny Nook Tablet users from full access to the
Tablet also includes a 1GHz dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM. It weighs under
a pound and fits comfortably in the hand. Barnes & Noble claims the tablet
will offer nine hours' worth of video playback on a single battery charge, or
11.5 hours of e-reading.
& Noble nor Amazon releases sales numbers for their respective e-readers,
although it's generally assumed that the Kindle maintains a healthy
market-share lead over the Nook. Last year's Nook Color was seen as a strong competitor
to the gray-scale Kindle. The Kindle Fire, which retails for $199 and will ship
later this month, negated that advantage; it's also cheaper than the Nook
Noble also used its Nov. 7 event to announce updates to its gray-scale Nook Simple
Touch and the Nook Color, including more powerful software and lower price
points. No matter how long those upgrades may have been in the pipeline, the
timing of the release draws instant and automatic comparisons to Amazon's own
recent updating of its gray-scale Kindle line.
words, the two companies seem more poised than ever for a head-on collision.
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