Kindle Fire, Nook Tablet Present Challenge to Android Rivals

By J. Gerry Purdy  |  Posted 2011-11-30 Print this article Print


The Nook eBook store has millions of books and videos, while the Nook Newsstand has more than 250 magazines and newspapers (comparable to Amazon). One nice feature of the Nook Tablet is an integrated microphone that enables a "record and read" feature. This lets users record themselves reading a book, which can then be played back to a child. This might become one additional way for those serving in the armed forces to stay connected to their children or for grandparents to connect with grandkids.

Neither the Kindle Fire nor the Nook Tablet has integrated 3G wireless broadband, primarily due to what has been a relatively high modem cost.  But, with that price heading to under $10 (OEM) in the next year, it will make sense for Amazon and B&N to embed 3G in future models and then work with the carriers to offer flexible pricing, e.g. free when buying something like a book or session-based when doing Internet access or email.

What's important to realize from these announcements is that these initial full-featured Android tablets from the two biggest book resellers are just the first of an entire series of similar tablets that the two companies will release in the coming months. Each publisher likely already has two or three future Android tablets in development. Future models will provide brighter screens, more internal storage and access to more content.

The Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet send a big message to other Android tablet makers, notably to Samsung, HTC and Motorola: They will need to focus more on integrating a custom (but pleasing) user interface and provide better access to rich media at an affordable price (under $250) in their future tablet offerings if they want to successfully compete with Amazon and B&N. Samsung has made some effort in that direction with its new Media Hub offering.

Also, other manufacturers of full-featured Android tablets will have to integrate synchronization services from firms like Funambol so that all the user's rich media content can be easily accessed across all of his or her mobile devices.

Amazon and B&N have declared it's "game on" in the Android tablet wars. Early results from the two firms clearly indicate that customers love these full-featured tablet offerings. They are flying off the shelves (and their Websites). If I were buying one of these for myself or for a relative for the holidays, which I likely will do, I'd likely buy the Kindle Fire simply because the offering appears to be a little more mature than the Nook Tablet. But either one is a better choice than the other 7-inch offerings for people who don't require a tablet like the iPad 2 with iOS apps and a larger 10-inch display.

And, the price difference does matter when you're trying to figure out how to spread limited discretionary funds on gifts for family members. Buy one iPad 2 or three Kindle Fire or Nook Tablets. 


J. Gerry Purdy, Ph.D., is Principal Analyst of Mobile & Wireless at MobileTrax LLC.
Dr. Purdy has been covering mobile, wireless, cloud & enterprise for the past 20+ years. He writes analysis and recommendations each week in an easy-to-read manner that helps people better understand important technology issues and assist them in making better technology purchasing decisions.

Disclosure Statement: From time to time, I may have a direct or indirect equity position in a company that is mentioned in a column. If that situation happens, then IÔÇÖll disclose it at that time.

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel