The tablet market is a pretty cut throat place to be these days. On the high end Apple simply dominates with the iPad, on the middle ground Google’s new Nexus line carefully appeals to those with a strong sense of price vs. performance, and Amazon fills out the low end. This isn’t to say Amazon’s tablet offerings aren’t well spec’d, but simply put, they aren’t worth the investment if you aren’t willing to commit to Amazon’s content ecosystem. Barnes & Noble has found itself awkwardly positioned against the competition these days, and are likely hoping a price cut on its older tablet lineup will help set them apart.
Barnes & Noble on Tuesday officially introduced a previously rumored 8GB version of its low price Nook Tablet. By cutting internal storage in half from 16GB and reducing the amount of RAM to 512MB, B&N was able to shave $50 off the retail cost and sell the new version for $199, the same exact price as Amazon's competing Kindle Fire tablet, which happens to be the second most popular slate on the planet behind Apple's iPad.
Barnes & Noble's Nook Tablet costs $249 while Amazon's Kindle Fire sells for $199. There are other differences between these two competing 7-inch tablets, of course, but for many consumers, the only one that matters is the $50 price discrepancy. In the eyes of the average shopper, both of these slates are capable of doing the same thing, so why pay 25 percent more for the Nook Tablet? Tech savvy users can answer that question by running their fingers down the spec sheets, but at the end of the day, Amazon's Kindle Fire, now the second most popular tablet in the world behind the mighty iPad, is the one people are buying. If the Nook Tablet was also priced at $199, would that still be the case?
Owners of the Kindle Fire were certainly fired up when Amazon disabled root access in the newest firmware update, but Nook Tablet users have even more reason to be upset. The newest update to Barnes and Noble’s device not only kills root access, but blocks the installation of third-party apps completely.
You didn't really think we'd let a new gadget emerge without a shout out to the crazy tech surgeons at iFixIt, did you? Having already taken apart Amazon's Kindle Fire and laid out the device in pieces, iFixIt has turned its attention to Barnes & Noble's Nook Tablet, the $249 competitor to Amazon's $199 slate. It's a good thing they did, too, because tearing into a Nook Tablet isn't for the faint of heart and you're likely to kill your device if you try this on your own.
The Nook Color and its new brother The Nook Tablet have been more or less locked down in the Barnes and Noble provided interface. That says nothing of custom ROMs and the like, but for user that don’t want to go so far there is another option on the new Tablet. According to some industrious users, the web browser can be used to download apps. The process is far from perfect, but it’s better than nothing.
More good news for budget conscious tablet shoppers. For those of you who pre-ordered a Nook Tablet from Barnes & Noble, it too is shipping early, just like Amazon's Kindle Fire and Kindle Touch. The Nook Tablet was supposed to ship out on November 18, 2011 (this Friday), but will be available for pick-up from B&N stores a day early.
Barnes & Noble is banking on better hardware and strategic relationships with third-party content providers being enough to sway potential Kindle Fire buyers over to the upcoming Nook Tablet. Officially unveiled this morning at a press event in New York, B&N confirmed what we already knew via leaked internal documents, which is that the Nook Tablet will be in stores November 17 for $249.
According to Engadget, Barnes and Noble will indeed be announcing a Nook Color successor at its event on November 16th. The leaked documents obtained by Engadget refer to the device as the Nook Tablet, but that could be a placeholder. The specs of the Nook Tablet are strikingly similar to those of the soon to be released Kindle Fire, but just a bit better in some ways. The new Tablet is expected to look very similar to the original Nook Color, and is expected to sell for $250 at launch.