Up to this point, Barnes and Noble’s main competitor has been Amazon’s smaller Kindle Fire tablet — a rivalry that became much more interesting with the video announcement Tuesday. But with a “full” 9-inch tablet priced below $300, the retailer takes on a whole new crowd of competitors including Google and Apple.
Barnes and Noble’s decision to build out its tablet roster is an unusual one. While it fits with the trend of companies choosing to package their content with proprietary hardware, Barnes and Noble’s ecosystem doesn’t come close to matching the content breadth of Apple, Google or Amazon.
The tablets do match or beat competitors on price: the Nook Tablet HD will cost $199, while the HD+ has a $269 price tag. In the 7-inch space, that matches Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD’s 7-inch model and Google’s Nexus 7. The larger tablet is actually $30 cheaper than the new Kindle HD 8.9 on WiFi, and is of course much less than the $499 base model of the new iPad.
But even undercutting larger tablets on price may not be enough to convince a wide range of customers to pick up Nooks instead.
Families seem to be the main target for the new devices. The company has included a way to create personalized accounts for parents and kids on the same device and is touting the range of interactive picture books included in its title selection.
The new tablets will also have an e-mail service, the company said, and were designed to be light — just 18.2 ounces. It will have access to the company’s curated app store, a screen resolution of 256 pixels per inch, and a 1.3 Ghz. dual-core processor. The 9-inch tablet has 16 GB of memory, and will comes in a 32 GB model for $299. The 7-inch tablet comes in white or black, and has 8 GB of memory for $199 or 16 GB for $229.
The tablets are up for pre-order now and will ship in late October. They will be in stores in November.
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