Barnes & Nobles unveils Nook Tablet

Barnes & Noble Inc. has unveiled its Nook Tablet, the bookseller’s answer to rival Inc.'s Kindle Fire tablet.

The Nook Tablet is now available for preorder and will be shipped to Barnes & Noble stores and other retailers (Target, Staples, Wal-Mart, Office Max and others) late next week at a price of $249 — about $50 more than the Kindle Fire.

Barnes & Noble Chief Executive William Lynch said Monday that for the extra $50, the Nook Tablet will offer beefier specifications that will add up to a faster, smoother experience when reading books, playing games or watching movies.

The Nook Tablet has 16 gigabytes of built-in storage and 1 gigabyte of random-access memory compared with Kindle Fire’s 8 gigabytes of storage and 512 megabytes of RAM.


The Nook Color, which used to sell for $249 but was cut in price to $199 on Monday, has 8 gigabytes of storage and 512 megabytes of RAM.

Both Nook devices feature the same 7-inch touch screen with a resolution of 1024 by 600 pixels and a microSD card slot that can accommodate up to 32 gigabytes of added storage.

The Kindle Fire also features a 7-inch touch screen, a resolution of 1024 by 600 pixels but does not have a microSD card slot.

The Nook Tablet promises up to 11.5 hours of battery life, compared with 8 hours for the Kindle Fire.

Both the Nook and Kindle Fire tablets run on modified versions of Google’s Android Gingerbread operating system and connect to the Internet over Wi-Fi, with no 3G or 4G options offered. Both also make use of cloud storage.

But unlike the Kindle Fire, the Nook Tablet and Nook Color have no built-in storefront for buying movies and music.

Lynch said that while Amazon sells those items, Barnes & Noble is focused on selling digital reading content, while letting others provide music, TV shows and films — such as Netflix, Hulu and Pandora, which all come pre-installed on the Nook Tablet.

“The Kindle Fire is a vending machine for Amazon services — they’ve said it themselves,” he said at the company’s flagship store in New York’s Union Square during the Nook Tablet unveiling. “In one word, we’re more open” in allowing users to get their music and video content from wherever they want.


As far as styling, the Nook Tablet looks exactly like the Nook Color, save for a different shade of gray paint adorning the face of the device. The single black bar home button and rounded hook on one corner remain in place, as does a soft-touch rubberized back.