Barnes & Noble: on the offensive with a $199 Nook Tablet(Read article summary)
The price and specifications of the new Nook Tablet put it in direct competition with Amazon's Kindle Fire tablet device.
Jim Sulley/HOEP/Barnes & Noble/AP
The tablet wars are heating up again. This time Barnes & Noble is on the offensive. Its ammo? A $199 Nook Tablet.
Barnes & Noble announced today it is offering a new 8 GB Nook Tablet at a price point and specifications that put it in direct competition with the Kindle Fire. So far, Appleâ€™s iPad has been the market leader in tablets, but the Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble Nook are proving to be popular lower-priced alternatives.
Barnes & Nobleâ€™s older Nook Tablet has 16 GB of memory and sells for $249. With 8 GB, the new one has half the storage and also halves the RAM from one gigabyte to 512 megabytes â€“ the same specs as the Kindle Fire. While most people wonâ€™t miss the lost storage, the slashed RAM will affect the â€śotherwise snappy performance found in the $249 Nook Tablet,â€ť reports Time Magazineâ€™s Techland blog.
The newest Nook still has a 7-inch color touchscreen, access to Nook Cloud service, and a microSD slot if you want to expand its storage.
Barnes & Noble also announced it is dropping the price on the Nook Color e-reader from $199 to $169.
As outlined in a New York Times article discussed here earlier this year, Barnes & Noble is struggling to stay in the book business by relying on the success of its e-readers and tablets. Its traditional books business is saturated and the bricks-and-mortar retailer is looking to tablets to avoid a Borders-like demise at the hands of the mega-online retailer Amazon.
In its quarterly earnings, released Tuesday, Barnes & Noble said it saw sales rise 5 percent to $2.44 billion, but profits fell 14 percent to $52 million, from a year ago. The biggest surge was in online sales, driven by sales of Nook e-readers and tablets.
The Nook Tablet and Nook Color are available on Barnes & Nobleâ€™s website Tuesday and will be available at retailers in the coming weeks, reports CNET.
Still canâ€™t decide between a Nook Tablet and a Kindle Fire? â€ś[T]he short version is that the Kindle Fire is good for apps, music, TV and movies (especially those purchased through Amazon), while the Nook Tablet provides a better overall reading experience â€“ especially for interactive childrenâ€™s books and magazines,â€ť writes Timeâ€™s Techland.
Husna Haq is a Monitor correspondent.