Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet
Barnes & Noble has squared off with Amazon in the e-reader market for some time, and it doesn't look like they're willing to cede any ground to Amazon's Kindle Fire. The latest Nook Tablet is an overhaul of the popular Nook Color, and retains many of the characteristics that users appreciated about the old model while ramping up performance and real-world usability.
Like the Kindle Fire, the Nook Tablet features a 7-inch (diagonal) touchscreen and runs on a heavily modified version of Android designed to serve up Barnes & Noble's own content. This is primarily an entertainment device, with instant access to ebooks, magazines, newspapers, and content streaming from Netflix and Hulu Plus. As with other Nook models, the Tablet carries the unique corner-mounted carabiner which instantly sets its design apart in a sea of 'me too' lookalikes. While it may not measure up to Apple's ubiquitous iPad 2 when it comes to multitasking abilities, the Nook Tablet offers the right amount of features for most buyers in the market for such a device.
Though there are many similarities, the Nook Tablet carries multiple advantages over its direct competitor. The $50 price premium compared to the Kindle Fire brings with it increased storage (16GB standard) paired with a MicroSD card slot, as well as more standard RAM (1GB). Where the Nook Tablet really comes into its own is through the sheer amount of material offered by Barnes & Noble's content distribution network.
There's a 'right way' and a 'wrong way' to view the Nook Tablet. While the name clearly states 'Tablet', this is not a genuine competitor to the larger 10-inch tablets. Keep your expectations in check, and don't expect an iPad 2. Still, at $250, the Nook Tablet is an outstanding device for the money. Although the slightly higher price compared to Amazon's Kindle Fire may put some potential buyers off, the Nook Tablet boasts solid build quality, more storage space and RAM, and a much larger library of content than Amazon's competing services. Given that, the Nook Tablet will no doubt make a noticeable impact in this market.