Did you think Barnes & Noble was going to sit back and let Amazon have all the spot light? If so, you couldn’t be more wrong. Barnes & Noble, which entered the fray last year with eReaders that quickly evolved into full-blown Android tablets, has revealed two new Nook tablets: 7-inch Nook HD and 9-inch Nook HD+.
The Nook HD has a 7-inch 1,440 x 900 IPS display (243 ppi), dual-core 1.3GHz TI OMAP 4470 processor, 1GB RAM, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth, and 4,050mAh battery. The device is available in 8GB and 16GB versions for $199 and $229, respectively.
The Nook HD+ has a 9-inch 1,920 x 1,280 IPS display (256 ppi), dual-core 1.5GHz TI OMAP 4470 processor, 1GB RAM, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth, and 6,000mAh battery. The device is available in 16GB and 32GB versions for $269 and $299, respectively.
Both the Nook HD and Nook HD+ support microSD expansion, have a HDMI port, and run on Barnes & Noble’s custom version of Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) which doesn’t come with Google Play Store. Neither devices have front or back cameras or versions that support cellular data.
The most notable of the two, of course, is the Nook HD+ which hits a price point no 9-inch (or similar) tablet from a popular vendor has gone before — $269. More specifically, this undercuts Amazon’s 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD by $30 although you must remember that most people won’t pay sales tax when purchasing a Kindle Fire HD while you will pay sales tax purchasing a Nook HD+.
Interestingly enough, despite the larger battery, B&N says the Nook HD gets better battery life than the Nook HD+ — 10.5 hours of reading/9 hours of video and 10 hours of reading/9 hours of video, respectively. This is probably due to the superior resolution and processor on the Nook HD+ but is still very surprising and could indicate poor power management for the Nook HD+.
It will be interesting to see how customers react to B&N’s offering. Personally, if I were to pick between a Kindle Fire or Nook, I’d go with the Kindle Fire HD simply because Amazon has a superior Android ecosystem than B&N. However, I’m likely never to buy a Kindle Fire or Nook simply because I’m not a fan of an Android device that doesn’t come with any Google apps, in particular Play Store.
At this time the Nook HD and Nook HD+ are only available in the USA and UK. Availability for other regions is unknown. The tablets are available for pre-order now and will start shipping in October; they will hit B&N shelves in November.