Barnes and Noble Introduces Nook Tablet E-Reader

PHOTO: Barnes & Noble CEO holds new Nook Tablet
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Want a tablet computer? Confused by the wide array of products available this holiday season? Barnes & Noble just added another one to the mix. Barnes & Noble CEO William Lynch introduced the 7-inch Nook Tablet, boasting seven times the storage capacity of Amazon's newly announced Kindle Fire tablet.

The Nook Tablet ($249) looks on the outside just like the Nook Color e-reader, but on the inside it has a dual-core 1.2GHz processor with 1GB of RAM, and 16GB of storage with an SD card slot which can add up to an additional 32GB. That's twice the RAM and twice the storage capability of the rival Kindle Fire, which goes on sale November 15.

Barnes & Noble is also tightly integrating its content partners into the Nook Tablet, preloading apps for simple use.

"We've seamlessly integrated today's top entertainment services like Netflix, Hulu Plus and Pandora in a product that's powerful, easy to use, under a pound, and a tremendous value," said Lynch. He said there will be thousands of apps available by the holidays, including the ever-popular Angry Birds. Battery life will be enough to let you read a book for 11 ½ hours or spend nine hours watching movies.

Jamie Iannone, Barnes & Noble's President of Digital Products, said the Nook Tablet is a much better value than the Kindle Fire. With the "amazing display" and reading angle, double the RAM and twice the memory, he said Amazon's Fire is "inadequate."

Will consumers pay a little extra for more storage, better display and less weight? In trying to get customers to spend more, Barnes & Noble took pages out of Apple's playbook today, said Ross Rubin, Executive Director of Industry Analysis for the NPD Group.

They're "really emphasizing the premium-build quality and the quality of the display and the idea of optimizing a product as opposed to just taking off the shelf components," said Rubin. In addition, they're touting the free Nook in-store tech support customers can get by walking into any retail location with questions or technical issues. And they'll let you try one out in person before you buy.

The Nook Tablet is available for pre-order today, and is expected to reach consumers by Nov. 17, right around the time the Fire ($199) will be available.

In addition, for those who just want a dedicated electronic reader, Barnes & Noble announced its dropping the price of its Simple Touch E Ink-based eReader from $139 to $99. And taking a swipe at the Kindle eReaders, they made sure to point out that you will not be forced to look at ads on your screen in exchange for a lower price. The Simple Touch will be about 25 percent faster than the original product and have an improved display. The price for the Nook Color dropped to $199.

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