updated 07:05 pm EDT, Thu November 3, 2011
Barnes and Noble Nook Tablet goes beyond e-readers
Barnes & Noble is planning to drop its claims of focusing only on reading and attack the tablet market more directly, a slew of leaks confirmed to Android Central late Thursday. Its November 7 event will see it roll out the Nook Tablet, the rumored high-end model. Although it will still have the Nook Color's heavily customized Android interface, it will carry a much faster dual-core, 1.2GHz TI OMAP processor with 1GB of RAM, similar to Motorola's Xoom 2, and 16GB of storage with a microSDHC slot.
The bookseller is very conscious of the Amazon Kindle Fire and is making video an important focus with both Hulu Plus and Netflix apps. Grooveshark, MOG, and Rhapsody music should also come along with the existing Pandora option. In its launch material, Barnes & Noble is also trying to spook buyers away from the Kindle Fire by claiming that Amazon's browser, which uses remote servers to optimize data, "raises privacy concerns."
Nook Tablets would cost as much as the existing Nook Color, at $249, and ship to stores for November 16. The existing Nook Color will drop to $199 at the time and, in a 1.4 update, add Hulu Plus along with the music services. Every device would be getting more magazines from Conde Nast and others, such as the New Yorker.
The Nook Simple Touch will get its own price cut to match the Kindle Touch at $99 along with a 1.1 update that may improve the page update speed and font rendering. Its edge over Amazon will primarily come from its ability to go without ads at a similar price to Amazon's Special Offers version.
Barnes & Noble launched the Nook Color with an emphasis on color e-book and periodical reading but has gradually shifted its focus after many started buying it as a cheap tablet instead, sometimes hacking it further. Like the Kindle Fire, its consciously limited set of apps isn't expected to challenge the iPad on a direct level, but it could court those who only want certain web, e-book, and video features.