The market for tablets based on Google’s (GOOG) “Android” software has a new contestant, the “Nook Tablet” from Barnes & Noble (BKS), announced this morning, as widely expected was unveiled, selling at $249, as Amazon.com’s (AMZN) “Kindle Fire” tablet gets ready to go on sale in a week from now.
The device can be pre-ordered now, and will be available November 18th, three days after the Fire ships.
The Nook Tablet Is the same 8.1-inch height as B&N’s existing “Nook Color” reader, also based on Android, with the same 16-million color, 1024 x 600 pixel resolution. And like the Nook Color, it has a WiFi connection, no 3G cellular option. (Amazon’s Fire also dropped the option of a 3G connection. Amazon’s non-Android e-readers, the Kindle Touch and Kindle Keyboard, feature 3G connections for $149 or $139.)
However, the Tablet also features a microphone, a 1-gigahertz Texas Instruments (TXN) “OMAP” microprocessor, faster than the Color’s 800 megahertz part, and a gigabyte of RAM, double the Color’s spec.
B&N said the Tablet will get 11.5 hours of reading time, better than the 8 hours quoted for the Color.
Featuring 16-gigabytes of memory, the Nook Tablet is $50 more than Amazon’s Fire, which contains only 8 gigs. The Tablet has an SD card slot to expand the memory count, whereas Amazon urges customers to “forget the memory,” as Amazon offers to store all content purchased with Amazon “in the cloud,” on Amazon servers.
The price of the Color was dropped to $199 from $249, and B&N’s black-and-white e-reader, the “Nook Simple Touch,” was cut from $139 to $99. That device matches the price of the cheaper version of Amazon’s Kindle Touch.
Shares of Barnes & Noble are down a penny at $11.60. Shares of Amazon.com are down $1.01, or half a percent, at $215.47.