New Nook Tablet has a shot against Kindle Fire

New Nook Tablet has a shot against Kindle Fire

Summary: The Kindle Fire might be more budget-friendly, but the recently unveiled Nook Tablet packs more punch.

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A couple weeks back, before the Nook Tablet was officially introduced on Monday, I ran down a brief bullet list of points that the next generation of the Nook Color needs to hit in order to compete with the Kindle Fire.

Although not all of the demands were met, Barnes & Noble might succeed anyway.

Let's go over the pricing first. Amazon's Kindle Fire might be more budget-friendly with its $199 price tag, but the $249 Nook Tablet packs more punch when it comes to value.

There are two features that really fuel this argument: the display and the storage space. Both the Kindle Fire and the Nook Tablet have 7-inch IPS touch screens with 16 million colors. However, the Nook Tablet also has a laminated coating that really does spruce up the screen when watching HD videos as that layer reduces glare and reflection while boosting the color vividness.

But the feature that might actually warrant the extra $50 is the sheer amount of storage space. The Kindle Fire only has 8GB of onboard memory -- only 6GB of which is accessible to the user.

But the Nook Tablet has double that at 16GB, and with the microSD card slot that is ready for 32GB of more space, there's the potential for 48GB of storage. That's huge and probably essential for users who don't have frequent access to Wi-Fi or might be in the midst of traveling but want to watch movies beyond just streaming. There isn't much of a cloud option to speak of like there is with the Kindle Fire, but there are supported third-party apps (i.e. Dropbox) that are available on the Nook Tablet to fulfill this need.

That segues into what could be another major determining factor for the Nook Tablet: the ecosystem. At first, it might seem easy to concede this win to Amazon because of its multiple products (i.e. cloud, music, e-books, the online megastore, etc.) can all line up in one place on the Kindle Fire. Yet, that assumes that all prospective customers are willing to buy into the Amazon ecosystem wholeheartedly.

For those who don't want to, the Nook Tablet is the ideal set up for consumers who have plenty of other subscriptions elsewhere (i.e. Netflix, Hulu Plus, Dropbox, etc.) and don't want to sign up for similar services again. This also provides ample opportunity for any Amazon competitors to move over to B&N's side of the aisle.

For consumers who are not terribly interested in streaming/watching lots of video and just want a decent tablet at a more affordable price, then $199 for the Kindle Fire (and maybe even the Nook Color) is defintiely more appealing and will pick up those customers more easily.

However, the Nook Tablet certainly has a fire of its own, making the competition this holiday season hotter than previously anticipated.

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Topics: Laptops, Amazon, Hardware, Mobility, Tablets

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28 comments
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  • RE: New Nook Tablet has a shot against Kindle Fire

    If I were in the market for a cheap Android tablet - I'd probably go with the Nook Tablet based on the potential 48 GB of storage. 6 GB of accessible storage space on the Fire is NOT enough!
    jamboy34
  • RE: New Nook Tablet has a shot against Kindle Fire

    [i]"Amazon???s Kindle Fire might be more budget-friendly with its $199 price tag, but the $249 Nook Tablet packs more punch when it comes to value."[/i]

    While you may yet be right, that approach hasn't worked for any iPad competitor yet. I remain skeptical.
    Badgered
    • RE: New Nook Tablet has a shot against Kindle Fire

      @Badgered The Nook Tablet isn't competing against the iPad as much as it is competing against the Kindle Fire... although IMHO a small form factor tablet that not only makes a killer ereader but can also be rooted and made into a full fledged tablet can be competition for the iPad as far as the "wanting/needed to save money techie crowd" goes.
      athynz
      • RE: New Nook Tablet has a shot against Kindle Fire

        @Pete "athynz" Athens <br><br>I think Badgered was talking about the whole competing on specs approach. How it hasn't worked with the iPad competitors competing purely on specs. <br><br>For example the Xoom looked better on paper next to the iPad (v.1), if we are to compare specs alone. But when we view everything the iPad offered: the smooth and polish UI, the apps and ecosystem, the help and support at Apple stores, the number of accessory choices, even down to the resale value, the iPad wins hands down on value.
        dave95.
      • RE: New Nook Tablet has a shot against Kindle Fire

        @dave95. [i]I think Badgered was talking about the whole competing on specs approach. How it hasn't worked with the iPad competitors competing purely on specs.[/i]

        Exactly.
        Badgered
  • RE: New Nook Tablet has a shot against Kindle Fire

    Yup, gotta admit: to me the Nook Color is more appealing than the Fire. The extra storage space for movies is the major selling point. Also, having just browsed the B&N app store, it looks like they're making good progress in building it up. It's still a mere shadow of the Android market and pales beside Amazon's App Store, but the app count is definitely getting healthier.

    It's just too bad there isn't even a puny 1MP front facing camera for Skype video chatting.
    dsf3g
  • Content always beats performance

    I've already said this in on another blog, but it's worth repeating. Betamax was better than VHS in most ways except for content. That's why VHS won. The Mac, OS/2 and Linux were better than Windows in many ways at different points in time, but Windows always had better content (in the form of quantity and quality of applications). That's why Windows has always won on the PC. The iPad is slam dunking the Android and other competition on tablets not because it performs better or has more features, but because it has better and more content.

    Now the good folks at B&N are putting up a good fight by partnering with Netflix, Hulu and the like to combat the great Amazon content machine. They understand what is at stake. But B&N is fighting an uphill battle with regards to content, and while putting out a better performing tablet helps improve their image, in the end Amazon has too much going for it in the content department for B&N to have a prayer in gaining any upper hand. The most they can hope for is to stay in business as #2.
    Michael Kelly
  • Let's not forget battery life

    The Nook is claiming 11.5 hours general use and 9 hrs video vs the Fire at 8 and 7.5 hrs resp. Honestly the Nook looks like the better tablet to me. It would be one thing if you could add more storage to the Kindle through a card. You can't. That's a pretty big mistake to me for any tablet or phone. I have tons of video on my HDD that I can slap on a phone or tablet. The Kindle's limited memory is going to be a big stumbling block for anyone that wants to take along more than 4-5 movies tops. With a card you could easily get 40 movies on the Nook.
    .
    The best thing to me about the Nook is that you can probably put a better v. of Android on it like the Nook Color. Probably add the Android Market. And therefore get the Kindle app and Amazon Music and shopping apps etc. (just like my Motorola Android phone) so the Nook may well be nearly as good an Amazon tablet as the Amazon tablet. It's got a mic and a speaker, so although there's no camera, you could probably use it as a WiFi IP phone. It's just a lot more flexible. When you add all that up, $250 for that capability is kind of a steal.
    .
    No doubt the Kindle will sell tons purely because Amazon is so prominent and it will probably be simple and slick, and the price is certainly attractive. But B&N has a lot of appeal for other people who scratch the surface. It's not like there will just be one tablet for everyone.
    ArtInvent
    • RE: New Nook Tablet has a shot against Kindle Fire

      @ArtInvent Agreed. And really when you compare the two hardware-wise for just $50 more the Nook tablet appears to be worth this small difference.
      simul8guy
  • Distribution

    Ninety per cent of the people who will buy one of these two tablets have not heard of the Nook, and will not hear of it until long after they've bought the Fire... if ever.

    The Kindle line is the first thing you see when you go to Amazon; it pops up in the list of things that "people who bought this item also bought" even if the thing you're buying is a garden hose; plus it's in all the big box stores.

    The Kindle Fire will squash the Nook like a bug. Like XOOMs and Iconias, the Nook is for geeks... and for Amazon-haters.
    Robert Hahn
    • RE: New Nook Tablet has a shot against Kindle Fire

      @Robert Hahn

      I very much like Amazon, but when I bought an eInk tablet over a year ago I still chose the Nook. So I guess I fall into the geek category.
      Michael Kelly
      • OK, nerds then

        Most people here do. Seriously: who else is going to spend time reading ZDNet when they could be reading about the Kardashians or the Cardassians or Michael Jackson's doctor?
        Robert Hahn
      • I agree...

        @Michael Kelly I very much like Amazon as well - I do most of my online shopping there & my wife just won a Kindle, which she likes very much. She will upgrade this to the Kindle Fire when it becomes available. I, however, being a geek, chose a refurb Nook Color, with the intention of using it both as an ereader & as a full-bore tablet with a modded SD card. I will tap into Amazon from my modded NC, as well as a lot of other apps, content & such. It is the additional SD card slot that does it for me. If the NC could not have been modded, I probably would not have bothered with a tablet/ereader at all. I like the physical book itself, but when one can get 2 things for the absurdly low price of one of these items, why not? I also may end up purchasing a Nook Tablet in about a year, after my NC warranty is up, so B&N isn't losing anything by allowing the reader to be hacked - it is definitely gaining a new customer. I am also sure others feel this way...
        rmazzeo
      • RE: New Nook Tablet has a shot against Kindle Fire

        @Robert Hahn [i]Kardashians or the Cardassians[/i]

        +1 for combining Star Trek and Useless Human Beings that somehow managed to get on TV in one sentence.
        Badgered
    • RE: New Nook Tablet has a shot against Kindle Fire

      @Robert Hahn

      You left out the people who visit bookstores. Every B&N store has the Nooks featured right up front, where anyone can try them out. Books-a-Million is also hawking them now. My wife and son have known what the Nook is since it was introduced, but my son (a 23 year old recent college grad) staggered me only a month ago by asking what the Kindle was. B&N is playing to this 'in-house' market with discounts to members of their frequent buyer club, $25 on the Tablet, for example. It will be interesting to see if this gives them enough sales to keep it going. Where can you handle a Kindle before you buy it? Radio Shack? Please!
      aikidaves
      • RE: New Nook Tablet has a shot against Kindle Fire

        @aikidaves <br><br> "Where can you handle a Kindle before you buy it? Radio Shack? Please!"<br><br>It was reported Best Buy and Staples will sell the Fire in stores. Target already sell the eInk Kindles so my guess they will also cary the Fire. So consumers will get to play with the devices. <br><br>There's not a whole lot of People visiting book stores these days, at least where I live (compared to years past). Borders was a casualty of this. Those that do generally are not thinking electronics I don't think, which is why B&N placed the Nook directly at the entrance of their stores with a sales person aggressively pushing the device onto unsuspecting customers. I am willing to bet the majority of Nook sales went towards the geeks looking for a cheap device they can root and transform into a tablet, not so much the average book reading joe walking into B&N. Who are just looking for a good book and coffee. <br><br>As someone who has frequented many Barnes and Noble stores, I am delighted to see them adopting to the times though and surviving. Allocating more space for Nooks and other electronics while reducing the CDs and DVDs it stocks.
        dave95.
    • RE: New Nook Tablet has a shot against Kindle Fire

      @Robert Hahn - You may have a point. I don't know for sure but I'd assume there are more Kindle users out there than Nook users. I own a Nook color and love it but I think the average Kindle user with an old B&W model is more likely to upgrade to another Kindle than switch to a Nook....
      simul8guy
    • RE: New Nook Tablet has a shot against Kindle Fire

      @Robert Hahn I am far from a geek and very far from an Amazon hater - I love my Kindle ereader and will probably always stick with Amazon's dedicated ereaders and I love the Amazon store BUT I do not have access to the Internet at home and may never get around to having it therefore I will be looking seriously at the Nook Tablet's reviews just because it has better storage options while having the same processor as the Fire - I definitely won't be buying this generation Kindle Fire and since I doubt Amazon will be adding expandable storage anytime soon (really would love to be wrong on this btw) the Nook Tablet is very attractive to this Amazon Lover!
      courtneyflats
  • Nook Tablet is NOT Nook Color is definitely not Fire

    I just received via UPS a recertified Nook Color purchased on eBay...a few of days after reading about the new Nook Tablet being released. I didn't even open it up, called B&N and got an RMA and will get the new Nook Tablet as soon as it's available at my local store.
    The tech support guy I talked to at B&N says the new tablet has full access to the Android Market. Even if I have to "hack it" with full Android on the microSD card, it will still be worth the extra $100 for 16GB + 32 on the SD card, 1 MB RAM vs. 512K and a dual core processor vs. the single core in the NC.
    I read a lot of side-loaded ePub files and am amazed that many of my friends who use the same epub are buying Kindles because of the name recognition. They are in for major disappointment.
    bunkport
  • RE: New Nook Tablet has a shot against Kindle Fire

    How much room does the NT have on the device? 13 GB usable... except B&N has locked 12 GB of the 13 GB available to their store. (Those 12 GB aren't even viewable when you plug the device to your PC.) This information is on the product page in a footnote...since the footnotes are in a faded font, I imagine they weren't trying to draw attention to them.
    timwil36@...