Taking a direct shot at Amazon’s Kindle Fire, Barnes and Noble announced at an event in New York City this morning its new Nook Tablet, a more robust version of B&N’s popular Nook Color e-reader.
The Nook Tablet, which runs Google’s Android 2.3x Gingerbread operating system, comes loaded with a 1GHz dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM, twice the RAM of the Kindle Fire. With a 7-inch, laminated IPS “Vivid View” LG display, with a 1024×600 resolution, the Nook Tablet weighs just under one pound. It also includes 16GB of internal storage, which is more than that of the Kindle Fire, and can be expanded an additional 32GB via a microSD card slot.
Other specs include 9 hours of video battery life, and 11.5 hours of reading time. The Nook Tablet supports up to 1080p full-high definition video, and comes pre-loaded with Netflix and Hulu Plus. The company boasts that the screen of the Nook Tablet has a “superior viewing angle” to the Kindle Fire, and said that Amazon’s 7-inch tablet has an “off-the-shelf display.”
A few added bonus features of the Nook Tablet include a “read and record” functionality, which enables a user to record themselves reading, say, a children’s book (B&N used Winnie the Pooh as an example), and their children can listen to them read it on the Nook Tablet later.
Barnes and Noble also unveiled Nook Cloud, which allows users to backup their purchased content to B&N’s servers. In addition, B&N announced Nook Support, which allows Nook owners to get free technical support for their Nook devices at any B&N location, nation-wide.
“Compare for yourselves, but it is our assessment that content will look and read better on the Nook tablet,” said William Lynch, Barnes and Noble’s chief executive. “If you bought a Kindle Fire and wanted support where would you go? Amazon’s headquarters in Seattle?”
The Nook Tablet will cost $249. Amazon’s Kindle Fire costs $199.
The Nook Color e-reader is also getting a refresh, the company announced. Changes include more tablet-like functionality, a response rate that’s 25 percent faster than any other device, and two months of reading time on a single charge (based on an average of 1 hour of reader per day). The price of the Nook Color has been dropped to $199.
The Nook Simple Touch, Barnes and Noble’s base-level e-reader, also received a price cut, down to $99 from $139. The screen has been upgraded to display more “crisp” text. Lynch also points out that the Touch does not include ads, no matter what.
“Do you really want to have to spend an extra $40 or give your friend an ad-based product?” asked Lynch, in reference to Amazon’s Kindle.
Check back with DT shortly for photos and first impressions for the Nook Tablet.
Updated with additional details at 10:45am ET