Barnes & Noble has expanded its range of hardware available in the UK with the announcement of the Nook HD and Nook HD+ Android tablets. Both devices are being delivered to stores this week, and anyone who pre-ordered the tablets should be receiving notification their device has shipped soon too.
This marks the second Barnes & Noble hardware launch in the UK in as many months, as it released its Nook Simple Touch e-readers in October, which further strengthens the bookseller’s place in the UK, a market where it was almost unheard of until September.
It was during September that B&N signed several important distribution deals, which will see its Nook products reach major stores such as John Lewis, Dixons and several supermarkets such as Asda and Sainsburys. In addition to these high street retailers, Barnes & Noble sell Nook tablets through a new, UK specific website. At this time, the company doesn’t operate any shops of its own.
Nook tablet features
Buyers looking at the Nook HD will get a tablet with a 7-inch screen with a 1440 x 900 pixel resolution, a dual-core 1.3GHz processor, either 8GB or 16GB of internal memory and a battery that should return around 10-hours of use. The Nook HD has been priced at £159 for the 8GB model and £189 for the 16GB.
Moving on to the Nook HD+, the price has been upped to £229 and £269, depending on whether you want 16GB or 32GB of storage space. Additionally, the screen size is increased to 9-inches and the resolution taken to 1920 x 1280 pixels, and the processor clocks in a 1.5GHz.
In the U.S., the Nook HD starts at $200 and the Nook HD+ at $270, making the UK equivalents £50/$80 more expensive than the current exchange rate would suggest. You can read our hands-on report of both B&N Android tablets here.
Barnes & Noble have sorted the content side too, with more than 2.5 million books available at launch, plus the Nook app store and newsstand too. Then, in December, Nook Video will go live, adding films and TV shows for owners to buy or rent. There’s no information on which studios will be offering their content, with the press release only saying “a broad collection” will be offered.
All this shows how serious Barnes & Noble is about the UK market, however, it’s going to need more than just enthusiasm if it wants to make an impact. Aside from being almost unknown outside the U.S., the Nook HD and HD+ have to contend with the already established Amazon Kindle Fire and Fire HD, the Nexus 7, the Apple iPad Mini and Kobo’s Arc tablet too.
Price-wise, the Nook HD slightly undercuts the 16GB Nexus 7, matches the Kindle Fire HD but has half the memory, and is identical to the Kobo Arc. However its real winner could be the Nook HD+, as Amazon hasn’t bothered to release the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 in the UK at all.
It’s shaping up to be a five-way fight for supremacy in the cheap (or in the iPad Mini’s case, cheapish) tablet market this Christmas.