eReaders and tablets have always trodden a fine line, with the boundaries becoming ever smaller between the two device types over the past few years. With Amazon’s Kindle brand going colour thanks to the Fire in the US, the functionality of eReaders has all but merged with that of tablets like the Nexus 7, however companies from publishing backgrounds have been able to maintain USPs unique to their core business with these new devices.
What is Barnes and Noble?
Barnes & Noble is the largest book retailer in the US with stores across all 50 states and in more recent years have also stepped into the eReader market with the likes of their Nook brand. As with the Kindle Fire, the Nook range has been solely confined to the US, however with the company’s latest line of products, including some announced today, they’re stepping outwards into regions such as the UK too.
We spent some time with the company’s newest portfolio of eReaders and tablets to discover what they could offer competitors in an increasingly competitive tablet space.
What is Nook?
Nook is the branding for the publishers own-brand eReader and now Android-based tablet products, the Nook line focuses on bringing consumers closer to the publishers vast library of books, magazines, comics and more recently, films and TV shows.
What’s been announced?
The two newest products and the first to be announced outside the US are the Nook HD and the Nook HD+. These two Android-based tablets offer a user-experience tailored to Barnes & Noble’s products and services on hardware set to offer a competitive edge in both the 7-inch and 9-inch tablet space. The 7-inch Nook is most notable for being the only tablet to offer an HD display of its resolution at the 7-inch display size, whilst the larger Nook HD+ is set to be the lightest 9-inch Full HD tablet on the market.
What features do they offer?
Specs are listed for the Nook HD followed by the Nook HD+.
Processor: 1.3GHz OMAP4470 dual-core. 1.5GHz OMAP4470 dual-core
Display: 7-inch SXGA (1440×900) panel. 9-inch WUXGA (1920×1280)
Storage: 8GB or 16GB expandable via microSD card. 16GB or 32GB expandible via microSD card
Weight: 315g. 515g
What operating system do they run?
Both Nook HD and Nook HD+ come running Android Ice Cream Sandwich. However Barnes & Noble have heavily modified the user experience, so aspects such as the Google Play store don’t feature, along with a completely different user interface. In place,the Nook store offers equivalent library with many recognisable apps and games purpose built for these new Nook tablets as well as a range of 2.5 million books and new services such as Nook Video, Magazines with Scrapbook functionality and Nook Cloud for WiFi syncing over multiple devices.
When will the new Nook tablets be available?
Barnes & Noble told us that both devices will arrive sometime this Autumn.
How much will they cost?
Barnes & Noble are bringing in the Nook HD and the Nook HD+ to the UK at extremely competitive price points, especially considering the high resolution HD displays in both instances. The 8GB and 16GB versions of the of the 7-inch Nook HD will retail for £159 and £189 respectively, whilst the Nook HD+ will retail for £229 for the 16GB model and £269 for the 32GB version.