Barnes & Noble Unveils $199 Nook HD, $269 Nook HD+
Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS) unveiled two new tablets Wednesday morning, the seven-inch Nook HD and the nine-inch Nook HD+.
In a move that is clearly geared at undercutting the price of its chief competitor Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), the 16GB Nook HD+ starts at $269, which is $30 cheaper than the price of the 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD. Barnes & Noble is also selling a 32GB model for $299 -- $70 cheaper than the price of the 32GB Kindle Fire HD.
The opposite is true for the smaller tablets. The seven-inch Kindle Fire HD starts at $199 and comes with 16GB of memory; the seven-inch Nook HD retails for the same price but comes with only 8GB of memory. Consumers can spend an extra $30 to get a 16GB Nook HD, or an extra $50 to get a 32GB Kindle Fire HD.
Next to the price, consumers will quickly notice that while Amazon charges $20 for a wall charger, the new Nooks include one in every package. The Nook HD and Nook HD+ will also ship without ads. Amazon charges consumers an additional $15 to remove ads from its new tablets.
These comparisons are aimed at highlighting the cost benefits of owning a Barnes & Noble tablet versus other tablets.
The new Nooks also feature expandable memory (via microSD) and are lighter than their competitors. While the third-generation iPad weighs 23 ounces (652 g), and the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 weighs 20.0 ounces (567 g), the Nook HD+ comes in at 18.2 ounces (515 g). The seven-inch Nook HD is also lighter than the seven-inch Kindle Fire, weighing 11.1 ounces (315 g) versus 13.9 ounces (395 g).
With a screen resolution of 1440x900 (720p, 243 pixels per inch), the Nook HD features the highest resolution of any seven-inch tablet. Its 1.3 GHz dual-core OMAP 4470 Texas Instruments (NASDAQ: TXN) processor is also faster than the 1.2 GHz dual-core OMAP 4460 processor featured in the Kindle Fire HD.
Both the Nook HD and Nook HD+ contain an exclusive new feature called Nook Profiles, allowing six people to customize each tablet to their liking (similar to the way users customize a Mac or PC).
Barnes & Noble will ship the new tablets in late October. Retail stores are expected to begin selling them in early November.
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