Barnes & Noble To Rival Amazon, Apple With New Nook HD Tablets


Barnes & Noble launched Wednesday its new Nook HD and Nook HD+, next-generation versions of its Nook e-reader tablets that will go head to head against Amazon's new Kindle Fire HD.

The Nook HD+, the larger and more higher-end of Barnes & Noble's two new tablets, has a 9-inch, high-definition display with a 1,920-by-1,280 resolution. It sports a 1.5 GHz dual-core processor, has 1 GB of RAM and weighs in at 18.2 ounces, making it slightly more lightweight than Amazon's 20-ounce Kindle Fire HD.

Available in late October, the Nook HD+ will come in a 16-GB model for $269 and a 32-GB model for $299. Amazon's Kindle Fire HD, by comparison, is available in a 16-GB model for $299 and a 32-GB model for $369.

[Related: Amazon: Kindle Fire HD Focuses On Services, Not Devices]

Barnes & Noble also seems to be taking a direct aim at Apple's iPad with the new Nook HD+, claiming the tablet's "amazing display rivals the 'resolutionary' display screen of the leading high-resolution large-format tablet, but is offered in a device that's more than 20 percent less weight and nearly half the price."

"Resolutionary" is the catchphrase Apple coined for its third-generation iPad, which launched in March with a new high-resolution Retina display and a price tag starting at $499.

"We designed our larger format tablet Nook HD+ because we think there’s big demand from customers for a super-light, extremely high quality 9-inch tablet, at half the price of the iPad," said William J. Lynch, chief executive officer of Barnes & Noble, in a statement.

Barnes & Noble's new smaller and lower-end tablet, the Nook HD, sports a 7-inch screen and is even more lightweight than Nook HD+ at 11.1 ounces. It's armed with a dual-core 1.3GHz processor and, according to Barnes & Noble, is 80 percent faster than the Kindle Fire HD when it comes to graphics processing. The device has a 1,440-by-900 screen resolution, making it "the highest-resolution display ever on a 7-inch tablet," Barnes & Noble said.

The Nook HD, also available in late October, will be priced at $199 for an 8-GB model and $229 for a 16-GB model.

Barnes & Noble also unveiled Wednesday additions to its Nook services and content, including Nook Video, a new streaming service through which users can access HD movies and TV shows, along with Nook Scrapbook, a new app that lets users virtually clip magazine articles and other content to save in a customized digital scrapbook.

Barnes & Noble faces somewhat of an uphill battle in the global tablet market against both Amazon and Apple. Recent data from market analysts IHS iSuppli suggest that Barnes & Noble's Nook accounted for 1.9 percent of the overall tablet market during the second quarter of 2012, while Amazon grabbed 4.2 percent and Apple held 69.9 percent.

PUBLISHED SEPT. 26, 2012