Barnes & Noble might have beat Amazon out of the gate with its Nook Color back in 2010, but Amazon has been the clear leader of e-reader-focused tablet group ever since. Could B&N finally have the right ammunition in place to start a proper war to dethrone Amazon? It’s looking more possible now than ever before.
This morning brings the announcement of the Nook HD (7-inch, $199) and Nook HD+ (9-inch, $269). The pricing is quite similar to the Fire HD models, though the 9-incher Nook is a little cheaper than Amazon’s offering. What about hardware? Up until now, B&N has been a little behind in this category.
The Nook HD is lighter than the Fire HD 7-inch model by 20%, for starters. The actual guts are quite a bit different, too. The Nook HD has a 1440×900 resolution versus the Kindle Fire and Nexus 7 resolution of 1280×800. Even the processor is slightly faster with a 1.3GHz dual-core OMAP 4470 versus the 7-inch Fire HD’s 1.2GHz dual-core OMAP 4460. Both tablets have 1GB of RAM. What about expandable storage? Nook HD has it, Fire HD doesn’t. On the downside, the Nook HD is without any camera option.
It’s also worth noting that the Nook HD line is based on Android 4.0 running on a custom UI, just like the Fire HD line.
Nook HD – Can it truly compete?
There is certainly stiff 7-inch competition and B&N has yet to really take off as a popular tablet choice. That being said, the Nook HD is in many ways better than what Amazon has to offer this time around. What really makes the difference is the software, though.
With a brand new “Nook Video” service launching this fall, it seems that B&N finally understands that good multimedia content, not just books, is important in the tablet game. The new video service brings big hitters to play, including HBO, Viacom and Disney. That being said, Amazon’s Prime video service has had more time to collect a massive library. Amazon currently wins at content, but the Nook HD line could catch up in time thanks to the new video service.
Not sure whether you like the Nook HD versus the Amazon Kindle Fire HD line? There is one last ‘feature’ that Nook HD lacks that might sell some of you on the B&N option- it doesn’t have lockscreen ads. All models of the Fire now get ads. This doesn’t bother everyone, but if you truly want an ad-free choice, the Nook HD and HD+ could be the perfect alternative to Amazon’s popular tablet line.