Barnes & Noble, one of the world's largest book retailers, this week introduced its new Nook media tablets with high-definition screens. The new lineup now includes 7" and 9" models that are priced at $199 and $269, respectively. B&N's tablets are based on proprietary build of Android operating system and feature numerous exclusive capabilities not available on other devices.
“With the combination of the highest resolution screen, lightest weight and expansive access to content rendered in a digital quality never before seen, Nook HD is the world’s best 7" media tablet. 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" tablet, at half the price of the iPad. Both our 7" NOOK HD and 9" NOOK HD+ deliver an exceptional customer experience and we enthusiastically encourage customers to go to nook.com and learn more about them,” said William J. Lynch, chief executive officer of Barnes & Noble.
B&N Nook HD comes with 7" screen with 1440*900 resolution, whereas B&N Nook HD+ features 9" screen with 1920*1280 resolution. Both tablets are based on TI OMAP 4470 system-on chip (dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 with PowerVR SGX540 graphics core) clocked at 1.30GHz (Nook HD) or 1.50GHz (Nook HD+) as well as custom Google Android operating system with B&N’s own user interface. The devices are equipped with 1GB of random access memory, 8GB/16GB (Nook HD) and 16GB/32GB (Nook HD+) of flash memory, have a microSDHC slots, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n wireless local network controllers, micro-USB 2.0 connectors, 3.5mm stereo audio jacks, speakers and so on. Unfortunately, the Nook tablets do not feature any cameras, microphone or 3G/3.5G connectivity.
According to research by Barnes & Noble, more than 50% of tablet owners share their devices with others in their family every day. Half also say they would never let their child handle their device unattended. Not surprising, given that more than a third of tablet owners report having content on their devices they don’t want anyone else to see. Nook HD and Nook HD+ are designed precisely to provide a personalized experience for individuals and their family members, allowing children to freely enjoy all the content they love without happening upon all that mom and dad would rather they didn’t see thanks to Nook Profiles feature. With a quick tap on a profile at the top of the screen, the entire experience changes into that family member’s personal tablet as their own content – and personalized recommendations – appear on the display. In addition, B&N improved e-book reader, Internet browser, video and email programs.
Although B&N Nook HD tablets are a far cry from the year ago model, they still do not support essential features that are available on other tablets, including cameras, microphone, 3G/4G/LTE WWAN as well as third-party applications. Therefore, B&N Nook HD should be considered as very advanced e-book readers with support for video content and custom apps, but not as true media tablets, such as Apple iPad or Samsung Galaxy Tab.
Both Nook HD and Nook HD+ will ship in late October and be available in stores in early November. Nook HD will cost $199 and $229 for 8GB and 16GB versions, respectively; Nook HD+ with 16GB and 32GB of NAND flash memory will be priced at $269 and $299, respectively.