Barnes & Noble Unleashes Nook Tablet, Touts High-Definition Experience

Largest Book Retailer Jumps into Digital Entertainment Biz

by Anton Shilov
11/08/2011 | 01:10 PM

Barnes & Noble, the world’s largest retail chain of book stores, has released its own media tablet that will help it to enter the market of high-definition digital entertainment and further bridge the gaps between different types of content on one device. The main rival of Nook Tablet will not be popular Apple iPad, but the Amazon Kindle Fire. In fact, both Nook Tablet and Amazon Kindle have similar hardware specifications.


“In Nook Tablet, we’ve created the best wireless media tablet in the portable 7” class. Nook Tablet’s VividView display has been designed to be the world’s finest screen for readability and viewing content. We’ve utilized that breakthrough display technology to bring consumers the largest digital catalog of color and interactive books, magazines, children’s books and high-quality apps through our Nook Store. Additionally, we’ve seamlessly integrated today’s top entertainment services like Netflix, Hulu Plus and Pandora in a product that’s powerful, easy-to-use, under a pound, and a tremendous value at only $249,” said William Lynch, chief executive officer of Barnes & Noble.

B&N Nook Tablet has 7” multi-touch display with 1024*600 resolution with Corning’s Gorilla glass and anti-glare coating. The device is based on a dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 Texas Instruments OMAP 4 system-on-chip (with PowerVR SGX540 graphics core) as well as Google Android operating system with B&N’s own user interface. The device is equipped with 1GB of random access memory, 16GB of flash memory and has a microSDHC slot, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n wireless local network controller, micro-USB 2.0 connector, 3.5mm stereo audio jack, speakers and so on. Unfortunately, the Nook Tablet 7” does not feature any cameras or a microphone. The Nook Tablet product weighs ~400 grams (14.1 ounces) and can work for 11 hours continuous reading or 9 hours video playback.

B&N Nook Tablet supports a broad set of different file formats, including texts in EPUB (including Adobe DRM or DRM free), PDF as well as various texts in XLS, DOC, PPT, TXT, DOCM, XLSM, PPTM, PPSX, PPSM, DOCX, XLX, PPTX and so on. The device also supports videos in MP4, or Adobe Flash Player format, 3GP, 3G2 MKV, WEBM (Video Codecs: H.264, MPEG-4, H.263, VP8) packages, images in JPG, GIF, PNG and BMP formats. The B&N Nook Tablet can play audio on built-in mono speaker in MP3, MP4, AAC, AMR, WAV, OGG (Audio Codecs MP3, AAC, AMR, LPCM, OGG Vorbis) formats.

Nook Tablet offers access to popular movies, TV shows, music and more through the top entertainment services, including Netflix, Hulu Plus, Pandora and others, plus a collection of high-quality apps, fast Web browsing and e-mail. Nook Tablet features Barnes & Noble’s color reading experience, with access to the world’s largest digital bookstore via Wi-Fi. Barnes & Noble offers Nook Tablet customers a wide array of Nook Apps. However, it does not look like the tablet fully supports Android-compatible applications designed for other platforms.

Just like its direct rival, the Kindle Fire 7”, the B&N Nook Tablet 7” does not support any voice or video communication technologies, such as a front-facing camera, microphone, 3G/3.5G module and others. The lack of a proper back-facing camera means that the device will also not be used for lifestyle thinks like posting Facebook notes and so on. The novelty is a product designed specifically to consume content that Barnes & Noble sells and do not feature any communication functionality, which will naturally affect its popularity among the active consumers.

Both Kindle Fire 7” and Nook Tablet 7” represent a new class of tablets [essentially, those devices are advanced personal digital media players] that are specifically made to consume digital media content, including texts, audio and video. Such products are not universal devices like Apple iPad or Samsung Galaxy Tab and therefore are not supposed to provide a wide set of features or truly high performance and therefore have limited functionality. Since a lot of people are going to be satisfied with such products, their popularity may become very high, but eventually both Amazon and B&N will have to unveil tablets with richer set of features, built-in communication capabilities as well as improved screens.

B&N Nook Tablet can be pre-ordered for $249 today and is expected to be in stores and in homes late next week.