Back in November, Barnes and Noble unveiled the Nook Tablet, a $249 machine that one reviewer described as "the best looking 7-inch slate on the market." The Nook Tablet sold well, but its launch was partially obscured by the buzz-heavy arrival of the Amazon Kindle Fire. Now Barnes and Noble is wading back into the fray with a new Nook Tablet, which matches the Kindle Fire at the $199 price point.
The latest Nook Tablet includes 8GB of memory, as opposed to the first Nook Tablet, which shipped with 16GB. Less memory, in other words, and a lower point-of-entry. Otherwise, the stats are the same: a 7-inch screen, 512MB of RAM, 11.5 hours of reading time, and access to approximately 2.5 million books. In a press release, Barnes and Noble also added that it would drop the price of the Nook Color to $169, down from $199.
So why all the price slashing? Well, as Roger Cheng of CNET notes, Barnes and Noble "badly needs a success in the tablet arena."
Profit in the traditional book-selling arena is down, and Barnes and Noble must be careful not to lose too much ground to the Amazon Kindle Fire, which has been credited for helping boost tablet sales nationwide. (According a recent Pew report, between mid-December and early January, tablet ownership in the US jumped from 10 percent to 19 percent of adults, in large part thanks to the success of the Kindle Fire.)
"The Nook Tablet promises to figure prominently in Barnes & Noble's business," Cheng writes. "While the Kindle Fire has captured much of the buzz that isn't already surrounding the iPad, the 16GB Nook Tablet at $249 has seen fewer takers. Still, Barnes & Noble could become a stronger competitor with its new 8GB tablet and the large distribution capabilities of its stores."