Barnes & Noble Officially Unveils The 7-Inch Nook Tablet

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In late September, Amazon unveiled a $199 tablet called the Kindle Fire. Obviously this left a massive divide in the market between the much pricier iPad 2 and the new Kindle Fire, which Barnes & Noble has this morning responded to. Ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, I’m pleased to introduce you to the Nook Tablet.

B&N CEO Willian Lynch made sure to note the Nook tablet’s superior (fully laminated) display isn’t the only feature that is “better” than the Amazon Kindle Fire. He also touted the fact that the Nook tablet offers almost twice the RAM, along with in-store support that just isn’t possible with Amazon.

The 7-inch Nook Tablet looks much like a thinner (less than a pound) and lighter Color, but has innards that couldn’t be more different. Under the hood you’ll find a dual-core 1GHz processor courtesy of Texas Instruments, along with 1GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage (including a microSD slot supporting up to a 32GB card). When Nook cloud isn’t available, all that storage will certainly come in handy. But that’s not to say that Nook cloud won’t be involved — the new Nook tablet has the same Nook cloud support you’ve grown accustomed to.

But the real differentiator between this and the Kindle Fire will be the amount of content available, which B&N contends should be no trouble. The book seller touts 2.5 million books, thousands of apps, and deals with Hulu Plus and Netflix for our video lovers. Oh, and speaking of video, the tablet also supports video playback in full 1080p HD, although the Netflix app will only play video in 720p.

All those books and videos galore mean strong battery life is a must — luckily B&N promises at least 11 hours. Past that, there are plenty of other fun features to keep things interesting, including “Read & Record,” which lets parents record children’s stories so that kids can have their parents voice reading them to sleep at times when parent and child can’t necessarily be together. Angry Birds is also in tow.

The Nook tablet will begin to arrive in stores at the beginning of next week for $249. Meanwhile the rest of the Nook line is getting some price drops: the Nook color has been dropped down to $199, and the more basic Nook Simple Touch has gone from $139 to $99.

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