While initial reports pointed at a launch on February 22, Barnes & Noble has just taken to the wires to officially announce the release of the new 8GB Nook Tablet. As expected the new Nook variant has a price tag to match its reduced memory capacity, and with both now selling for $199 the battle between the Nook Tablet and the Kindle Fire seems ready to heat up once more.
BN is clearly trying to capture some of the marketshare that the less-expensive Kindle Fire has laid claim to in recent months, but their efforts aren’t without a few casualties. In addition to the dip in memory — not much of a problem thanks to the Nook Tablet’s microSD card slot — the new Nook Tablet only sports half the RAM of the original version.
With only 512MB of RAM on board (a fact they conveniently left out of their press release), buyers ultimately end up with a device that just isn’t quite as robust as the original. Still, desperate times call for desperate measures.
Amazon recently announced tremendous year-over-year growth in Kindle sales, and BN had to react before the market they created with the original Nook Color was completely wrested from them. To bolster their position there the Nook Color’s price has been slashed to $169, so frugal customers looking for an above-average (and easily hackable) eReader/tablet hybrid a respectable choice.
Amazon still owns the bottom of the eReader space with its $79 ad-supported Kindle (even though it’s a pain in the ass to use), but BN’s revamped product portfolio now offers up some stiffer competition. With the still-solid Nook Color wedged in between the $100 and $200 price points, BN arguably has the more compelling lineup, but we’ll soon see how consumers react to the Nook shakeup.