The new Nook Tablet announced by Barnes & Noble has all the bells and whistles you would expect from a device costing $250. Barnes & Noble plans for the device to compete directly with the Kindle Fire, and have made much noise in proclaiming just that. While some people’s decision of which to get will likely boil down to loyalty and how invested they are in either ecosystem, for most buyers there is quite a bit to consider. The following is a general breakdown of the differences between the two devices.
Amazon’s Kindle Fire costs $50 less than the Nook Tablet, but offers a bit less on the inside. The Nook has double the internal memory storage (16GB versus the Fire’s 8GB), a more powerful processor, and a MicroSD slot for up to an additional 32GB if needed. Amazon promises a cloud storage solution in place of being able to add any additional storage to the Fire. The Nook Tablet also has a laminated coating on the screen to fight glare.
Since both devices are running their own customized version of the Android operating system, they both utilize their own app stores instead of the standard one. Given that Amazon has been offering downloadable goods from their online store for a while now, the Fire currently has the edge here with their music products and video streaming, but Barnes & Noble is working to get other companies, such as Netflix, to produce and stream content through their device.
This is perhaps more of a determining factor than anything. Consumers who are already paying to stream and download movies, music, and more from a variety of services will not be eager to pay for Amazon’s similar services on the Fire, which will be locked to those services for the foreseeable future. Of course, there have been recent rumors of Amazon opening up and providing a Netflix app, but it is currently an unknown just how likely such a move would be, since Netflix is a competitor of Amazon Prime.
As these two devices are from a family of eReaders, digital books and magazines are a core function of both. The Nook Tablet will support the ePub format, meaning that digital books purchased through several other eBook/eReader services will work on the Nook Tablet. Amazon, in contrast, relies on its own proprietary format, meaning that anyone switching to or from the Kindle family would need to repurchase or convert their existing library to work with their current choice. In this regard, the Nook makes more sense to purchase for those who lack brand loyalty and go between brands looking for the best deal or best device.
Which way the market swings is entirely dependent on what people want, where their loyalties already lie, and how much of a difference $50 can make in the minds of frugal consumers. The Nook Tablet is looking like it will be a solid device that delivers on the media front, so its a question of how many buyers are interested in a budget-priced tablet with a large library of digital books.