To combat Amazon's current command of the low-priced Android tablet sector (thanks to the Kindle Fire), Barnes & Noble has modified its 7-inch Nook Tablet design and released a second model for a mere $199. The only difference between the new model and the older $249 version is that it sports half the RAM and storage capacity, offering 512 MB and 8 GB respectively.
"For any customer who likes to read digitally, watch movies or TV shows, browse the web, or help their kids read and learn through interactive books and apps, our new $199 Nook Tablet with 8 GB is the best product value on the market," said William Lynch, Chief Executive Office of Barnes & Noble.
The book retailer has also reduced the price of its Nook Color e-reader, knocking the consumer's cost down to a tastier $169. This device hasn't changed in regards to hardware specs, offering the same video and music services, apps, comics and more. It's not as "feature rich" as the pricier Nook Tablet series, but it's a step up from the $99 basic monochrome Nook Simple Touch.
Both the Nook Tablet and Amazon's Kindle Fire accounted for 21-percent of the overall tablet market in 4Q11 although Amazon's gadget took two-thirds of that specific market share. Amazon has the upper hand thanks to its stronger ecosystem which provides movies, music, Android apps, books, magazines and direct access to Amazon's virtual mall of goods. It's also one of a limited number of devices that's allowed to stream Amazon's Instant Video. Barnes & Noble depends on third parties to offer video and audio content.
For the uninitiated, the Nook Tablet sports a dual core TI OMAP 4430 SoC clocked at 1 GHz, a microSDHC card reader supporting up to 32 GB of extra storage, 802.11 b/g/n connectivity, 8 or 16 GB of storage, and 512 MB or 1 GB of RAM. Also included is Google's Android 2.3 "Gingerbread" underneath B&N's UI, a battery coughing up 11.5 hours of reading time or nine hours of video viewing, and more.
The Nook Tablet 8 GB Edition is available for purchase today for $199 at www.nook.com and in Barnes & Noble stores, and will be available in leading retailers including Best Buy, Target and Walmart in the coming weeks. Nook Color is now available in Barnes & Noble stores and www.nook.com for $169.