Pretty late to the tablet party, Barnes & Noble officially released its Nook tablet today. With all those other tablet options, why spring for Barnes & Noble's offering? Basically a souped up version of its Nook Color, at $249, the Nook Tablet isn't even the best deal out there. Amazon's raved about Kindle Fire rings up $50 cheaper at $199. Yet, Barnes & Noble has some small touches that might appeal to certain hopeful tablet owners.
The Weight Conscious
The tablet might cost $50 more than Amazon's Kindle Fire, but it's a shade lighter. Both the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet weigh less than a pound. But Barnes & Noble shaved a newborn baby's worth of weight off its offering, putting it at 14.1 ounces to Amazon's not-so-heftier 14.6 ounce tablet. And in this case, thinner doesn't mean worse performance. Barnes & Noble didn't give up battery life or speed with its svelter tablet. It's thinner battery is "half the size" of the iPad's battery, but lasts 11.5 hours, whereas the iPad's offers a mere 10 hours and the Kindle Fire only around 8. And B&N even managed to cram a speedy 1 GhZ processor in that body.
The Nook offers a read and record feature, which records readings of any interactive children's book. Dad tech blogger Peter Kafka at AllthingsD points out that this is a very useful feature for fatigued parents tired of reading the same stories to children over and over. "Flash poll of one dad w/two kids finds this sorta interesting," he writes. It's also useful for equally fed-up babysitters.
Gadget Owners That Aren't Super Tech Oriented
The Nook tablet is a more stripped down tablet. It doesn’t have all the at times overwhelming app offerings of its competitors, just the basics. "The Nook still uses a custom UI built on top of Android, which means that this isn't an all-purpose, run-any-app tablet, but one geared towards very specific functions (books, magazines, email, web-browsing, videos, etc.)," as Gizmodo’s Adrian Covert notes. Just the right amount of tech. And say the thing breaks down, users won't have to navigate Internet tech support. Unlike some other tablet competitors, Barnes & Noble has real stores with real people, who can help with tech support issues.
Book Worms and Comic Book Lovers
During the announcement, Barnes & Noble claimed its Nook is an "unrivaled portable content machine," pointing to its 20 percent of the e-book market. With a big library and over 235 magazine offerings, including Time, which the Kindle Fire lacks, the Nook will appeal to readers, they hope. But more than book worms, the Nook will really lure the comic book crowd with the largest selection of Marvel comics and graphic novels.