The Kindle Fire is due to ship out to consumers on November 15, just over a week from now. And what do you know? Barnes & Noble has just announced a competing device that's due out only two days later. Say hello to the Nook Tablet—now available for pre-order.
The Nook Tablet costs 50 bucks more than the Kindle Fire, but it's not too different from a hardware standpoint. It features a 7-inch 1024x600 display based on IPS panel technology, a dual-core TI OMAP4 processor clocked at 1GHz, 1GB of RAM, and 802.11n Wi-Fi. Two two devices' dimensions and weight are practically identical, with the Nook Tablet measuring an additional 1/32" in thickness and weighing half an ounce less. The Barnes & Noble product differentiates itself with its battery, which can purportedly sustain an extra hour and a half of video playback (for a total of nine hours), and its 16GB of built-in storage, which is twice as capacious as the Fire's. The Nook Tablet can accommodate a 32GB microSD card on top of that.
While Amazon puts its own video and music services front and center, Barnes & Noble touts the Nook Tablet's support for "the top entertainment services, including Netflix, Hulu Plus, Pandora and others." The device also handles more menial duties like web browsing and e-mail, and it supports third-party apps.
Barnes & Noble now offers the older Nook Color at the same $199 price as the Kindle Fire, too, and it says that device has received "more than 100 feature enhancements, access to top video and music services, popular apps, comics and more." That could make it an alternative worth considering, even if it does have slower hardware than the Fire and the Nook Tablet.