Want more storage for your stuff? The Fire crushes B&N’s tablet

Want more storage for your stuff? The Fire crushes B&N’s tablet

Read that headline again, because it’s the opposite of what you’ll hear over the next few days in coverage of the Kindle Fire versus the new NOOK Tablet.

I need to explain this one.

First, the NOOK Tablet has twice the onboard memory as the Fire (16GB versus 8GB). That, though, is just the hardware. That drive has to also hold the operating system, which is understandable.

Amazon says there are 6GB available for user content:

“8GB internal (approximately 6GB available for user content). That’s enough for 80 apps, plus 10 movies or 800 songs or 6,000 books.”

Okay, about 2GBs on the Fire goes for the operating system and such…that’s reasonable.

How about the NOOK Tablet?

B&N says:

“Approximately 13GB available to store content, of which up to 12GB may be reserved for content purchased from the Barnes & Noble NOOK Store.”

My headline says ‘YOUR stuff” (emphasis added), and that’s the key point.

Amazon gives you 6GB of storage for your content on the Kindle Fire.

Barnes & Noble gives you 1GB.

Fire: six times as much.

Amazon has never reserved onboard memory on a Kindle for Amazon purchased materials, to my knowledge. If you wanted to “sideload” a few audiobooks on there, books from Baen, your own music…you could fill up the memory.

Barnes & Noble is limiting how you use your local “hard drive”…we aren’t talking about the cloud here.

That sounded odd to me, so I asked someone at Barnes & Noble. I chatted with someone…while I was given a human name, I got a lot of canned responses…enough to make me suspect I was speaking with a database, although I don’t know that.

I got the exact same response twice…to two different questions.

Here’s an excerpt from the conversation:


13:20:24 : Paul: My name is Paul, Thank you for joining Barnes & Noble chat. How are you doing today? How may I help you?

13:20:30 : : Sure. The new NOOK Tablet says: “Approximately 13GB available to store content, of which up to 12GB may be reserved for content purchased from the Barnes & Noble NOOK Store.” So, if I have 2GBs of personal files, I can not put them on the NOOK Tablet, correct?

13:20:37 : : Hi, Paul! 🙂

13:21:06 : Paul: NOOK Tablet has 16GB of built-in memory lets you hold up to 10,000 books. You can add up to 32GB memory to your device with a microSD memory card.

13:21:11 : Paul: The actual formatted capacity may be less. Approximately 13GB available to store content, of which up to 12GB may be reserved for content purchased from the Barnes & Noble NOOK Store.

13:21:39 : : Yes, correct. So that means there is only 1 GB for material not purchased from the NOOK store, right?

13:22:46 : Paul: Yes, for the Personal sideload files.


I went on to ask about NOOK cloud storage.

The answer was clear: no personal document storage in the NOOK cloud.

Amazon gives you 5GBs free just for personal document storage for your Kindles.

That makes it 11GB possible for the Kindle, 1GB for the NOOK Tablet for personal documents.

I’d call that “crushing”. 😉

They both appear to give you unlimited cloud storage purchased from their respective stores.

Now, does that make the memory always better for the Fire?


If you were going on a cruise, for example, and you were going to be away from wi-fi and a computer for a long time, you might want to carry a lot of information with you…and the NOOK tablet would give you that SD card in addition to the onboard storage.

If you brought a laptop with you, in addition to your Fire, you could sideload from that…using it like that SD card.

That’s nowhere near as convenient, though.

Still, the Kindle Fire gives you more storage for your personal stuff than the NOOK tablet does…but I don’t think you’ll hear that much.

Thanks to Becca for commenting on a previous post and nudging me along, and to D. Andersen in the Amazon Kindle community for bringing up the cruise example.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.


14 Responses to “Want more storage for your stuff? The Fire crushes B&N’s tablet”

  1. tuxgirl Says:

    wow… that sounds as much like a real person as responses from Amazon’s email CS! 🙂

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, tuxgirl!


      That may often be the case online now…and with SIRI, in the real world. 🙂

  2. Tom Semple Says:

    I still cannot derive what utility is conferred by the ‘loop’ on the corner of NC, and now, NT.

    It’s also unclear what utility there is in streaming 720p HD content to a device that is physically incapable of displaying it.

    Personally I think the whole storage debate is of the apples-and-oranges variety. Each device has its merits when it comes to ‘personal’ content.

    I am concerned that Fire’s local storage is too limited. It’s clearly not much if you plan to have video or music for offline viewing. Apart from that, it’s probably adequate—provided streaming is supported for personal content in cloud storage—but if one plans to go crazy with applications, 6GB is pretty tight (I have 5.2GB of apps on my iPod Touch, and that’s pared down considerably from what I’ve purchased over the year I’ve had it). Apps cannot be ‘streamed’.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Tom!

      I think the loop has now become a logo…like the Lacoste crocodile. 😉 It might also make the device lighter, I guess.

      How workable is it to just download the apps when you need them for you? Amazon stores them for us…they can’t be streamed, but they can be archived.

      8GB doesn’t seem unreasonable for movie and music storage to me…5 movies and 400 songs would last me until I got to wi-fi again, I think.

      • Tom Semple Says:

        I just realized what the loop is for: to keep Apple from suing like they are suing Samsung. Nobody could accuse B&N of stealing the design from Apple (because Apple wouldn’t incorporate such silly design touches).

        The problem with archiving apps is that your settings (e.g. high scores etc.) get deleted also: you are essentially uninstalling them. Most apps are in the 10-20MB range but I’ve had some as large as 500MB.

        But we’ll have to wait and see what Fire is like.

        I’m not sure I will actually use Fire that much (I have a Xoom which is much more of a full tablet), but am interested in playing with Silk, as well as a full implementation of KF8, and can justify it on that basis.

      • bufocalvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Tom!

        I’m not a big high score person…once I could conquer Golden Axe in the arcade every time, I kind of felt like I’d ridden that wave. 😉

        Well, that’s not entirely true…I do try to at least tie or better a best score every time I do Wii Fit.

        For the kind of apps i could see using on the Fire, I might archive some and download them as I need them. Without a GPS (that’s presumed), it doesn’t need to remember that much for me.

  3. JJ Hitt Says:

    I’ve always assumed the loop was so a cable lock could be attached.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, JJ!

      I remember somebody suggesting that before, and there was some reason that didn’t work. I carry a cable lock like that for my laptop, but I haven’t tried it on the NOOK.

  4. Becca Says:

    Thanks for following up on this, Bufo.

    now – can you get an answer as to whether it’s a brick unless it’s registered to B&N with an active credit card? Because I know you can use the Kindle unregistered, just not have full capabilities. This makes a difference to me in giving an ereader to a child that I don’t want to have unlimited access to an on-line credit card.

  5. Roger Knights Says:

    “You can add up to 32GB memory to your [Nook] device with a microSD memory card.”

    It’s a pity the Kindle doesn’t have that capability. It would eliminate this talking point for the Nook. I wonder why Amazon chose not to offer it.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Roger!

      Why doesn’t the Kindle Fire have a 32GB SD slot?

      1. It’s not going to be necessary for most people. The onboard memory can hold (at the same time): 80 apps; 5 movies; 200 songs; and 1,500 books. That should last most people until they gat back to wi-fi

      2. It raises the initial cost of the device, and Amazon was clearly trying hard to get it under $200

      3. It increases the vulnerability of the device…more systems, more problems. The SD card on the Kindle 1 was apparently a problem

      4. It increases the fragility of the device (more doors, less structural integrity)

      5. It doesn’t help in moving people to the cloud…and more dependancy on Amazon

      6. Some NOOK Tablet users may not be happy when they find out they only have 1GB onboard for sideloads…and that the 32GB SD card will cost them something like $40

      Those are the main reasons, I think.

      • Roger Knights Says:

        I’m not sure I’m convinced, but thanks for the list.

      • Roger Knights Says:

        Here’s one I just thought of:

        7. Lack of an SD slot makes it more dangerous for “rooters.” There’s no safe Undo. Amazon likely wants to discourage rooting.

      • bufocalvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Roger!

        Yes, that’s a reasonable concern. People who messed up a Kindle Fire while trying to root it would add to Customer Service costs, which can be significant.

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