8GB Nook Tablet released for $199: head to head with the Kindle Fire
Barnes & Noble released a new version of their NOOK tablet today, with 8GB of memory rather than 16GB…and at the same price as the Kindle Fire at $199:
This eliminates the “easy choice argument” for the Fire over the 16GB NOOK Tablet…did you want to pay $50 more for it?
Honestly, people are going to see this as a real challenger to the Fire in what I call the “entertablet” (a portmanteau of “entertainment” and “tablet”) market.
The memory comparison is much stronger than it was before. There is more user available memory on the 8GB NOOK Tablet than on the 16. The NT8 (my new abbreviation) has 5GBs available for your files (not B&N content): the NT16 only has 1GB. That puts the NT8 in line with the Fire, which has 5.36 for general personal files and 1.17 specifically for apps.
There will be other things that stand out to comparison shoppers:
- The NT8 has a microphone. The Kindle Fire can use a particular type of microphone in the headphone jack, but that’s probably baling wire and chewing gum in comparison
- The NT8 natively reads Excel and PowerPoint: the KF needs apps
- You can create your own wallpapers with the NT8, not with the KF
- The NT8 can take up to a 32GB micro SD card…not memory expansion slot on a KF. You can use a wi-fi drive, but again, not as convenient
- The KF is half an inch shorter…but weighs a bit more
- The KF allows sideloading using a USB cable…the NT8 doesn’t have a port for that (but you could use the SD card)
Seriously, line up the tangibles and ignore the companies, and I think many people would select the NOOK Tablet 8GB over the Kindle Fire.
The intangibles count, though. Amazon’s Customer Service has been so much better for me than the experiences I’ve had online with Barnes & Noble. Amazon lets you “return” a Kindle store book for a refund with seven days of purchase. Barnes & Noble still doesn’t allow the return of NOOK Books at any time:
“Items That Cannot Be Returned
We are unable to accept returns for NOOK Books, magazines, downloadable PDFs for SparkNotes products, gift cards, and shrink-wrapped items that have been opened. Please note: Once purchased, NOOK Books cannot be refunded.”
If you pay to be an Amazon Prime member, you can borrow up to a book a month from about 100,000 titles, and watch Prime streaming videos at no additional cost.
However, I think those are intangibles are a tough sale to people who haven’t already committed to one company or the other emotionally.
Will Amazon respond?
They’ve responded to Barnes & Noble before, but this is a tough call.
They can’t just lower the price: Barnes & Noble also lowered the price on the NOOK Color to $169: even though it isn’t technically comparable to the Fire, it puts that price into a comparison chart.
Amazon could announce a bigger, more expensive one. They could announce new features (come on, text-to-speech! Someone in the Kindle forum recently reported that Amazon told them they were working on TTS for the Fire). They could coast…but I think that might be a mistake here.
What do you think? Does Amazon need to respond to this? Will this take market share? How does a possible smaller iPad play into this? Feel free to let me know by commenting this post…
Thanks to my reader Susan for a proof-reading comment on this post.
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.