The New Nook Tablet

Category: Gadgets

How does the Nook Tablet compare to the Kindle Fire? I've owned a Kindle for several years, but now I'm ready to upgrade. The Fire looks nice, but if the new Nook is more of a general purpose tablet, I'd be very tempted. What's your take on these new offerings?

Nook Tablet vs. Kindle Fire

Barnes & Noble unveiled its Nook Tablet on November 7, 2011. Available for pre-order now, the Nook Tablet will actually be available on November 17 - two days after Amazon's Kindle Fire is scheduled to ship, So how do these two competitors stack up against each other?

The Nook Tablet is a tad lighter and smaller than the Kindle Fire. If you're thinking "Hey, this looks exactly like my Nook Color" you're right -- but only on the surface. The Nook Tablet has a 7-inch screen; weights 14.1 ounces; and packs a 1 GHz dual-core processor with 1 GB of RAM and 16 GB of on-board storage - twice the RAM and internal storage of the Kindle Fire. Even better, the Nook Tablet has a Micro SD card slot that the Kindle Fire lacks. The Nook Tablet supports WiFi but not 4G data service.

At $249, the Nook Tablet is priced $50 higher than the Kindle Fire. The added storage capacity seems worth it, but there's an even better reason to pay the higher price: you aren't tied to just one vendor's product offerings, as Kindle owners are tied to Amazon.
Nook Tablet

"The Kindle Fire is a vending machine for Amazon services - they've said it themselves," Barnes & Noble CEO William Lynch said at the Nook Tablet's unveiling. "In one word, we're more open," allowing customers to get their media content wherever they wish. Actually, that was three words, but we won't quibble about the point he's making.

The Nook Tablet provides access to a wealth of products already: over 2.5 million B&N books, magazines, and digital comic books; HD movies, TV shows, and music from Netflix, Hulu Plus, Pandora, and other services; email, Web, and streaming video; popular Android apps such as Angry Birds and Epicurious; and free in-store tech support.

It's not clear if the Nook Tablet will allow unfettered access to the Android Market. If so, one could run the Kindle App on a Nook Tablet, providing an easy path for Kindle owners to make the switch. If not, you can bet that many will be rooting the new Nook to turn it into a spiffy general purpose Android tablet, and then downloading both the Nook and Kindle Apps. I did this with my own Nook Color, and never missed the original Nook software.

Barnes & Noble also announced that it is dropping the price of its Nook e-reader, now called Nook Simple touch, from $139 to $99. The Nook Color tablet falls from $249 to $199.

Forrester Research analysts are estimating that the Nook Tablet could sell as many as two million units by January 31; that's the good news for Barnes & Noble. On the downside, the same analysts expect twice as many Kindle Fire tablets to ship, while Apple iPad shipments may hit 20 million.

Barnes & Noble, with fewer in-house digital products and services than Amazon, is trying to compensate by partnering with other vendors. Making the Nook Tablet a more open platform than the Kindle Fire is a critical part of this strategy, and one that will appeal to a certain segment of the market.

What do you think about the new Nook Tablet? Post your comment or question below…

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Most recent comments on "The New Nook Tablet"

Posted by:

10 Nov 2011

I love my Nook Color and have ordered the Android SD card for $50. I don't like the cost of the B&N apps but with the android card, I won't have to worry about that. Love not being locked into Amazon or Apple for things. That's the reason I picked up the 1st generation Nook.

Posted by:

10 Nov 2011

My friends and coworkers who are blind point out that the Nook, any and all of them, are just as inaccessible to them as Amazon's Kindle. Both companies are missing out on sales to a whole segment of the population by not building in software that would make both machines ADA-compliant. I would think the first "reading machine" company to fix this in the design stage would gather up all the sales from the part of the market that cannot read standard print.

Since the iPhone and other i-products with their swipe and touch controls are already accessible, I don't see the problem in making this happen. Well, other than dunderheadedness. Bob, how do we get Nook to be accessible to screen access readers?

Posted by:

Mary A. Axford
10 Nov 2011

I've had a Nook Color since June and absolutely adore it. Would like to get a Nook Tablet for faster processing, but can't afford it right now.

Posted by:

Dave in Indy
10 Nov 2011

"Nook e-reader?" You have to be careful how you say that, lol.

Posted by:

Vince V.
10 Nov 2011

Having owned the Nook 1st ed. and now the Nook Color
I'm getting the tablet. Remember you can get instant personal help at any B & N store and the Nook has has more ram and memory. If your out of wifi rang the kindle may not hold the whole movie (on your flight from LA to New York)

Posted by:

Dottie Gillwald
10 Nov 2011

Hi Bob, just wanted to tell you , how much I appreciate your articles, especially todays.
It is easy to understand, even for a "Senior" computer user original from Germany !!!! Thank you very much.
Greetings from WV.

Posted by:

Cheryl C.
10 Nov 2011

I bought a Nook Color in July and absolutely love it. Wish I had known they were coming out with the Tablet so soon at the same price. I would have waited for it and skipped Nook Color.

Posted by:

10 Nov 2011

Dollar for dollar for a reader, I would think that the Kindle Fire is a better deal. However, if you think about running "unfettered" Android, The Nook tablet is the far better deal. You actually don't have to root the Nook Color, nor the Nook Tablet (I am guessing). Surf a bit and you find the people who "root" the Nook via the mini SD card so it runs full Android from the card and leaves the Nook intact (and not voiding the warranty that rooting the device would do). And yes, I would run the Kindle app.

I read about 1 book a week (sometimes 2 per week) so, I've tried the Kindle App, Nook App, iBooks and when I decide to buy an e-book, I check all three, iBookstore, Kindle bookstore and Nook bookstore. Around 50% of the time, at least for books that I read, Amazon is about a $1 cheaper than iBook or Nook. I have found Nook to be the most expensive; sometimes iBookstore and Kindle store are cheaper. So, Kindle and iBook are my preferred readers.

Finally, if you are in the market for a reader, and only occasionally want to run a browser or play some games, I think the Kindle Fire is for you. If you are serious about Android in addition to the reader function, then Nook Color or Nook Tablet is for you. If you want full blown Android, get a tablet that has Honeycomb. If you want iOS, get an iPod Touch or an iPad.

I bought a Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 and the first apps I downloaded were the Nook and Kindle apps. But I will comment on that in the Galaxy Tab article.

Posted by:

Bob P
10 Nov 2011

I'm not in a hurry -- I'm waiting to see what the actual user experience is like for both devices over a few months!

Posted by:

11 Nov 2011

Pity these devices are only for use within North America. There is a great opportunity lost here! Des M

Posted by:

Stan Koper
11 Nov 2011

To the comment about lack of ADA compliance, my Vizio Tablet (vtab1008, $190 at Costco, BJ's) has an "accessibility" component, and when I clicked on it, it offered to download a free text-to-speech converter. I don't know how good it is, so maybe I'll give it a spin.
As to the Color Nook, my wife has the current one, and I'm dying to root it and upgrade to Android 3.0, but she won't let me! Without it, it's functionality is severely limited.

Posted by:

Tom Campanelli
15 Nov 2011

Both the Nook and Kindle Fire are basically 7" tablets at really good prices. They both lack one essential feature that some models of Kindle e-ink readers have -- Whispernet. I have the original Kindle and the ability to download books wherever I am is essential to me.

The newer model Kindle e-ink readers also have text to speech synthesizers that allow books to be read out loud (if the publisher permits it). While the synthesized voice is robotic sounding,it's considerably cheaper than audio book versions which the Kindle also plays.

I bought my wife an Acer Acronia 500 tablet and downloaded the Kindle app. Reading on a 10" tablet works quite well but it obviously is not as portable as dedicated readers or 7" tablets.

Posted by:

17 Nov 2011

@ Stan Koper
Actually, "rooting" the Nook Color changes nothing internal to the Nook. The Nook first looks to the MicroSD slot to boot from. If a bootable image is there, it is used to boot from.
You can download a Honeycomb image to an SD micro, put it into the Nook SD slot, and next boot-up you are running Honeycomb. No damage to the wifes ecosys whatsoever. I do it here on a daily basis. Works great.

Posted by:

26 Nov 2011

I bought one Nov 23 and returned it Nov 26 after spending a day and a half trying to get it to connect to my router (a 2WIRE651) so that I could 'register' it and eventually root it. You can't do ANYTHING until you go thru B&N's forced registration process.

The problem seems to be that the NookColor has trouble connecting to a router is not wide open ie., unsecured. I have my wireless security set at WPA-PSK (TKIP) and I'm not broadcasting my SSID. I tried WPA-PSK2 (AES) with the same lack of success. Research indicated that if I broadcast my SSID or ran unsecured I might have been able to connect but that was not an option because of previous problems I had with squatters and hackers. Changing the mode to 54mps and entering the Nook's MAC address in the router's MAC address table made no difference either.

This appears to be a fairly common but not universal problem. You can check your router against a list of known good routers at Don't let me dissuade you, just be aware. YMMV

Posted by:

16 Mar 2012

Bought the NOOK Color last June; rooted it with N2A SD card -- love it. Got the NOOK Tablet for Christmas. Just purchased the N2A card for the Tablet -- runs smoothly; can read books from any ereader app on either Color or Tablet; and can get everything I need from the Android Market. Wouldn't go near a Kindle; can't see spending $$ on Apple.
I read many books -- and so do my students from either of my NOOKs! (If it gets middle schoolers to read, I'm all over it!)

Posted by:

31 May 2012

I have had my nook tablet for 1 week and now it won't turn on any suggestions please help

Posted by:

27 Nov 2012

I bought a Nook first. It was nice, but I had to hold it to my ear to hear music. I returned it and bought a Kindle Fire HD. It doesn't have a card slot, but there are other ways to load files.

Plus for Nook- MicroSD card slot
Plus for Kindle Fire- Excellent stereo sound

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