Is Barnes & Noble launching an 8GB Android tablet to compete with Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet?
The bookseller is planning to release a smaller edition of the Nook Tablet this week, if a leaked memo from Walmart is to be believed. The memo, obtained by The Verge, says that a Nook 8GB tablet is currently arriving in stores and will be available for purchase the morning of Wednesday, Feb. 22.
In terms of specs, the current Nook Tablet and Kindle Fire are nearly identical: both are Android tablets with 7-inch, 1024-by-600 screens, and have 1GHz dual-core processors, access to Wi-Fi, more than eight hours of battery life, built-in microphones, etc. The Nook Tablet, however, comes with double the storage (16 GB vs. 8 GB) and is $50 more expensive.
Presumably, the new, lower-storage option will allow Barnes & Noble to compete with the Kindle Fire not just on specs, but also on price.
In Barnes & Noble’s latest earnings call, CEO William Lynch said the company’s Nook family of tablets experienced record sales during the nine-week holiday period at the end of 2011. In fact, that segment is doing so well that the company is considering spinning off the Nook business altogether. Digital content sales for 2012 are expected to be around $450 million, with the annualized forecast between $700 million and $750 million, according to Barnes & Noble’s own estimates.
Amazon also reported record-breaking holiday sales of Kindle tablets and ereaders. More than 4 million devices were sold altogether during the season.
Barnes & Noble's Nook Demo
A look at some of the games and apps available on the Nook Tablet. By the holidays, Barnes & Noble will offer thousands of high-quality Nook Apps from leading third-party developers and content providers that can be enjoyed on Nook Tablet, as well as Nook Color.