Barnes & Noble unveiled its new Nook Tablet today at an event in New York. This is the company’s answer to the iPad, and even more so, Amazons Kindle Fire.
Barnes & Noble is one of the top booksellsers in the U.S., and this is clearly a move to stay competitive with its rivals as the technology pushes more consumers into digital books.
Keep in mind that Barnes & Nobles already sells as much as 27% of eBooks, and the Nook Tablet, being much cheaper than the iPad (though $50 more than the Kindle Fire) at $249, has a real shot at boosting that number up.
One advantage Barnes & Noble has versus Amazon is the giant chain of retail stores, where it can push its device in front of very targeted customers. Sure, there are plenty of places to pick up a Kindle, but people go to Barnes & Noble specifically for books. The company’s loyal customers go to their stores, and is an important audience to get the device in front of in a physical setting.
I’d be surprised if the price doesn’t come down to be more competitive with the Kindle Fire at some point. You may recall when the two companies got into something of a price war last year. I don’t see why this won’t happen again.
In fact, last year, we also saw Barnes & Noble take advantage of that brick & mortar element when it set up the big Nook boutiques in stores.
The Nook tablet gives users access to movies, TV shows, music, etc. through services like Netflix, Hulu, Pandora and others. It has a collection of apps, including a web browser and email. It also, of course, has the Nook reading experience.
“In Nook Tablet, we’ve created the best wireless media tablet in the portable 7-inch class,” says B&N CEO William Lynch. “Nook Tablet’s VividView display has been designed to be the world’s finest screen for readability and viewing content. We’ve utilized that breakthrough display technology to bring consumers the largest digital catalog of color and interactive books, magazines, children’s books and high-quality apps through our NOOK Store.”
The company also lowered the price of its Nook Simple Touch to $99, and ts Nook Color to $199
“These three products, at these super-low prices, represent the highest-quality portfolio of reading and entertainment products on the market at the best value,” says Lynch.
Now, we’ll see how consumers respond. The holidays are coming up, so there’s a very good chance sales for the quarter will be pretty good.
The Nook Tablet can be pre-ordered today, and should hit stores next week.