New Nook HDs Aim For Kindle
September 26, 2012

Barnes & Noble Brings Out New Nook HD Tablets To Compete With Kindle

Enid Burns for — Your Universe Online

Barnes & Noble is releasing two new Nook tablets which will keep the bookseller's tablets in play for the holiday season. Nook HD and Nook HD+ are 7-inch and 9-inch tablets, respectively, with high resolution displays that gear the slates for video and entertainment.

Both Android tablets will be available in the U.S. and U.K., and are slated for a fall release, which is likely late October. Barnes & Noble began taking pre-orders, listing the Nook HD for $199 and the Nook HD+ for 269.

"Now Barnes & Noble is updating once again," says tech analyst Jeff Kagan, in an interview with redOrbit. "As the holiday season approaches every electronics company is rolling out their next generation products"

While tablets are big business, the product category may be seen somewhat akin to the razor business model where companies give away the razor to sell the blades. Content such as apps, video and books are the long-term proposition for tablet providers, who also build storefronts to sell those virtual items.

"Profits don't seem to come from the tablets. Profits come from the ebooks and movies they buy for tablets," Kagan explained to redOrbit. "This reminds me of the shaving business. Companies never made profits on the shaver. They made profits on the razor blades. Once you get customers to buy your shaver you win. They must keep buying your razor blade."

For Barnes & Noble, the trick will be making sure Nook users continue to buy content from Barnes & Noble, instead of other services including Google and Amazon's Kindle stores. To do just that, Barnes & Noble made enhancements to its Nook ecosystem and added to its digital catalog in the Nook store. The store now offers more than 3 million books, including bestsellers, new releases, classics and enhanced titles with special content.

Nook Video is new to the Nook store. Video will be added in late October when the new tablets are released. The catalog will include standard and high-definition movies and TV shows for streaming and download. Barnes & Noble announced partnerships with major studios, networks and companies including HBO, STARZ, The Walt Disney Studios and Warner Brothers Entertainment. Nooks will also get UltraViolet support. This will make Nook HD and Nook HD+ the first UltraViolet-enabled tablets, so consumers will be able to watch movies they've purchased on DVD and Blu-ray disc, as well as digitally, to watch movies using the UltraViolet feature.

Newsstand items also get an enhancement. Nook store additions include Magazine 2.0, an advanced newsstand that contains digital versions of the top 100 bestselling magazines available; Newspaper Experience includes digital versions of newspapers; Nook Catalog offers a browsing and shopping experience with retailers including Pottery Barn, L.L. Bean, Frontgate, Garnet Hill and Harry & David.

Barnes & Noble also has its own app store, which is currently receiving additional improvements. The company continues to grow the number of apps available, including first and third party apps. The store also acts as a gatekeeper to Android apps, where Nook owners get access to the Google-run apps, but through the Nook store.

The display is something that Barnes & Noble is bragging about. The Nook HD 7-inch tablet has a 1440 x 900 display with 243 pixels per inch and HD video playback of up to 720p. The tablet boasts 25 percent more pixels than the Kindle Fire HD.

The Nook HD+ is what Barnes & Noble is calling the lightest and lowest priced, full HD tablet. The 9-inch tablet has a resolution of 1920 x 1280 and 256 pixels per inch for up to 1080p playback. The tablet has a fully-laminated display that reduces glare and provides a wide viewing angle.

Barnes & Noble also makes the Nook HD and Nook HD+ more sharable with family members by creating Nook Profiles, a distinct identity for various family members which enables parents to keep certain apps, documents and other data private while their kids play on the slate.

The price point, features and Barnes & Noble name may just give the Nook HD and Nook HD+ an edge this holiday season. "I don't see this market as winners and losers. I see it as different slices of the pie," Kagan says. "Some win a bigger slice of the pie than others. And that is ultimately the battle. To increase your slice of the pie."