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Barnes & Noble announces the $250 Nook Tablet

Consumer Reports News: November 07, 2011 10:30 AM

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Barnes & Noble today introduced a tablet that looks a lot like the Nook Color e-book reader but has a newer display technology, more power, and more internal memory. The Nook Tablet is also a direct competitor of Amazon’s new Kindle Fire. Both will ship in mid-November.

The Nook Tablet will retail for $250 with 16GB of storage, a powerful dual-core processor, and a touchscreen that uses the same technology as the better tablets currently available. The 7-inch display has 1024 x 600 resolution (compared with the iPad's 1,024 by 768 resolution). It has a wide viewing angle and minimizes glare. There’s a memory card slot, so you can increase the Nook Tablet’s 16GB of built-in storage by 32GB using a MicroSD card.

Apps for the Nook Tablet are curated by Barnes & Noble and will include Netflix, Hulu Plus, Pandora, Rhapsody, GrooveShark, and ShowTime. There are currently about 300 apps, but Barnes & Noble says it plans to add thousands over time. For e-mail, the Nook Tablet allows you to have up to six in-boxes; it also integrates with Microsoft Exchange. The Nook Tablet will use a customized Android browser.

E-reading also gets a makeover with the Nook Tablet. For example, a record function lets you tape your own voice reading books for later playback, say to your kids when you’re out of town.

Magazines will also be more interactive, with video, quizzes, more photos, and interactive covers. At the Nook Newsstand, you'll find 250 interactive magazines and periodicals as well as 35 special editions from major publishers. Publications are customized specifically for the Nook, and navigation will be consistent from one magazine to another. Books are also more interactive, with video and other features.

The home screen is customizable, so you can add your own photo as your opening screen. If you subscribe to a daily newspaper, that will also show up daily on the home screen, along with books currently being read and other items.

Battery life will be around 11.5 hours, depending on what you’re doing with the tablet— 9 hours for video and 11.5 if you're just reading. The device weighs 14.1 ounces.

Support for the tablet will be available in Barnes & Noble stores. You can pre-order the Nook Tablet now; it's expected to be on store shelves by the end of next week.

Barnes & Noble CEO William Lynch announces the Nook Tablet.

Donna L. Tapellini

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