The 16 GB Nook Tablet has received a fairly positive reception from the tech crowd when it was launched late last year. Many reviewers, including our own Lucian Armasu, noted that B&N’s slate is in many ways superior to its direct competitor, the Kindle Fire. Sales, too, have been brisk for the Nook Tablet, with an iSuppli report showing that Barnes & Noble sold a respectable 1.9 million units in the fourth quarter of 2012 (including the Nook Color).
However, the Nook Tablet would fare much better if it weren’t for the price tag. B&N’s 16 GB slate is available at $250, while its rival, the Kindle Fire comes at $199.99. In the low cost tablet market, that $50 difference is big.
In addition, the apparent similarity between the Nook and the Fire only complicates things for B&N. Consumers simply don’t care that the Nook Tablet has more RAM than the Kindle Fire, or that the Nook boasts double storage space. For the average buyer, the two competing products are almost the same. Except for that $50. Of course, B&N plans to do something about it.
According to The Verge, on Wednesday at 12:01AM (yes, they are that precise) Walmart will start selling a new version of the Nook Tablet, one that sports just 8GB of storage space (just like the Fire). Here’s the source:
While there is no information about pricing, The Verge speculates, and we agree, that the new 8GB Nook Tablet will match the cost of Amazon’s Kindle Fire. Depending on how much is B&N willing to let go, we may even see a smaller price, perhaps $189. That would definitely do the trick for the folks at B&N, in desperate need to position their product as a worthy alternative to the increasingly popular Fire.
The race to feed the public’s appetite for cheap tablets is heating up. So far, the e-readers turned tablets from Amazon and B&N have led the way, but Samsung, Acer and others are coming strong from behind. And even Apple appears to be on to something.
But for now, the next move belongs to Barnes & Noble and their Nook Tablet. Stay tuned for more coverage.