A few weeks ago, FCC filings leaked out the news that bookseller Barnes & Noble was planning to launch a new tablet to compete directly with Amazon’s Fire lineup. Today, the company officially announced the new Barnes & Noble NOOK, a 7-inch device that is priced at just $49.99, the same cost as the 7-inch Amazon Fire.
Several years ago, Barnes & Noble tried to compete directly with Amazon’s tablets by designing their own NOOK devices. That plan pretty much crashed and burned and was a huge financial disaster for Barnes & Noble. Until today’s announcement, the bookseller has been selling versions of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab tablets with the NOOK branding, with no real hardware changes. Now the company has cut its ties with Samsung and it looks like it wants to go back into the fire again (no pun intended) and compete directly for buyers who want a cheap tablet for reading and other content consuming needs.
Unlike the Amazon Fire, which uses its own forked version of Android (Fire OS) and its own app store, the new Barnes & Noble NOOK runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow and has full access to the apps in the Google Play Store. The resolution of the display is 1024×600, and it has 8GB of onboard storage, along with a microSD card slot that can support up to 128GB of additional storage. It also has a 5MP rear camera and a 2MP front-facing camera, and the 3,000mAh battery is supposed to last up to 7 hours. Barnes & Noble did not state the processor or the amount of RAM in the new NOOK tablet, but the previous FCC filing revealed that it has a quad-core MediaTek MT8163 chip inside.
The new Barnes & Noble NOOK tablet is available for pre-order now on the bookseller’s website, and will officially go on sale in its brick-and-mortar bookstores on Black Friday, November 25. It will certainly be interesting to see if this tablet will attract budget conscious consumers looking for an alternative to the Fire OS-based Amazon device.