The Nook Tablet, while a fine device and superior to the Kindle Fire in several subtle ways, has not really managed to achieve the kind of popularity that the Kindle Fire enjoys. It definitely does well, but compared to the lively Kindle vs Nook competition in US eReader markets something is lacking. Seeing as Barnes & Noble is reliant on the success of the Nook line to keep their business going at this point, though, they can’t really afford to let the Kindle competition to get too far ahead in either price or power.
I’ve mentioned here previously that there are hints cropping up that point to a new Nook Tablet in the works. That would be expected even if Amazon were not on the verge of releasing the Kindle Fire 2, thanks to Google’s Nexus 7 tablet. The Nexus 7 has gotten huge responses since its unveiling and proves difficult for the software giant to keep in stock. Many view its release as the end of the existing Kindle Fire’s dominance over Android. Since the Nook Tablet’s main claim to fame was that it provided superior technical power for about the same price as the competition, a popular device put out by Google that includes both superior hardware specs and a clean version of the most up to date Android OS is a major threat.
Still, even with that taken into consideration we have to wonder how much of what is going on over at Barnes & Noble is preparation for the Kindle Fire 2. They have recently slashed the price of the 16GB Nook Tablet by 20% to $200, finally matching the Kindle Fire’s pricing, and lowered the Nook Color’s price to just $149. The Nook Color may be more than a little bit obsolete at this point, but it is also still a good deal at that price and might be among the most easily rooted devices on the market. Keeping it around at a lower price makes sense in the same way that Amazon’s offering a highly limited Kindle eReader for only $79 does.
While I can’t necessarily speak too highly of the overall Nook Tablet experience provided by Barnes & Noble compared to that of the Kindle Fire, this is an excellent way to take advantage of low pricing to grab a 7” tablet with a bit of extra power and storage space if you don’t feel like waiting on a Google delivery. My recommendation would be to wait at least a week while we see what Amazon has in store for their next tablet, which is likely to be priced to match, especially since the Kindle Fire 2 is likely to be officially announced any day now. If you can’t wait, there are far worse options to choose from than the Nooks.