Battle of the E-Reader Tablets: Nook vs Kindle Round II

Barnes & Noble has unveiled its next generation Nook tablet

Barnes & Noble, seeking to provide a much more cost effective product to the market, has released its next generation Nook e-reader that will feature 8GB of memory in a 7-inch format with a $199 price tag, significantly lower than its $249 previous offering.

The tablet will feature a 1020 by 600 pixel display, has 1GB of RAM and a 1GHz processor. It includes a microSD card slot that permits the user to add as much as 32GB of additional storage. It has a longer battery life than the earlier version, now running for 11.5 hours reading time or 9 hours viewing videos.

The specs are almost identical to that offered by rival Amazon in some of its Kindle models, which is obviously the player that the Nook is targeted at, but could also erode sales of the company’s Nook Color, which is also very similar. That could be why at the same time as the rollout Barnes & Noble cut the price of its Nook Color, which had been priced at $199, down to $169.

Amazon’s Kindle, driven by the Kindle Fire has been a runaway best seller for the company and has propelled that platform into the second spot in the overall tablet space. Barnes & Noble is generally viewed as the 4th place device manufacturer, but had very strong sales during the holidays, so much so that the company has talked about possibly spinning off the tablet group as a wholly owned subsidiary.

Others not idle

At the same time Research-in-Motion, struggling to make inroads in the tablet space after the poor reception of its initial offering has released the BlackBerry OS 2.0 for its PlayBook tablet. The updated OS includes a greater degree of integration with social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.

More importantly it also addresses some of the major deficits that the original version contains including a native calendar, contact and messaging apps. The company also said that there is a growing number of apps in its BlackBerry App World site for the PlayBook.

Tablet market leader Apple is expected to revamp its lineup with the iPad 3 on March 7th, as you may have read, well everywhere. Since it is the market leader it almost inevitably it gets compared to every other offering in the tablet space I believe that the Kindles and Nooks of the world serve a slightly different market.

There is of course overlap, but most users that I know with an e-reader use it for only that, and that is all they want. 10-inch tablet users are often looking for a great deal more in terms of function and applications, a reason that probably helped lead to the poor reception of the initial PlayBook, for instance.

Idolian Develops sub-$100 Tablet that Targets Kindle Fire

Idolian, a telecommunications firm in Newport Beach, Calif., has entered into the 7-inch form factor tablet space with its IdolPad, a product it touts as being a viable product for both consumers and small businesses.

The IdolPad will be used to anchor the entry level position in the company’s expanding lineup of tables, which now feature eight separate models and top out with the high end TouchTab 10, with its 10-inch display. The IdolPad sells for $99.99, getting under $100 by the thinnest of margins.

The IdolPad is powered by a 1GHz Cortex 9 CPU with 512MB of RAM and runs on the Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) operating system. It has a 7-inch multi touch resistant screen with 400 x 800 resolution and comes with a 1.3 megapixel front facing camera.

It ships with a 4GB hard drive and can support up to a 32GB microSD expansion card. It ships with Wi-Fi but no Bluetooth support and the company claims that it has a 4-6 hour battery life and supports HDMI 1080 resolution.

With the ability to serve as an e-reader, stream NetFlix or be used as a Skype device Idolian is positioning the IdolPad as an alternative to the much better known and wildly popular Kindle and Barnes & Noble’s Nook lineups.

With no hands on experience it is hard to give an accurate impression of the device but it supports color and as a lower cost rival to the $199 Kindle Fire it could be very viable. It does essentially the same things, but features an unaltered version of Android, which the Kindle does not.