Nook Tablet vs. Kindle Fire vs. iPad 2: Review roundup

By Richi Jennings (@richi ) - November 8, 2011.

[Updated with more voices]

Nook Tablet
It's the next round of Tablet Wars; this time, Nook Tablet vs. Kindle Fire -- each of which is warily reviewing the iPad 2. Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS) is going head-to-head with Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) this holiday season; the fight will undoubtedly also involve Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL). Time for one of Richi's review roundups of the Nook Tablet vs. Kindle Fire vs. iPad 2. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers can't wait for next week.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment. Not to mention: D'oh! A deer...

    Joab Jackson reports:

Barnes & Noble...touted the tablet's screen resolution and battery life as key selling points. ... The display is a proprietary design called "VividView," which...has a clearer display and wider viewing angle. ... [A] user would be able to watch movies, either on disk or streaming, for 8 hours. ... For reading, the battery will last as long as 11 hours.


The tablet will be available "by the end of next week." ... Users will be able to save data on the Nook Cloud, and Barnes & Noble will offer free Wi-Fi at all its stores. ... [It] will cost $249.


Amazon['s] Kindle Fire is due out on Nov. 15 priced at $199. [The two] are competing not only in the market for e-readers but general purpose tablets...currently dominated by Apple's iPad.   

   Tim Carmody adds:

The Nook Tablet is, indeed, very light — lighter than the Nook Color...than a Kindle Fire, and much lighter than an iPad. B&N...confirmed that [it] packs the same battery as the Nook Color, and explained that firmware improvements and better power management at the processor level produce the battery-life gain.


The LCD screen is bright and clear, and handles video playback superbly. It’s 1024 x 600...and boasts a 169 PPI pixel density. ... The combination of improved screen quality and processing power also makes gaming much more compelling...even rapidly flipping back and forth between pages in a magazine becomes a game.   

Barbara Krasnoff reminds us of another competitor:

Three of the leading e-reader vendors -- Amazon, Kobo and Barnes & Noble -- are introducing three similar Android-based e-readers, all with 7-in. color touchscreens and all costing in the $200 range.


B&N also pushed the fact that Nook users have a brick-and-mortar store they can go see the tablet and get help with it. ... [S]ometimes just walking to a store...rather than shopping online is the better of the two worlds. (And sometimes not.).   

  And Daniel Ionescu tables the specs:

The Kindle Fire and the Nook Tablet are similar in many ways. They both have 7-inch displays...and they both run on heavily customized versions of Android. ... The Kindle Fire is slightly slimmer. ... The Nook Tablet does weigh 5 ounces less.


Barnes & Noble has packed in more performance into its Nook Tablet...[which] packs 1GB or RAM, double the amount found on the well as 16GB of on-board storage...double of what’s found on the...Fire. There’s also a MicroSD card slot...notably missing from the Fire.


Double the amount of RAM and storage alone would justify the extra $50. ... The price might be as low as half...of one of Apple’s tablets, but you won’t get any cameras for video chatting...and the selection of third-party apps is minimal, as both Barnes & Noble and Amazon curate their own app portals.   

  But James Kendrick has the solution for that:

The Nook Color has been a hacker’s dream...with the homebrew crowd putting full versions of Android on it. I suspect the same crowd is now raring to get their hands on...the Nook Tablet.


[W]e’ll start seeing custom ROM solutions...within weeks of availability. Good hardware screams for good Android distros, and the homebrew folks will not disappoint.   

Meanwhile, your humble blogwatcher asks this question:

You can record your own audio book: B&N suggests parents might want to record themselves reading a book to their kids. (Is anyone excited by this feature? I know I'm not.)   

Update: Ian Paul makes this pomaceous comparison:

While other companies keep trying to counter Apple, the iPad continues to dominate the new one-panel slate device category. ... Barnes & Noble's new tablet...[and] Amazon's Kindle Fire...have good specs, especially for the price, [but]...aren't notable for what they offer but for...the lack of full-powered tablet specs such as Bluetooth, GPS, front- and rear-facing cameras, smaller screen sizes, and 3G connectivity.


[They're] being marketed primarily as tablets for reading e-books, watching movies and TV shows, browsing the Web, and checking email. That is what most people believed the iPad would be used for, but...the iPad has also become a content-creation device.


At some point, a number of tablets will probably show up that can match the iPad's specs and have the chops to actually compete with it. ... [It's] likely the iPad won't see any serious competition until mid-2012 or even 2013.   

   And Finally...
D'oh! A deer...
[bonus link: Ray, a drop of golden...]

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Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher

Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. He's the creator and main author of Computerworld's IT Blogwatch -- for which he has won American Society of Business Publication Editors and Jesse H. Neal awards on behalf of Computerworld. He also writes The Long View for IDG Enterprise. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can follow him as @richi on Twitter, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email: You can also read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

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