Nook Tablet vs. Kindle Fire: Which will win?
Holiday shoppers must decide between the Nook Tablet's superior features and the Kindle Fire's lower price
While some of the Nook Tablet's specifications are superior to those of the Kindle Fire, the Nook's price fails to break below the magic $200 figure that will attract more consumers, analysts said Monday. As a result, the Kindle Fire, with its better-recognized brand name and access to widely known Amazon content, should sell better among holiday shoppers in the initial weeks when both go on sale.
Both devices have 7-in. touch screens and will be available next week. The Kindle Fire arrives Nov. 15 and the Nook Tablet comes by the end of next week at Barnes & Noble stores and other retailers, the company said.
The Nook Tablet and the Kindle Fire are "very different products, but the critical break-point is $199, and $249 [for the Nook Tablet] does not have that same cachet with buyers," said Rob Enderle, an analyst at Enderle Group. "Below $200 is a much bigger market than $249, and Barnes & Noble is missing the break-point that's going to be the critical factor in sales, not specs."
Enderle's reasoning is based on consumer technology sales history and how shoppers buy during the holiday season. While a person buying for himself might weigh more carefully the superior memory and storage of the Nook Tablet, that same buyer would want to hold down the cost below $200 when buying one as a gift, he said.
Jack Gold, an analyst at J. Gold Associates, said the $50 difference could weigh against Barnes & Noble because "most buyers aren't crazy techies and won't go through every spec like I would ... For most users, the extra memory won't be that important."
IDC analyst Tom Mainelli said it is hard to predict how important the $50 price difference will be, but added that the customers Barnes & Noble is going after are "likely not that specification-driven."
Barnes & Noble also claimed the Nook has a better screen than the Kindle Fire, "but that's one of those things that you'll need to compare side by side." Both devices have a 1024 x 600 touch screen, but the Nook Tablet benefits from a VividView display, Barnes & Noble officials said.
Barnes & Noble CEO William Lynch drubbed the Kindle Fire on its specs, calling it "deficient" as a media-playing device, partly because it has just 512MB of RAM, compared with the Nook Tablet's 1GB of RAM. Documents leaked on Engadget last week said the Nook's dual-core processor would have a processor speed of 1.2 GHz, but Barnes & Noble said Monday that the Nook's dual-core processor is 1 GHz, the same as the Kindle Fire's.
The Nook Tablet has 16GB of internal storage, expandable with a slot for a 32GB memory card, while the Kindle Fire has 8GB of internal storage that Lynch said would be insufficient for when a user is not connected to the Internet over Wi-Fi.
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