This past week, Barnes and Noble put the Google Play store on its Nook HD and Nook HD+ tablets. So while they’re still running a forked Android, they’ll run most Android apps without you having to do anything special. That, plus the high-resolution screen, the low price, plus the ability to plug microSD cards into it, plus the ready availability at major retailers makes for a much more compelling tablet.
Sales have been abysmal lately, but I expect this to change that pretty quickly. Now the Nook tablets have three things the Kindle Fires lack: a better screen, greater openness, and expandability. Now they look like a very good general purpose tablet, to my eye.
Right around a year ago, I wrote about the difficulties of making a good $100 tablet. But then, today, I read on Slashdot about someone finding a nice $45 Android tablet in a Chinese bazaar, then finding a similar unit at Fry’s back home in the States, priced at $89.
That raised a couple of questions. First of all, what’s the tablet?
Amazon replaced the Kindle Fire today; the basic model gets a price cut to $159 and a faster CPU, and deluxe models get nicer (and in one case, a bigger 8.9-inch) screen. And, predictably, Amazon released new e-reader Kindles with a bit of a price cut and, again, nicer screens.
That wasn’t all.
Barnes & Noble just cut its tablet prices to make them more competitive. Now, $199 gets you the 16 GB version, and $179 gets you the 8 GB version. Twice the memory of a Kindle or Nexus, plus the ability to expand with cheap $25 SHDC cards? Why am I sitting at home writing this instead of standing in line?
Simple. Read more
I haven’t mentioned Google’s upcoming Nexus 7 tablet yet. If you haven’t heard about it somehow, it’s a 7-inch, quad-core tablet with 1 GB of RAM, priced at $199, and running Android 4.1. So think of it like a souped-up Kindle Fire. Read more
PC Magazine’s Tim Bajarin seems ready to write the obituary for Android for tablets which, to me, seems extremely premature.
I broke down today. I’m going to join the tablet game. Barnes & Noble was selling refurbished Nook Color e-readers for $119, so I bought one, intending to load Cyanogenmod on it and turn it into an Android 2.3 tablet.
The resulting tablet is no Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet, but it’s $119.
I’ve been reading about the Kindle Fire and the Nook Tablet. And not surprisingly, the reviews are generally saying there’s not a lot of difference between the two.
This week, Barnes & Noble answered Amazon’s Kindle Fire with its comparable Nook Tablet.
Which should you buy?
Want a $199 tablet? Want something more open than a Kindle Fire? Want it a couple of weeks sooner? Don’t mind a slower CPU to have device portability on your books and more open access to the operating system?
Kobo is betting with its Kobo Vox tablet that the answer to at least one of those questions, for some people, is yes.