As expected, Barnes & Noble has revealed the next-generation Nook tablet – or in this case, tablets: the 7-inch Nook HD and the larger 9-inch Nook HD+. They're priced to kill too, ranging from $199 to $299.
The news is surprisingly early, and arrives after the company announced its new Nook Video service which will stream movies and TV shows to any compatible device. The service is tied into the new UltraViolet digital format which allows consumers to purchase video content and watch it on multiple platforms.
Barnes & Noble is actually calling "world's first" on the 7-inch Nook HD model, saying it's the lightest tablet of its size on the market and has the highest resolution seen on that tablet form factor. The specs reveal it to weigh a mere 11.1 oz, and feature a screen with a 1440 x 900 resolution (243 pixels per inch). In comparison, the just-released Kindle Fire HD weighs 13.9 oz and has a resolution of 1280 x 800 (216 pixels per inch).
According to this comparison chart, the Nook HD and Nook HD+ sport a Texas Instruments OMAP4470 dual-core SoC, clocked at 1.3 GHz for the smaller tablet and 1.5 GHz for the 9-inch version. The smaller tablet also features 8 GB or 16 GB of internal storage and 512 MB of RAM, and the larger tablet has 16 GB or 32 GB of storage and 1 GB of RAM. Both can be expanded storage-wise thanks to a microSD card slot.
The specs also show that the battery promises up to 10 hours of reading and up to 9.5 hours of video. The Nook tablets also come with dual stereo speakers, and a wall charger which apparently isn't included with the Kindle Fire HD (doh). Additional features include an "ad-free" experience, Word/Excel/PowerPoint compatibility, support for personal profiles, parental controls and more.
In this comparison chart featuring Apple iPad 3, the 9-inch Nook HD+, which weighs 18.2 oz, sports a 1920 x 1280 resolution and 256 pixels per inch, falling below Apple's tablet which sports a 2048 x 1536 resolution and 264 pixels per inch. Yet the Nook HD+ has a laminated screen with no air gap whereas the iPad 3 has an air gap.
Barnes & Noble is seemingly a bit more aggressive in pricing this time around, especially with Google now present in the 7-inch tablet market. The Nook HD – offered in Snow (white) and Smoke (silver) colors, will cost $199 for the 8 GB version and $229 for the 16 GB version – note that the Nexus 7 costs $249 for the 16 GB model. The 9-inch Nook HD+ will cost $269 for the 16 GB version and $299 for the 32 GB version, hitting both Amazon and Apple where is hurts.
"Both new tablets feature an all-new beautiful 'paper-like' user interface that gets customers right into the content they want, and allows quick access into core applications: Home, Library, Shop and Web," the company said on Wednesday. "The new experience is intended to make NOOK HD and NOOK HD+ the easiest tablets on the market to use, empowering customers to take advantage of its extensive functionality and enjoy a reading experience that far surpasses that of any other tablets."
The new Nook tablets will be office-friendly as well, as the revamped email app supports Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync. Of course, it also supports email, calendar and contacts syncing for popular services like Gmail, Hotmail and Outlook.com, as well other popular POP3/IMAP email services like Yahoo!, AOL and more.
In addition to announcing the tablets and Nook Video, the book retailer also said the Nook Store has been revamped to fit the high-resolution screens. The number of Nook Apps has also grown 10x in the last year, the company said, and Nook Newspapers have an all-new design as well.
The Nook HD and Nook HD+ tablets can be pre-purchased now, and will ship in late October -- they won't be available in stores until early November. Barnes & Noble also announced the Nook Simple Touch and the Nook Simple Touch with GowLight, which will be covered in a separate news article.