nook tablet Technology

Barnes & Noble Announces $199 8GB Nook Tablet. But Will It Be Amazon’s Prometheus?


In Greek mythology, Prometheus was the titan who stole fire from Zeus and gave it to us mere mortals.  Amazon is currently the god of the e-reader and budget tablet market with it’s Kindle Fire.  Posting incredible sales numbers and massive demand during the holiday season and currently still holding that spot, Amazon’s Kindle Fire is the tablet that really lit the “fire” when it comes to the affordable tablet market.

Barnes & Noble also released it’s updated Nook Tablet during this past holiday season, but hasn’t seen nearly the demand or sales that Amazon has with the Kindle Fire.  The Nook Tablet launched originally with 16GB of memory and a $249.99 price tag, only $50 more than that Kindle Fire.  But consumers spoke again with their wallets, and the Nook Tablet has really yet to take off.

In an effort to steal some “fire” from Amazon’s Kindle Fire, Barnes and Noble announced today that they will be offering a new model of the Nook Tablet for $199 with 8GB of memory, exactly the same price and memory as the Kindle Fire.

But will Barnes & Noble be Amazon’s Prometheus with it’s new Nook Tablet and finally steal some of Amazon’s “fire”?  I seriously doubt it.

The Nook Tablet and the Kindle Fire are essentially the same tablet.  Both have a dual-core 1GHz processor, 512 MB of RAM, 8GB of internal memory, and a 1024 x 600 capacitive touch screen.   Both run a custom version of Android.  But the real difference is the ecosystem behind these tablets, and that is what sells.

The iPad, besides being the first modern tablet in the market, continues to be the best-selling tablet in the world for more than just it’s hardware and specs.  It’s the cultured Apple ecosystem behind that iPad with iTunes, the App Store, iCloud, iBooks, and all of Apple’s other offerings that are one of the main reasons why more consumers buy the iPad.

Tablets are media consumption devices, and right now Barnes & Noble doesn’t have the media ecosystem in place for you to consume media.  Amazon and Apple both have well-curated ecosystems that offer everything from books to movies, from music to apps.  Barnes & Noble has the books, and a paltry app store, but lacks the remaining pieces to really hook consumers and keep them coming back.  Amazon’s Prime Membership gives consumers, a free Kindle book a month, unlimited Prime Instant Video streaming, unlimited cloud storage, and free-two day shipping on Amazon.  Barnes & Noble’s membership offers consumers discounts on books, and? nothing else of real significance.

There are plenty of customers who love their Nooks and are enjoy Barnes & Noble’s book selection, but there really isn’t any other hook to the Nook that makes it a truly viable alternative to the Kindle Fire.  You can read more about the Kindle Fire in our full Mind Of The Geek review here.

So while Barnes & Noble did the smart business decision by getting their Nook Tablet down to the $199 price point, it isn’t going to be Amazon’s Prometheus.  For now, having the hottest budget tablet on the market isn’t for us mere mortals, its going to stay in the hands of Bezos, the top god on Mount Amazon.

Image courtesy of Barnes & Noble