In an effort to bypass Amazon, Barnes and Noble announced this morning it is releasing two new high-definition versions of the company’s popular e-reader, the Nook HD. This comes after Amazon announced earlier this month it would release four new versions of the Kindle, including the Kindle Fire in HD.
According to the Associated Press, the Nook HD will come in two sizes, one with a 7-inch screen for $199 and one with a 9-inch screen, called the Nook HD+ for $269. It will also be lighter and narrower than Amazon’s new Kindles. In order to compete with Amazon, the Nook HD will offer a video purchase and rental service for both movies and TV shows, making it more of a tablet and less of an e-reader.
Barnes & Noble will continue to sell its Nook Simple Touch and Nook Simple Touch with backlight, but will start phasing out the Nook Tablet and Nook Color.
Experts say there are pros and cons to both the new Nook HD and Kindle HD, as Mae Anderson explains.
On specs alone, the new Nook presents a tough choice for consumers seeking a cheap option to the iPad this holiday, analysts say. The 7-inch Nook HD is slightly lighter and narrower, with a sharper display than the similarly priced 7-inch Kindle Fire.
“If the decision the consumer is making is whether to buy based on hardware, these new Nooks will beat out Amazon,” said Forrester analyst James McQuivey. “But that’s not the decision every consumer is going to make — hardware is only as good as the services the hardware enables.”
So far, Amazon offers more services, McQuivey said, with a bigger app store, and more extensive video library, not to mention Amazon’s vast product offerings and its Amazon Prime free-shipping service.
One thing the new Nook HD has going for it? Some retailers like Walmart and Target have stopped selling Amazon’s Kindle because of the online competition, but Barnes & Noble products will still be available in these stores.