Barnes & Noble deepened its inroads into the tablet market with two new devices unveiled yesterday in Manhattan: the Nook HD ($199) and Nook HD Plus ($269). In private presentations to the press, executives for the bookseller made frequent comparisons between the 7-inch Nook HD and Amazon’s Kindle Fire and the 9-inch Nook HD Plus and the iPad 3.
Both devices are available for pre-order today and will ship in November, in time for the Holiday season.
While the devices boast several tablet functions — including video, apps, e-mail, and web-browsing — representatives emphasized that reading is what B&N does best. The tablets are designed to facilitate one-handed reading better than its competitors, based on research into the average size of a woman’s hand. The devices promise to be the lightest tablets on the market; the 9-inch HD Plus weighs 20 percent less than the comparably sized iPad, and in fact is closer in weight to the 7-inch Kindle. The Plus offers 10 hours of battery life for reading and 9.5 hours for watching video. Both devices have expandable memory — up to 64 GB — but neither comes equipped with 3G, 4G, or GPS.