Both tablets have new email apps, which support Microsoft Exchange for the first time, as well as Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo, AOL and others. Barnes & Noble officials said they will take advantage of Microsoft's recent $300 million investment in the company, making use of Microsoft's marketing prowess and the addition of Exchange to the devices.
Neither tablet has a camera, a feature promoted heavily in many other tablets on the market. Company executive Bill Saperstein, in an interview, explained that Barnes & Noble was "not trying to be all things to all people" and said the devices were built with powerful processors and high-quality displays to concentrate on consumption of content in books, music and videos, rather than on video chat and photo-taking.
Barnes & Noble officials made a point of noting that Target and Walmart will carry the new tablets, but the stores will not sell Amazon's tablets. Those retailers objected to Amazon's use of ads in its tablets because the advertising competes with the retailers' own advertisers. Barnes & Noble is offering its tablets without "annoying ads as with Amazon's tablets." Amazon requires customers to pay $15 to lose the advertising, which makes the Nook tablets "a better value than Amazon's," Barnes & Noble said.
Content is delivered to the Nook tablets via Wi-Fi, although both tablets also have Bluetooth afor the first time. Both tablets have microSD ports to expand storage to 64 GB.
The 9-in. tablet weighs 18.2 ounces and is 9.5 in. x 6.4 in. x 0.45 in., while the 7-in. tablet weighs 11.1 ounces and is 7.7 in. x 5 in. x 0.43 in. The Nook HD+ comes in a $349 version with 32 GB, as well as the starting $269 16GB version. The Nook HD for $199 has 8 GB, and the 16 GB version is $249.
Barnes & Noble made a quirky design shift with the 7-in. Nook HD by removing the faux caribiner clip seen in the original Nook on the lower left of the tablet body (when held in portrait mode). Instead, the carabiner clip appears only on the 9-in. HD+.
The Nook HD+ is a 9-in. tablet with a price starting at $269, a little over half of the iPad's $499 price.