Barnes & Noble CEO William Lynch drubbed the Kindle Fire on its specs, calling it "deficient" as a media playing device, partly because it has just 512 MB of RAM, compared with the Nook Tablet's 1GB of RAM. Documents leaked on Engadget last week said the Nook's dual-core processor of the Nook Tablet would have a procession speed of rated at 1.2 GHz, but Barnes & Noble said Monday the Nook's dual-core processor is 1 GHz, the same as the Kindle Fire's.
The Nook Tablet has 16GB of internal storage, expandable with a slot for a 32GB memory card, while the Kindle Fire has 8GB of internal storage that Lynch said would be insufficient for when a user is not connected to the Internet over Wi-Fi.
Barnes & Noble officials said the Nook Tablet is based on Android 2.3, also called Gingerbread, but noted that it doesn't have a full browser or the capability to purchase all the apps available in the Android Market. That puts it in roughly the same category as the Kindle Fire, analysts said, with both products offered as a lower-cost alternative to the AppleiPad 2, which starts at $499.
Enderle said both the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet would be used to perform the same functions for which 80% of iPad customers use their more-expensive tablets. The iPad's full access to the Apple AppStore and full browsing experience might not justify its higher pricetag for most users, however, Enderle said.
"At their lower price points, not having full browsers doesn't matter, because both Barnes & Noble and Amazon are making devices that are offering buy-through of their products," Enderle said. "These aren't full-on tablets and it's a very tight user experience. The iPad will be used the same way 80% of the time and at a far higher price."
One distinction that Lynch made in in the Nook Tablet over the Kindle Fire is the ability to try out the device in a store before buying it and to arrange for in-store repair service for free, if needed.
Enderle and Gold said those in-store factors probably won't be seen as a significant difference, given Amazon's online sales success and return policies.
But Mainelli said in-store support is a "key differentiator for Barnes & Noble" that's enhanced by free in-store content over Wi-Fi that "Amazon just can't match."