Amazon's super-inexpensive Kindle Fire has dominated the e-reader space since it was released last year. However, Barnes & Noble will release a new cheaper version of their Nook On February 22 to challenge Amazon, according to one report.
The new Nook Tablet will have only 8GB, the same amount of memory as the Kindle Fire, and half as much as the current Nook Tablet.
The report that broke this news has no indication as to what the price of the new Barnes & Noble Nook will actually be, only that Walmart will launch the product at 12:01AM on Wednesday, Feb. 22, and that because of the reduced memory, it will likely be geared to compete with the Kindle Fire, which sells for $199.
Amazon currently holds about 60% of the e-reader market share, according to a report by the New York Times, with Barnes & Noble holding only 27%. No doubt this new Nook model will attempt to chip away at the figure by drawing consumers away from Amazon's cheaper model.
Watching Amazon take the e-reader market by storm must have been friustrating for the developers of the Nook, especially considering that many in the tech community believe the Nook to be a product of higher quality than the Kindle Fire.
For instance, the old 16GB Nook has an edge on the Kindle Fire for battery life, 11.5 hours for Nook vs. 9 hours on the Kindle, and storage capacity. These qualities are important for tablets, as most are used away from home and, thus, oftentimes ready wireless Internet.
Because the Kindle Fire uses the cloud, as opposed to memory in the device itself, users disconnected from the Internet may find themselves unable to access their materials. And now that the Nook has the same, more modest amount of on-board memory, it will be interesting to see how it performs, or whether it will likewise have the option to tap into cloud-based memory.
The Kindle Fire's dominence of the market has been founded on two things that the Nook has yet to offer: First, the afrementioned low price, and second, a heightened access to Amazon's e-commerce hub. The Kindle Fire comes with a large, ready-made catalog of online content through a month free trial of Amazon Prime, which includes perks like free access to the Amazon instant Video, the Kindle Owner's Lending Library, and free shipping.
And so while, according to this news, Barnes & Noble will be able to challenge the Kindle's low price, whether that will translate to bigger sales could depend on whether they have any other tricks up their sleeves, in the way of additional Amazon Prime-like perks.
Also, the likely March release of the iPad 3 looms large in the tablet market. The iPad is in a different price and capability range. But its probably no accident that Barnes & Noble opted to release its new property a few weeks ahead of March 7, when it is rumored that the iPad 3 will launch.