Barnes & Noble ready to up the Android tablet ante

by David Needle

October 31 2011

Barnes & Noble appears ready to go to head to head with Amazon next week when it’s expected to unveil a new Nook eReader. Invitations were sent to media for an event November 7 in New York. Amazon’s highly-touted Kindle Fire has already been announced and is expected to be released on November 15.

The online retail giant is already taking pre-orders for the Kindle Fire. Amazon reportedly attracted over 250,000 orders for the Kindle Fire the first week pre-ordering was available earlier this month. 

Barnes & Noble hasn’t released details on what it will announce, but observers are expecting an Android-based, Nook Color 2 with a 7-inch display. The Kindle Fire is also a 7-inch display device. 

Tablet vendors on the Android side are scrambling to differentiate themselves now that Amazon announced that Kindle Fire will be priced at a  relatively low $199.99. Some analysts have suggested Amazon will lose money on each device at that price or at best make a modest profit. But Amazon can afford to do that because the Kindle Fire is optimized for eCommerce, specifically via Amazon. 

Barnes & Noble currently offers the Nook Color at $249. It’s possible the company might decide to keep that unit on the market at $199.99 and come out with a more powerful tablet than Amazon’s at a higher $249 price. 

Amazon uses a customized version of Android enhanced with its own Silk browser connected to Amazon’s cloud services. 

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