Barnes & Noble may try to keep Amazon from pulling too far ahead with its new Kindle tablet, expected to be unveiled at a press conference in New York on September 28.
According to a report in The Digital Reader, Barnes & Noble, America's largest bookstore and owner of the Nook ereaders, will launch a $349 tablet that might be named Acclaim. The report gave no specifications other than the name and the expected price.
The report, written by Nate Hoffelder, said: According to my source, Barnes & Noble held a planning meeting last week. One of the topics discussed in the meeting was B&N's marketing plans for their ebook readers and how they would be promoted next quarter.
The report said Barnes and Noble's NookColor will be getting a brother tablet. It also said Barnes & Noble is planning to release three ebook readers in the next quarter -- most likely in October. It said B&N will keep the NookTouch at $139, and they will have the 2 NookColors at higher price points. The Encore and Acclaim tablets will be priced at $249 and $349.
That's perfect timing competitively speaking, since the release of Amazon's first tablet is apparently nearing. Amazon's PR firm sent an invitation to journalists Friday afternoon announcing a press conference in New York City on Sept. 28 when the company is expected to reveal its new consumer tech weapon -- the Kindle tablet.
But while the tablet hasn't been revealed publicly yet, it is apparently real -- seen already by one tech journalist already.
TechCruch's MG Siegler wrote earlier this month that he had seen and used Amazon's new tablet -- further suggesting that's what Amazon will unveil at the Sept. 28 meeting. Seigler reported after using Amazon's tablet that the produce is going to be a big deal.
So big, in fact, that it's expected to be an immediate competitor to Apple's industry-leading iPad. Amazon has a chance to compete with Apple by selling its tablet at a lower price, offering deals on content, and tying the product in with its Web site, one of the world's most popular.
One study said this summer than one in five Internet users visited Amazon's site in the month of June, for instance.
While Amazon hasn't said when it's first tablet will be launched the company recently redesigned its Web site in a more tablet-friendly manner -- further suggesting an October launch. Amazon's new Web site is less cluttered, with fewer buttons, more white space and a bigger search box. It's cleaner and lighter -- custom designed for tablet users.
Amazon is expected to unveil an Android-based tablet with some personalized system touches featuring a 7-inch, back lit screen.
Reports have indicated Amazon will price the new tablet below $300 to compete against Apple's industry-leading iPad while also providing an annual content subscription model that will let readers have free access to older books and streaming movies and TV shows.
Amazon's tablet library content will reportedly be available to Amazon's Prime members -- who currently pay $79 a year for unlimited two-day shipping for products on Amazon.com and also for access to streaming digital movies and television shows on the site.
Amazon has announced this yet, but the information fits with how Amazon has approached its Prime subscriptions and previous launches of its popular Kindle e-reader devices.
Amazon is expected to sell its new tablet at a hardware loss initially, but integrating content from Amazon Prime into its tablets to get more members and also give more consumer value. Currently, Amazon Prime membership doesn't include books, but The Wall Street Journal reported recently that Amazon will likely expand the program to include books for its tablet owners.
Another news journal, eWeek, has predicted that Amazon will also try to undercut Apple with the prices of magazine and newspaper subscriptions for tablet owners by possibly offering publishers lower terms to get the price down.
Apple's iPad has been the tablet industry leader without challenge over the past year and a half, but when HP discounted its slow-selling TouchPad to $99, buyers rushed in, selling out the product in a matter of days. Since then, industry focus has been on Amazon's efforts to reduce pricing for its new tablet and other auxiliary services, like Amazon Prime.
Amazon has been adding movie and TV show content for its Prime members, rivaling streaming video subscription service Netflix. By bundling Prime services with its new tablet, the company can lower costs on its hardware, while gaining a competitive edge against Apple and other competitors by signing up more customers for its subscription service.