Bookstore giant Barnes & Noble took the wraps off a 14.1-ounce Nook Tablet, intended to compete with rival Amazon's Kindle Fire as well as Apple's iPad2.
Priced at $249, Barnes & Noble said the Nook Tablet will be available on or about Nov. 17.
New York-based Barnes & Noble, the biggest traditional bookseller in the U.S., has been trying to regain profitability and grow market share using electronic devices rather than sell more books the old-fashioned way. In its second quarter, the company reported a loss of $57 million on revenue that fell 2 percent to $1.4 billion.
We've created the best wireless media tablet in the portable 7-inch class, CEO William Lynch said. The Nook Tablet has an OMAP processor from Texas Instruments and runs on Google's Android OS using the current Gingerbread release. Barnes & Noble said it will encourage more developers to come up with applications.
Besides the Nook Tablet, Barnes & Noble also chopped the list price of the older Nook Color to $199 and trimmed the Nook Simple Touch to $99.
Both steps replicate what Seattle-based Amazon did with its Kindle Fire tablet, priced from $199, as older Kindles were slashed to $99.
Shipments of the Kindle Fire are scheduled to begin next week. Amazon has reported record orders for the unit but not released estimates. Forrester Research has estimated Amazon may sell as many as five million this quarter.The market researcher estimates Barnes & Noble might sell as many as 2.5 million Nook Tablets.
Like the Kindle Fire, the more expensive Nook Tablet will also feature links to content, including Netflix, Hulu Plus and Pandora; high-definition videos from Time Warner's Warner Brothers unit; other services such as Rhapsody, Groove shark and MOG are available for two-week trials.
The Amazon Kindle Fire will feature free links to Amazon's Prime streaming media service, as well as titles from many other sources including Sony Pictures.
The Barnes & Noble and Amazon tablets are all the latest entries into a market dominated by Apple, which reported selling 32.1 million iPads in the fiscal year ended Sept. 24. Apple, which has about 75 percent of the market, prices its products from $499.
Shares of Barnes & Noble rose 4 cents to $11.65 after the announcement, while Amazon shares dipped $1.75, to $214.85. Apple shares fell $3.95 to $396.26.
By market capitalization, though, the contest is more apparent: Barnes & Noble's is $701 million, Amazon's is $97.8 billion and Apple's is $368.43 billion.