September 26, 2012 - 11:00 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Barnes & Noble Inc took a shot at archrival Amazon.com on Wednesday, Sept 26, unveiling its own lighter and thinner hi-definition tablets that can accommodate multiple users in a bid to win a bigger share of the exploding tablet market, according to Reuters.
The largest U.S. bookstore chain introduced the new devices with price tags ranging from $199 for a 7-inch Nook HD tablet with 8 gigabytes of memory, to $299 for a 9-inch Nook HD+ tablet, similar in size to Apple Inc's market-leading iPad, with 32 GB of memory. IPad prices are roughly twice as high for similar devices.
The new Nooks are the latest entrants in the fight for sales of tablets and e-readers - and the digital content like books, movies and magazines that goes with them. Barnes & Noble has staked its future on its digital business as the company faces an overall industrywide drop in the sales of physical books.
"A key growth area is to get their existing customer base onto the digital platform," Forrester Research analyst Sarah Rotman Epps told Reuters, saying the new devices were competitive with similar products by Amazon in terms of features and pricing.
Barnes & Noble faces formidable competition from Amazon, which can use its Prime shipping service and amazon.com site to draw users, and the iPad, which has sold in the tens of millions of units.
To keep pace, Barnes & Noble added innovative features that would allow each a family to share a Nook tablet, with each user able to create a home page and customize preferences, the first table to do so. There are also parental controls that can prevent kids from reading "Fifty Shades of Grey" or go shopping on the digital store.
The company is also launching a new video-streaming and download service for Nook, narrowing the gap with Amazon and Apple, which offer more content on their devices.
Barnes & Noble's new devices, available for pre-order on Wednesday, will ship in October and be in U.S. stores in November. They will be on sale in Britain beginning in late November at chains including Sainsbury's and Waitrose.