Earlier today B&N finally admitted to the existence of the new Nook tablet (the one that leaked last week). I was at the event (livebog here), and I got more than a few minutes time to play with the new Nook Tablet. I also watched it be demoed for a good half hour.
I sat down to write this after having been out of the event for about half an hour now, and I have got a pretty good idea what I think of the Nook Tablet. It was a little disappointing. It's a good incremental improvement on the original NC and it is also quite pretty, but it didn't wow me.
It's not a Nook Color 2, it's a Nook Color 1.5.
As you can probably tell, I am not a Nook partisan. If anything I am in love with what Amazon have been doing with the kindle platform. There are any number of shiny features that amazon introduced in the past year that I love. Also, if looked at simply as reading platforms, I think the Kindle ecosystem is way ahead of the Nook. It does many more reading related activities.
But I'm comparing the tablets as media devices, so the related media abilities weigh heavily on my mind. When it comes to these tablets, the hardware and software is more important that the overall reading platform. I would take the Nook Tablet over the Kindle Fire, and I have 2 simple reasons for that. The better specs of this second gen tablet make it worthwhile.
The Kindle Fire lacks a card slot or sufficient Flash storage. It has only the 8GB Flash, and that is simply not enough. If I were really going to use it as a media tablet, I could fill that 8GB eight or 9 times over with videos and music. Hell, my PDF files alone would fill that space. It's simply not enough. On the other hand the Nook Tablet has a card slot, which means it potentially has an extra 32GB I could use. I like that. And it has a mike, which is so very cool.
There's also the fact that the Nook Tablet is a second gen device. I may have snickered at the Kindle Fire bashing this morning, but there was still an element of truth here and there. B&N have had their tablets under development for going on 2 years now, and that's why I'm willing to bet money that the Nook Tablet will function better when it ships. I expect the Kindle Fire to have more rough edges simply because it is Amazon's first tablet.
And then there's the media abilities. They didn't influence my decision but I think they do reinforce my point.
Yes, I have an Amazon prime membership, so the Kindle Fire would have all sorts of content I could use for free. But I also have a Netflix membership and I could use it on the Nooks (both NT and NC have the app).
And to be honest, B&N launched the NT with a bunch of other companies' apps on it. B&N matched Amazon service for service (mostly?) but didn't lock you in to B&N's store. Instead they found the best services on the market and signed them up. It might only be a marketing trick, but B&N don't look as controlling as Amazon. I like that.
Now that I've picked the Nook Tablet over the Fire, let me make this a little worse for Amazon.
My second choice in the Nook vs Kindle Kire competition isn't the Kindle Fire; it's the old Nook Color. As strange as it might sound, I like the older, refurbished Nook Color that B&N sell for $150. I think it's a better value than the Kindle Fire. Yes, it only has the single core CPU, but it also has well developed software, a card slot, and a well developed hacking community.
If I had to buy one of the Nooks or the Kindle Fire, I'd go for the NC and hack it. I think that is a very good value for $150. Then again, I'm cheap. If I had the funds I'd get a Nook Tablet.
BTW, I'd love to hear what y'all think of the Nook Tablet. Good? Bad? Ugly?