Barnes & Noble has frequently been flip-flopping on their future plans over the past year, so it should come as no surprise that they have changed their minds again. According to the NYTimes and the WSJ (and confirmed by an inside source) B&N currently has no plans to release a tablet this holiday season:
Mr. Huseby said there were no plans for Barnes & Noble to release a new color tablet by the end of the year. “That does not mean we won’t do so in the future,” he said. “We’re being more measured in terms of how we pace the production of devices.”
B&N's previous plan had included at least one new device
a new tablet launch this Fall, and the various leaks (a for Dummies book, a BT keyboard, and new cases) supported the idea that it would be a tablet. I even had sources telling me that it would happen last month, so I have to say that I am rather surprised at this about face.
On the other hand, B&N has changed their minds a lot this year. They had also previously announced plans to get out of tablet development and instead license a design from some third party. That plan was announced in June and went by the wayside in late August.
Now, 3 months later, B&N has changed their mind again.
B&N's new tablet plans now revolve around selling their current tablets, the Nook HD and Nook HD+, at budget prices. Those tablets got a price cut around the time that the new Nook Glow launched.
You can find the tablets with prices starting at $129 and $149.
The Nook HD is a 7" tablet with a 1440 x 900 resolution screen (the highest of any 7" tablets when it launched). It's running a proprietary version of Android on a 1.3 GHz dual-core CPU, and it ships with 8GB or more of Flash storage. The Nook HD+ is a 9" tablet with a 1920 x 1280 resolution screen. It too is running B&N's own proprietary version of Android on a 1.5 GHz dual-core CPU, and it ships with 16GB or more of Flash storage.
So should you get these tablets? Yes and no.
That is really not as good of a price for the Nook HD as you may think; the Hisense Sero 7 Pro also costs $129, and it is a very polished machine with a faster CPU, 2 cameras, NFC, and other features that the Nook HD lacks. I have a Sero 7 Pro and it is as good as the reviews suggest (my review is coming this weekend).
But the Nook HD+ at $149, now that is different matter. If I were sure B&N would be around this time next year I would get an HD+. Considering the quality of the components it is a decent value.
I don't know of any large tablet in the price range which I can recommend. Sure, the HD+ only has a dual core CPU and it lacks cameras, but that's not a serious shortcoming. Few larger tablets in that price range have decent cameras or fast CPUs, so the Nook HD+ really doesn't have much competition. And of course none of larger tablets in the Nook HD+'s price range have a screen as good as the one on the HD+, which IMO should be a deciding factor.