Barnes & Noble’s CEO previously criticized the 8GB of storage available on Amazon’s $199 Kindle Fire as “deficient for a media tablet” — seeking to justify the additional $50 for Barnes & Noble’s 16GB Nook Tablet.

Well, it looks like the bookseller may be changing its approach. The Verge has documentation from Wal-Mart showing that Barnes & Noble plans to launch an 8GB Nook Tablet in a couple of days.

No official word on price, but something closer to $199 would make sense.

Numbers released last week by research firm iSuppli showed the Kindle Fire with 14 percent market share among media tablets in the fourth quarter — twice the market share of Barnes & Noble’s Nook tablets.

Amazon has been selling the Kindle Fire for a price close to its cost in an attempt to build market share — hoping to make up for it in the long run through increased sales of media content and subscriptions.

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  • Guest

    How will Barnes & Noble win market share by releasing a tablet that has the same specs as does Kindle Fire?

    We would recommend that Barnes & Noble introduce Nook Tablet 8GB at $149. This will result in a greater loss per unit sold, but we believe that book and movie sales will generate profits in the long-term. Compare Apple, who sells iPhone 4 for as little as $99 but who makes up the difference selling everything from “apps” to computers to complement it.

    • Guest2

      A Nook Tablet, even at 8GB, wouldn’t have the same specs as a Kindle Fire:  it would (presumably) still have twice as much RAM (1GB vs. 512MB), in addition to the capability to expand on that 8GB of storage via a micro SD card.

      I agree though that B&N still needs a way to differentiate its budget tablet from the KF.  Rather than lower its price to $149, I might suggest pricing it at $199 but unlocking it back to its pre-software update days (i.e., allow sideloading of apps from Android Marketplace).  Make it a “true” (albeit “budget”) tablet (again) as opposed to Amazon’s mere “consumption device”.

      I can understand why B&N might want to restrict the NT to its own “approved” apps in the B&N NT appstore (the NT’s technical limitations, such as no GPS or cameras, might cause disappointment among customers who unwittingly download-then-sideload apps that ultimately don’t work or otherwise cause instability with the NT’s customised Android OS).

      That said, the KF’s big selling point is access to Amazon’s HUGE content ecosystem.  B&N would be best served by positioning the NT as a tablet with admittedly less “native” content, but with the freedom to upload your own content (with the expressed caveat that Android Marketplace apps aren’t necessarily guaranteed to work properly).  The NT is already able to do this in terms of books (i.e., the NT supports EPUB while the KF does not), it should do the same in terms of apps (IIRC, the KF’s appstore, while large, still does not carry as many apps as Android Marketplace as a whole).

      • Guest

        What can one do with 1 GB of RAM that one cannot do with 512 MB of RAM? Android apps are pretty lightweight.

        We would not recommend updating Nook Tablet to allow for third-party software installation. With a price of $149 or $199, Barnes & Noble would need to monetise software installation. Additional app stores would dilute Barnes & Noble’s fiscal upside from Nook Tablet.

        If Nook Tablet 8GB were to have a memory card expansion, we would recommend restricting it to memory products approved by Barnes & Noble. Compare Sony with its proprietary card formats that enable monetisation of storage additions. Allowing generic memory cards offers no benefit to Barnes & Noble.

    • Guest

      Who is “we”?

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