Nook Vs. Fire: 5 Comparison Points - InformationWeek
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Nook Vs. Fire: 5 Comparison Points

Barnes & Noble's Nook Tablet takes on the Amazon Kindle Fire. From size to support, find out how they compare.

Amazon Kindle Fire: Visual Tour
Amazon Kindle Fire: Visual Tour
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Barnes & Noble said Monday that its Nook Tablet, the successor to the company's popular Nook Color tablet, will be released November 17.

William Lynch, CEO of Barnes & Noble, called the device "the best wireless media tablet in the portable 7-inch class."

That's a claim Amazon no doubt would dispute. The e-commence giant has a new 7-inch media tablet of its own, the Kindle Fire, which is scheduled to ship two days before the new Nook.

But both Amazon and Barnes & Noble agree on one thing: They're betting on Android as the foundation of their online content businesses. That's a pretty bold bet given that Apple's iPad appears likely to capture 75% of the tablet market in 2011. But the alternative, selling content through an iPad app, means handing over 30% of revenue to Apple.

[Take a visual tour of Amazon's forthcoming Kindle Fire.]

This point-by-point comparison of the two Android devices (with an eye on the iPad) may help you determine whether either of these tablets is the one for you.

Price: Advantage Kindle Fire
The Nook Tablet lists for $249 while the Kindle Fire lists for $199. On that basis alone, the Kindle Fire will probably sell better. But many Kindle Fire buyers are going to be paying $79 annually to Amazon for their Prime subscriptions, so the actual prices of the two devices may be closer than the price tags suggest.

Size: Advantage Nook Tablet
The Kindle Fire is a bit smaller than the Nook Tablet, but it weighs a bit more. That matters if you're holding a tablet up for a long time. The Kindle Fire measures 7.5" by 4.7" and weighs 0.91 pounds. The Nook Tablet measures 8.1" by 5" and weighs 0.88 pounds. The screens are the same size--7" diagonally.

Software: Advantage iPad
If you're just counting ebooks, then Amazon and Barnes & Noble have the edge, millions of titles compared to some 200,000 Apple iBooks. But in terms of apps, the iPad has over 140,000, about 10 times as many apps as Amazon has in its Android App Store. Barnes & Noble has fewer apps still, "thousands," according to the company.

Both the Kindle Fire and the Nook Tablet are built on different forked versions of Android 2.2. They won't run standard Android 2.2-compatible apps unless hacked. And neither tablet comes with support for a camera, GPS, and other standard Android features.

Amazon may end up ahead in the software comparison if its Silk browser turns out to offer a significantly better Web experience than other Android-based browsers.

Hardware: Advantage Nook Tablet
Both the Kindle Fire and the Nook Tablet feature 1-GHz TI OMAP dual-core CPUs. The Nook, however comes with twice as much RAM (1 GB vs. 512 MB) and internal storage (16 GB vs. 8 GB), not to mention the Nook's microSD slot.

Support: Advantage Nook Tablet
Both Amazon and Barnes & Noble offer one-year limited warranties for their devices. The difference is that Nook Tablet owners can take their devices into Barnes & Noble stores for service and support. Amazon doesn't have retail outlets, at least not yet. (The last time the subject came up, in 2009, Amazon denied having plans to open retail stores.)

Carlos Icaza, co-founder and chief evangelist for Ansca Mobile, which makes the cross-platform Corona SDK for creating Android and iOS apps, said in an email that Barnes & Noble's stores represent an advantage that Amazon doesn't have. At the same time, he observed, the expense of maintaining those stores is a cost that Amazon doesn't have. "We may begin to see complete makeovers of Barnes & Noble brick-and-mortar stores as digital hubs for Nooks," he said. "Kind of like Apple's Genius Bar."

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User Rank: Apprentice
11/8/2011 | 2:53:49 PM
re: Nook Vs. Fire: 5 Comparison Points
The number of apps is a bad comparison. There are 10 or so, "flashlight" apps and 10 or so, Police Lights and siren apps. 5 versions of Angry birds. My android phone(Galaxy S) and tablet (Vizio) both have Nook, Google, and Amazon books, so book comparison looking at only one service is disingenuous.
User Rank: Apprentice
11/8/2011 | 2:40:15 PM
re: Nook Vs. Fire: 5 Comparison Points
It does seem a bit out of place, but I guess the thinking behind the random iPad nod is that no one really knows what type of app support Nook and Kindle Fire will have. I'm going to assume that Amazon will have the edge, given that they already have a head-start with their own Android App Store, but then people could argue that they'll be less likely to offer potentially competitive apps (i.e. streaming A/V services) due to their own business interests.
User Rank: Apprentice
11/8/2011 | 2:28:55 PM
re: Nook Vs. Fire: 5 Comparison Points
Why is there an "Advantage iPad" in here? I thought this was Nook vs Fire. I'm considering each. I am not considering an iPad.
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