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Nook Fights Fire With Higher Prices

Barnes & Noble says its new Nook Tablet outmatches the Amazon’s Kindle Fire on everything except price.

Unveiled this morning, the new device costs $249 – that’s $50 more expensive than the Kindle Fire, although still half the cost of an entry-level iPad. Barnes & Noble makes the case that the Nook is worth the extra $50, but analysts are not so sure. “It’s not groundbreaking,” says Peter Wahlstrom, senior analyst with Morningstar research. “But the difference in price and services on the Nook Tablet is enough to give customers pause for thought.”

In its favor, the Nook has 16 gigabytes of memory or twice the memory than the eight-gigabyte Kindle Fire (six gigabytes of which are only available to customers for storage), and comes with Hulu Plus and Netflix apps pre-loaded – although users still need to pay for subscriptions. It also has one gigabyte of RAM – or random access memory – versus 512 megabytes for the Kindle Fire. It also has free in-store customer support, and has nine hours of battery life, versus approximately eight for the Kindle Fire.

Barnes & Noble CEO William Lynch tells Pay Dirt that the Nook’s speed and screen resolution are significantly greater to warrant the extra $50. “This experience has a substantially better display than the Kindle,” he says. “The Kindle’s user experience at 512 [megabytes]  can be choppy. You can also walk into your neighborhood Barnes & Noble for customer service.” Amazon was immediately unavailable for comment.

But most customers will be concerned more with content than memory and megabytes, experts believe. “It looks like a very compelling device, but that $50 is going to matter a lot,” says Michael Gartenberg, an analyst at research firm Gartner Inc. “It’s more about how much content will be available.”

Nook is ahead on news content with 250 magazines and newspapers, but Amazon has a “more complete ecosystem” far beyond books, he says. “In some cases it’s going to come down to what you want to do with that device and how well those companies market their devices,” Gartenberg says.

It’s a win-win for consumers given the price range for tablets, experts say, especially with the more basic black-and-white e-readers on the market for under $100 (Kindle at $79 and Nook at $99). Apple’s iPad 2, in case you need reminding, starts at a whopping $499. As for eating into other tablets’ market share, “We’re not trying to steal anything from anybody,” Lynch says. “We created this hybrid media reader category.”

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    • It dragged out a liltte and at times. I was lost wondering if he is ever going to sleep with Alexandra. It keep me hanging on each word, each syllabus to know what is going to happen next. It sounds something that was based on real experience.Truly, felt it was from the heart, the anguish and the tremendous pain of not knowing who and why we fall in love.Moving forward, a liltte disappointing was the issue of love and lust. I feel lust, everyone does. But, Mr.Stanley, I am a typical Indian women raised in a normal traditional family value in Asia, where self respect and virginity matters in our culture. Yes, I would agree people do not appreciate it anymore or there is no true meaning for the husbands to expect a wife to be a virgin, but to the small group who does, it does matters. It matters to me mostly. Temptation are laughing at our faces all the time, esp. being well educated and stable and to mingle with those non-virgin friends and one night stands are a high risk but I do enjoy it all the same, it keeps the pulse going and to see on the level of tolerance I can fight the urges. I haven’t scum to it yet, but who knows? If I ever found someone like Kevin who loves you enough to give yourself But then, a book is truly to be enjoyed. It tells a men and a women that loving someone is going to be painful as it is sweet. It is a risk but at times it can turn out to be the best moment in life. I guess it takes some bad relationship to point us the good once, so we would appreciate the love and the life our partner is offering and give all we have to make it work. A mark on the religion and beliefs might have been setback for some, but I don’t see it in such. I loved the novel as much as I felt every single heartbeat of the love around Kevin and Jasmine. It took me 2 days to finish as I was reading it on and off, but i think it was worth the time. And, I did enjoy each and every bit of the sexual encounters too. It really turns you on Thank You.

    • The article has a repeated typo/error.

      Fire has 500 MEGAbytes RAM.

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  • Pay Dirt examines the millions of consumer decisions Americans make every day: What to buy, how much to pay, whether to rave or complain. Lead written by Quentin Fottrell, the blog examines these interactions, providing readers with news, insight and tips on shopping, spending, customer service, and companies that do right – and wrong – by their customers. Send items, questions and comments to quentin.fottrell@dowjones.com or tweet @SMPayDirt.

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