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.
Amazon’s tablet announcement today could have far-reaching implications for your gadget use.
The $199 “Kindle Fire” tablet is less than half the starting price of an iPad 2 and boasts Wi-Fi, Flash video and access to Android apps and games — as well as all the movies, books, songs and other digital content Amazon sells. Lest that make the old $114 Kindle look overpriced, Amazon replaced it with three new e-reader models, the cheapest of which is just $79.
It’s the e-readers that are likely to make the bigger impact.
Kung Fu Panda and Shrek are facing off against Jack Bauer and FBI agents Mulder and Scully in the latest Netflix-Amazon fight for streaming video subscribers. Which side are you betting on?
Netflix and Amazon both announced this week that they had inked deals for new content. Netflix said Sunday it signed a deal with DreamWorks Animation, which will add live-streaming of popular franchises like “Shrek” and “Madagascar.” But you’ll have to wait to watch — the deal starts in 2013. Amazon’s new contract with Fox, announced Monday, gets it TV shows including “24” and “The X-Files.” Subscribers can start watching later this fall. (Fox is a division of News Corp., which also owns SmartMoney.com.)
The added content could make a difference for consumers deciding which streaming service offers the best value in the aftermath of Netflix’s recent pricing changes. Netflix now charges $7.99 per month for unlimited streaming, for a total $95.88 a year. Amazon charges $79 a year for its Amazon Prime service, which offers subscribers free two-day shipping and free streaming.
Amazon is taking its daily deals to Kindle e-readers: They will now receive regular offers for spas, bars and restaurants when they turn on their tablet.
The “AmazonLocal” daily deals may be hard to resist for Kindle customers – if they also like biking, comedy and yoga, that is. Forthcoming offers include $7 for a one-hour bike rental in Central Park (versus $15 retail value), $5 for $10 at Dangerfield’s Comedy club and $59 for one-month unlimited yoga classes at Bikram Yoga Grand Central ($180 value).
So far, the deals are exclusive to New York, according to Amazon. They are expanding to 43 other cities across 15 states later this year, including Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami and Seattle. But will they prove distracting for Kindle readers? The key difference between AmazonLocal offering discounts via Kindle and Groupon.com: You seek out Groupon’s deals, but the Kindle deals come directly to you. John Noe, CEO and co-founder of digital marketing and advertising firm Rokkon in New York says if you’re reading your Kindle everyday on the subway, the offers may become tiresome. “It feels more like a service, but it’s still 100% advertising,” he says.
Amazon may soon give consumers more incentive to shell out $79 for an Amazon Prime membership: a library of digital books for their e-readers.
The web retailer is in talks with publishers to create a subscription-based e-book library, a la Netflix for books, reports today’s Wall Street Journal. Access could be restricted to its Amazon Prime members, who also get free two-day shipping and — as of earlier this year — free streaming for a variety of movies and TV shows. (Amazon did not respond to requests for comment.)
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