Tablets Still Hot as New Kindle, NOOK Models Reach Market

11/7/2011


If you thought a winner had been declared in the tablet wars, think again. While it’s true the Apple iPad has scooped up the largest share of buzz and accolades thus far, the battle for true tablet supremacy may just be beginning.

When Amazon, www.amazon.com, announced its Kindle Fire tablet at the dramatic price point of $199 earlier this fall, it made the Fire an instant contender. Fire won’t ship until November 15, but it’s already being proclaimed an “iPad killer” by some in the industry.

While that moniker is likely a stretch, Amazon recently announced another new service that may be a draw for people who are heavy media consumers. Called Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, the service allows Kindle owners to borrow books for free if they have an Amazon Prime membership ($79 per year). Kindle and Kindle Fire users are allowed to borrow one book per month, with no due dates, and they can have only one book out at a time.


The move has some publishers worried that they may not get paid for every time a book is lent. The way books are effectively rented instead of purchased is also an example of a move away from owning content toward paying for access to it. While it may be less expensive for people who read a lot of books, there is still the fact that, in the end, they would not own any of the books.

But the Kindle Fire isn’t the only new tablet Apple should be worried about. Barnes & Noble, www.barnesandnoble.com, is expected to announce a new tablet version of its NOOK device. While the reported price point of $249 will be higher than the Kindle Fire, additional storage space and memory, along with other enhancements, are supposed to justify the higher price.

Overall, consumers seem to love tablets. A recent study by analyst firm DigitalMR, www.digital-mr.com, found three quarters of customers have positive views of the devices. In a brand breakdown, Apple is the winner with a 38% share of all the positive comments. The next-closest was HTC with 17% of the positive mentions.

It will be interesting to see the actual specs on the NOOK tablet, and how these new tablets that have evolved from ereaders will impact the market. It will certainly be another holiday season full of tablet talk.





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