US-based online and high-street bookshop Barnes & Noble has launched two new tablets in the USA and the UK. The 7-inch NOOK HD (from £159 for the 8GB version) and 9-inch NOOK HD+ (from £229 for 16GB) will support more than 2.5 million eBooks, electronic magazines and apps. In addition, B&N says TV shows and movies will also be available in the next few weeks.
Pre-orders will begin next month, with availability expected towards the end of November. Blackwell’s, Currys, PC World, Foyles, John Lewis, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose have all been confirmed as UK retailers. The devices will also be available online at www.nook.co.uk.
Barnes & Noble is setting its tablets apart from Amazon’s Kindle Fire range by emphasising the lack of on-screen advertising, the high screen resolution, expandable memory and the availability of family-friendly ‘profiles’ that make it easy to share a tablet without sharing personal content.
The Nook HD is said to include the highest-resolution display ever on a 7-inch tablet (1440 x 900 pixels), providing 243 pixels per inch and 720p HD video playback. It runs a dual-core 1.3GHz processor. An even higher-res display is on the Nook HD+, which offers 1920 x 1280 pixels and runs a 1.5GHz dual-core processor.
William J Lynch, Chief Executive Officer of Barnes & Noble, said “With the combination of the highest resolution screen, lightest weight and expansive access to content rendered in a digital quality never before seen, NOOK HD is the world’s best 7-inch media tablet. We designed our larger format tablet NOOK HD+, because we think there’s big demand from customers for a super-light, extremely high quality 9-inch tablet, at half the price of the iPad. Both our 7-inch NOOK HD and 9-inch NOOK HD+ deliver an exceptional customer experience and we enthusiastically encourage customers to go to nook.com and learn more about them.”
Both new tablets are WiFi-only and appear to run a custom version of Android. Last month the company said it would start selling its eBook readers in the UK from October.