Barnes & Noble Faces off with Amazon in the Tablet World

Everyone wants a tablet these days. It could be used for a variety of reasons. Perhaps you want a big screen to tote around so you can browse the web and watch videos comfortably. Perhaps it’s so you can play games whenever you want—the App store boasts thousands of games to occupy your time. You could take photos with it, and edit the pictures right on the device with various editing apps. Then you can immediately browse the web and upload the results to your favorite social networking sites.

Another major reason to own one is for the business uses it may have. Perhaps you want to stay connected with your team and be able to work on the go through your RingCentral virtual office app. Maybe you just want something that can do all the same things as a laptop without being too heavy to carry.

Reading is King

But there is one major use for tablets that many people take for granted, and that involves its ability to store reading material and deploy reading applications. Whether you’re reading something online, a PDF document sent over from work, or an epub ebook, reading is ultimately much easier with a tablet. Why? A laptop is difficult to prop up on your lap (ironically). Perhaps you’d like to lie down and relax in bed as you read – a laptop isn’t exactly going to help you with that unless you can figure out a position that’s really comfortable for you. Reading on an iPod or a small smartphone screen is easier; however it’s not only tiring, but frustrating as well. A tablet is the happy compromise: it is easy to read with, and it’s not as cumbersome as the laptop.

The Battle between Giants

This is most likely the reason why Amazon and Barnes & Noble, two of the biggest names in shopping for published material, have both decided to release e-readers which, after the boom of the tablets, became better known as “budget” tablets. Compared to major tablets like the Galaxy Note and the iPad, it is smaller and cheaper. These tablets are very flexible due to the apps that that they could run, but their primary benefit is that they make reading very convenient. With both companies being major names in both books and e-book industries, it was only natural that the two brands are facing off in the budget tablet battle.

The Timeline:

November 2012 – B&N drops prices on the older versions of their Nook Tablets. The price of the 2010 Nook Color dropped to as low as 135USD.

Weeks leading up to and on the day of Cyber Monday 2012 – Amazon went on sale as well, with the early version of the Kindle Fire taking 30USD off of its price; but it maintains its upgrades with its faster processor.

December 4 – Amazon invites consumers with children to play by revealing Kindle FreeTime Unlimited, which provides content for children between the ages of 3 to 8 years old. This gives them access to apps, videos, books, and games that are geared towards children.

December 8 – Nook HD+ gets bundled with a free pair of Nook OE250 headphones as an attempt to lure music-or-video loving consumers. Simultaneously, Nook’s price takes a 20USD price cut (Nook Simple Touch). This parallels price cuts for Nook with Glowlight after Amazon unveiled the Paperwhite Kindle.

The companies continue to try and improve their services and their tablets, vying for the attention of book-loving consumers. This may usher in a new era for digital books and media.

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