The Nook HD Launches November 8 (Photo : Barnes & Noble)
Good news tablet buyers. With the competition heating up, tablet makers are making things more affordable for the consumer in hopes of trying to capture some of the budget market before Apple swoops in with the iPad Mini. Just in time for back-to-school shoppers to pick one up, Barnes & Noble joined the fray and cut prices on its NOOK tablets across the board.
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The 16GB model had $50 slashed off its price to make it $199. The 8GB model got a $20 price cut to make it $179, and the NOOK Color is an affordable $149.
The Barnes & Noble NOOK tablet is an attractive 7-inch tablet buy at such low prices. It has access to over 2.5 million books, in what Barnes & Noble calls the "The world's largest bookstore," including popular magazines and newspapers. The NOOK tablet can also access and download thousands of apps, including popular games like Angry Birds and Words with Friends.
The NOOK price drop is an indicator of how things are shaping up in the tablet market. Apple's iPad reigns supreme, but with the new iPad starting at $499, the price tag on the iPad might be a little too steep for a lot of people. Instead, tablets such as the NOOK, Amazon Kindle Fire, and the recently released and popular Google Nexus 7 aim for the budget consumer. They all start at around $200, and offer a robust experience in themselves, without Apple's iOS or app store. The Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire both run Android operating systems, meaning they have access to the extensive Google app store. The NOOK won't offer the Android experience, but you can still catch Netflix movies or Pandora music on it.
Apple is expected to reveal an iPad Mini that will size up with the Nexus 7, Kindle Fire, and NOOK with a 7-inch screen and smaller price tag on September 12. After that, it's a sure bet that most people's wish lists will include an Apple tablet, and companies such as Google, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble will have a tougher time convincing buyers that their tablets are worthy of their attention. Apple has a fanatic brand following, and a strong reputation - things that other tablet makers are still establishing for themselves. Come this fall, when the iPad Mini makes its debut, the competition between tablet manufacturers will only heat up, and hopefully, give us quality, reliable products as a result.