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September 27, 2012

Barnes & Noble Launches New HD Nook Tablets

Barnes & Noble Inc is joining the mobile melee.

The company launched its new line of high-definition Nook tablets Sept. 26 — an attempt to steal a large slice of the ever-expanding tablet market from its chief competitors: Amazon and Apple.

The Nook tablets, which come in seven- and nine-inch models, are available for pre-order and will ship in October. The tablets will hit stores in the U.S. Nov. 1.

The company describes the devices as “the best tablet for families” because each user can create a home page and customize preferences. It also features parental controls.

Barnes & Noble officials have also said the “thin and super portable” Nooks are the lightest tablets in their class — lighter than the more expensive iPad.

The seven-inch tablet, which retails at $199, has eight gigabytes (GB) of memory and weighs 11.1 ounces. It is also available with 16 GB for $229.  The device supports 720p HD and has 1440 x 900 pixel resolution.

The nine-inch tablet, available with 16 or 32 GB at a price tag of $269 and $299 respectively, weighs 18.2 ounces. It supports 1080p Full HD and has 1920 x 1280 pixel resolution.

Both tablets boast 10 hours of reading and nine hours of videos on a single charge as well as a fully laminated screen that provides extra-wide viewing angles and no air gaps to reduce glare. Both models come with a free power adapter.

The new Nooks are the largest U.S. book retailer’s best chance to revitalize the company in an era when the sale of physical books is dwindling.

Forrester Research analyst Sarah Rotman Epps told Reuters the Nook tablets are competitive with comparable Amazon products in both features and pricing.

“A key growth area is to get their existing customer base onto the digital platform,” Rotman Epps was quoted by Reuters.

Barnes & Noble is also launching a video-streaming and download service for Nook in a bid to become more competitive with Amazon and Apple, which offer more content on their tablets.