MediaFile

Tech wrap: Can Nook tablet take on Kindle Fire?

November 7, 2011

Let the low-end tablet wars begin. Barnes & Noble unveiled a Nook-branded tablet on Monday, the company’s answer to Amazon.com’s recently announced Kindle Fire. At $249, the 7-inch Nook tablet is a bit pricier than the $199 Fire, but Barnes & Noble is betting that consumers will pay the extra $50 for the device because it offers faster processing speeds and 16 gigabytes of storage space compared to the Amazon tablet’s 8 gigabytes. Both devices hit shelves next week. Barnes & Noble, which operates a chain of 700 U.S. bookstores, also lowered the price on its Nook e-book devices in an effort to take on Amazon’s line of Kindle e-readers, which were recently reduced in price.

Early reaction to the device was varied. One analyst characterized it to Reuters as a “wow” product, while another said it will keep “Barnes & Noble shoppers loyal.” All Things D’s Peter Kafka called Barnes & Noble’s product pitch “a bit muddled” when it came to explaining how people will access content on the device: “Unlike Amazon and its Kindle Fire, Barnes & Noble isn’t marketing its tablet with a proprietary cloud service that will get you access to music, movies and TV shows. Instead, the bookseller is leaving that up to other cloud-based services, like Netflix and Pandora. But make no mistake — these are cloud-based services,” he writes. Why then was the company so eager to play up the Nook Tablet’s extra storage capacity if it expects you’ll be streaming most content, not storing it, wonders Kafka.  Engadget takes the new tablet through its paces in a hands-on video.

Google+ expanded its circles to make room for businesses who are looking to reach out to customers on the social network. Called Google+ Pages, the new service will allow corporate brands and businesses to set up a special page within the social network . Google said that 20 businesses, including Toyota, Pepsi and retailer Macy’s, have set up special pages so far, and that any organization will soon be able to join as well. Until now, only individual users have been able to sign up for Google+. Businesses are increasingly using online social services, such as Facebook, to reach new customers and to cement relationships with loyal customers through special offers and promotions.

A German court granted a preliminary injunction against Apple in a patent infringement case that banned the California company from selling some devices in Germany. But the ruling should not impact Apple’s sales in Germany as the company sells all its product there through a local subsidiary, which was not covered by the injunction, reports Reuters correspondent Poornima Gupta. The district court in Mannheim, Germany, said on Friday Apple may not sell certain mobile devices in Germany that infringe on two Motorola Mobility patents related to wireless technology. If Apple does sell the devices, it has to pay a fine of up to 250,000 euros, according to the court.

HTC  said on Monday it will put equal investment weight on emerging markets next year as it does in developed ones like the U.S. and Europe, and will dip its toes back into the tablet market with a new model next year, reports Reuters correspondent Clare Jim from Taipei. HTC CEO Peter Chou told a media briefing HTC would not give up its “premium brand” image by expanding in emerging markets through cheap phones. Regarding tablets, Chou said: “Tablet is a market we would like to try and test, to see whether we can make ourselves stand out and prevent a me-too product.”

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