Has the Kindle Fire Met Its Match?

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Even though Amazon.com's (NAS: AMZN) Kindle Fire hasn't even made its way into the hands of eager buyers, Barnes & Noble (NYS: BKS) is set to unveil the follow-up to its Nook Color.

The Google (NAS: GOOG) Android device will simply be dubbed the "Nook Tablet" and is expected to be unveiled on Monday, so mark your calendars accordingly. By Nov. 16, the tablet will arrive for customers.

According to some leaked documents obtained by Engadget, the device looks almost identical to the current Nook Color offering, but the similarities end there as Barnes & Noble has kicked up the specifications significantly.

It will keep the 7-inch display, but will incorporate in-plane switching, or IPS, display technology, which is what Apple (NAS: AAPL) uses on almost all of its screens including the iPad and is also used in the Kindle Fire. It will reportedly include 16 GB of onboard storage and use a dual-core ARM Holdings (NAS: ARMH) -based OMAP 4 processor from Texas Instruments (NYS: TXN) clocked at 1.2 GHz with a solid 1 GB of RAM.

The current Nook Color goes for $249 right now, but that price tag will drop to $199 with the new Nook Tablet occupying the $249 price point. This means it will cost a c ool $50 more than the Kindle Fire.

What does that extra $50 get you? The leaked documents also include a handy comparison chart titled "Why NOOK Tablet is Better Than Kindle Fire." It notes items like double the RAM, double the storage (which is also expandable), and it's roughly half an ounce lighter. The book chain will offer free in-store support, and points out that its browser lacks the privacy concerns that Silk has brought up.

In other news, the company is also upgrading the Nook Simple Touch reader to take on the Kindle Touch at the same $99 price point, except the Nook Simple Touch price comes without "annoying ads."

I have to give Barnes & Noble credit: The company is gearing up its digital strategy admirably. The Nook Tablet is a solid defensive play against the Kindle Fire, and it has an advantage that Amazon can't offer: in-store support, since Amazon doesn't have stores and all. Most users are unlikely to take notice of some of the beefier specs; they're much more likely to see the beefier price tag.

While it's the right move to make, I still think the Kindle Fire will burn them all.

Add Barnes & Noble and Amazon to your watchlist to see who wins this battle.

At the time this article was published Fool contributorEvan Niuowns shares of Amazon.com, Apple, and ARM Holdings, but he holds no other position in any company mentioned.Click hereto see his holdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Texas Instruments, and Google.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Google, Amazon.com, and Apple.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended creating a bull call spread position in Apple. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy.

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