Bookseller Barnes & Noble (NYS: BKS) is expected to release a new tablet version of its Android-powered Nook Color e-reader in an effort to keep pace with rival Amazon.com's (NAS: AMZN) forthcoming Kindle Fire and Apple's (NAS: AAPL) market-leading iPad.
Barnes & Noble is slated to unveil the device during a Nov. 7 media event: Invitations read "Please join us for a very special announcement" under a shining green Nook "n" logo. Although Barnes & Noble has declined to comment on its plans, multiple reports indicate the company is planning a tablet Nook, although specifics of the product are unknown. Simba Information senior trade analyst Michael Norris tells The Associated Press that B&N could also trim the price of the Nook Color to $199 (in line with the Kindle Fire) or add new multimedia capabilities like video streaming.
The Los Angeles Times reports Barnes & Noble may additionally revamp its Nook Friends social network. Nook Friends enables users to see what their friends are reading, read book reviews, lend titles to one another, track their reading progress and offer recommendations.
In April, Barnes & Noble updated the Nook Color to run Android 2.2, adding support for Android apps and email and effectively positioning the seven-inch, $249 tablet as a cheaper alternative to the iPad. However, in late September Amazon.com unveiled the even cheaper Kindle Fire, essentially a single, portable point of access to digital media initiatives including the Kindle e-book catalog, Amazon Appstore for Android, Amazon Instant Video and Amazon MP3. The Android-based Kindle Fire also integrates with the Amazon Web Services platform and features Amazon Silk, a new cloud-based browser promising to accelerate the mobile web user experience by caching and compressing data and images.
As of the second quarter of 2011, the Kindle brand leads the worldwide e-reader market with a 51.7 percent share, followed by the Nook brand at 21.2 percent, according to IDC data issued in September.
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