Kindle Tablet vs Nook Color 2 (comparison + predictions)

It seems that in addition to the Kindle vs Nook contest we will have a Kindle Tablet vs Nook Color 2 contest in 2011 Holiday Season.

At this point we only have nebulous details and it’s still fascinating to contrast what we know about each tablet and do a Kindle Tablet vs Nook Color 2 comparison.

Kindle Tablet vs Nook Color 2 – Price and Value for Money

B&N surprised everyone by releasing a really good Nook Color Reading Tablet for $249. We’re talking about a 7″ Tablet with an IPS screen with a density of 169 pixels per inch, 512 MB RAM, 8 GB memory, and a solid 800 Mhz processor.

It’s incredible value for money. Nook Color 2 is very likely to continue the trend. Expect a few improvements technically and a $249 price.

The rumors about the Kindle Tablet suggest that it will be $250 and will come with free Amazon Prime Membership. It’s quite likely that the free Prime membership will make the Kindle Tablet better value for money. Add on the fact that Amazon can sell Kindle Tablet owners lots of things (not just books) and we see why Amazon will have no problems beating Nook Color 2 in value for money.

Kindle Tablet gets the edge in value for money.

Please Note: Nearly all Kindle Tablet conjecture is based on this uncharacteristically good and balanced post at TechCrunch.

Kindle Tablet vs Nook Color 2 – First Generation vs Second Generation 

It’s worth noting that Nook Color 2 will have a year’s worth of experience and customer feedback. B&N has had a year to see how a Reading Tablet does, what customer pain points are, and how to deal with them.

Kindle Tablet is a first generation device. While Amazon can leverage the lessons it learnt from selling the Kindle, there is still a lot it hasn’t tried before.

B&N gets the clear edge here.

Predicted Sales for Kindle Tablet and Nook Color 2

An analyst has predicted Amazon might ship 5 to 10 million Kindle Tablets in 2011 Holiday Season. The 5 million figure would be wildly optimistic but is also quite possible.

Wildly optimistic because there might not be a Kindle Tablet market.

Quite possible because Amazon might eat up large portions of – The Nook Color Market, The Android Tablet Market, The iPad Market.

DigiTimes expects 2 to 3 million Nook Colors to be shipped in 2011.

My predictions:

  1. 4 to 7 million Kindle Tablets. Sold out 3 weeks before Christmas.
  2. 3 million Nook Color 2s. Sold out by mid-November 2011.

Both companies are underestimating the demand for a cheap, high quality tablet. B&N’s main problem will be creating awareness for the Nook Color 2 and it will be helped greatly by all the ‘Kindle Tablet is a Nook Color Killer’ articles.

Amazon will win and B&N will be very happy (and it might end up with more total Nook Colors than there are Kindle Tablets).

Which Reading Tablet will be better for reading?

This is a very tough question.

Firstly, Nook Color is a very impressive reading device. The pros – great size, readable screen, readable at night, focus on reading, color, touchscreen, powerful processor. The cons – weight is a bit of a pain, no eInk so not as easy on the eyes, bright sunlight kills reading like it would a vampire, battery life is nothing like eReaders.

Overall, the pros outweigh the cons and Nook Color is an effective Reading Tablet.

The big concern with Kindle Tablet is that Amazon sells movies and music and TV shows and will probably make a device optimized for consuming those as well as books.

B&N has the edge unless Amazon ends up releasing a pure Reading Tablet.

Please Note: If you fall into the 10% of the population that are not distracted ever from what you intended to do, then this point doesn’t apply to you.

Nook Color App Store vs Kindle Tablet App Store

Nook Color has a fledgling app store with 550 or so Apps. There are some big ones like Angry Birds and Ms. PacMan but it’s still a small and growing store.

Amazon’s Android App Store has tens of thousands of Apps and lots of big names and a ‘Free App of the Day’ feature guaranteed to get you more zero-price sales than you would think possible.

Amazon has a very clear edge here. B&N has 3 months to beef up its store but is unlikely to ever catch up in terms of numbers.

The Lack of Openness and Care Bear Worthiness of Both Devices

Unlike companies that are OPEN and GOOD and steal your information while you’re not looking, B&N and Amazon are EVIL and make you pay for stuff before getting it. Part of this means that they take Android (an OS meant to be pure and unsullied by anything other than advertising and data collection) and dirty it with their custom OS layers and the concept of paying for apps and content.

For Nook Color 2 it’s easy to root and run Android and get everything for free.

For Kindle Tablet it’ll be close to impossible.

B&N gets the edge here as hackers and people who were Born to Demand Free will embrace its hackable qualities.

User Interface and Screen and Touch

Coupling these together because they go well together.

Nook Color 2 has a surprisingly well done user interface. The screen is splendid. Touch has some problems (touch at the edge isn’t great and sometimes touch and typing aren’t smooth).

Amazon is making its own entire user interface over Android (a good decision considering how unappealing Android can be visually). It promises to be sharp and snappy and very Kindly in its colors and feel.

This is an unknown until the two devices are out. It’s Amazon’s experience with user interfaces on the web competing with B&N’s already good interface and its year of Tablet experience.

Specifications – Which Reading Tablet will be more loaded?

B&N did a stunning job with Nook Color. There really are no words to do justice to a Reading Tablet for $250 that includes as many goodies as the Nook Color has.

Amazon may or may not match that spec-sheet with the Amazon Kindle Tablet. If it doesn’t – it’ll be rather unfortunate. If it does – movies and games will be really impressive on the Kindle Tablet.

B&N holds the edge here unless Amazon shows it can match the Nook Color’s impressive specs.

Which Reading Tablet will be more Fun?

Tough question.

Don’t really have an answer. After seeing both, and playing with both, will add an update.

Which Reading Tablet will be better for Kids and Families with Kids?

B&N has put HUGE emphasis on making things good for Kids. Perhaps its retail experience has taught it that kids determine book sales quite often. Perhaps everyone at B&N has kids and wants a device they can use. Whatever the reason, B&N’s Nook Color is very good for kids.

This is also reflected in things like NOOKKids (a software app for kids) and via a focus on books and apps for kids (for the Nook Color).

Amazon hasn’t really shown any desire to focus on kids. It might or it might not focus on kids with the Amazon Kindle Tablet. Prime and Sharing will be good for families but don’t think there will be much of an emphasis on kids.

B&N will probably have the edge.

Kindle Tablet vs Nook Color 2 – Customer Support

Amazon is pretty darn good at customer support.

B&N’s big selling point will be in-store help and the ability to actually play with a device in store before buying it.

However, overall, Amazon’s ruthless focus on customer service will probably win out.

Thoughts

It’s very strange that Amazon would target Nook Color 2 instead of targeting iPad 2. It’s smart because it’s obviously a more reasonable target. However, it’s unlike Amazon to go for a smaller target.

Kindle Tablet vs Nook Color 2 is definitely going to change things. It’s going to make Reading Tablets a bigger force. It’s going to put downward pressure on Tablet prices. It’s going to accelerate the rise of ebooks. It might just sell 8 million non-iPad Tablets in 2011 and show there’s a HUGE market for Tablets of all sorts – especially reasonably priced ones. Kindle Tablet vs Nook Color 2 is going to give rise to two winners and might just cement Kindle Tablet and Nook Color 2 as the 2nd and 3rd most popular Tablets (a scenario that absolutely no one would have dreamt of a few years ago).

5 Responses

  1. I’m troubled about Amazon calling a tablet that is, in all likelihood, not optimized for reading a “Kindle” tablet. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll probably order one the day it’s announced but I hope that this doesn’t augur a lack of commitment on Amazon’s part towards readers. I’m more interested in the Kindle 4, or whatever they call it, with e-ink that competes against the Nook 2 starlight no chaser.

  2. “Firstly, Nook Color is a very impressive reading device. The pros – great size, readable screen, readable at night, focus on reading, color, touchscreen, powerful processor. The cons – weight is a bit of a pain, no eInk so not as easy on the eyes, bright sunlight kills reading like it would a vampire, battery life is nothing like eReaders.
    Overall, the pros outweigh the cons and Nook Color is an effective Reading Tablet.”

    I disagree with your evaluation. The cons there are much bigger than the pros because they are directly affecting reading experience. Weight, not easy on eyes, and battery life are three very important things that affect people when they are reading. The only pros that I agree are powerful processor (so turning pages will not be pain in the neck) and perhaps the color itself (for some materials). Other elements, IMO, are secondary.

    At least, that’s the reason I haven’t bought Nook color. Once they make it lighter, easier on eyes and longer battery life, I’d march to the Nook counter right away. (I often visit local B&N already, so all I have to do is to go to their counter :-)

  3. I just see Amazon maintaining big advantage in reading because it sells other things while still keeping books central (unlike Nook where it’s MOST of the merchandise line and unlike iPad which actively tries to make reading more difficult).

  4. Any thoughts on the B&N college text book advantage. My son’s college book store is run by B&N and he is looking for an e-reader. Seems to me the Nook Color has inherit advantages here also. Kindle can’t do that, correct?

    • My understanding is that both stores have a similar and rather limited range of textbooks available. I think Blio or some other company recently announced a big textbook initiative. B&N’s college bookstores are a big retailing advantage. Not sure if there’s much (or any) difference between the textbooks available on both platforms.

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