Remember last year’s Amazon Fire tablet? It was an absolute steal at just $50 and still is today as the device has received a number of updates since, including a storage bump and new color options. Amazon was really the only company to actually hit the nail on the head when it came to affordability and functionality with this tablet, so it’s no surprise there haven’t been many direct competitors to the device that actually had a chance at providing a better alternative. However, if a press release by Barnes & Noble is of any indication, it looks like Amazon may have to step up their game sooner rather than later…
Today, B&N has introduced the NOOK Tablet 7, a 7-inch tablet running Android Marshmallow for $49.99. This device is designed to compete directly with the Amazon Fire and target those who are looking for a cheap tablet to read books on, check email, scroll through Facebook, or perform other light tasks.
Spec wise, there’s a 7-inch 1024×600 display, 8GB of internal storage that’s expandable via microSD card, dual-band WiFi support, Android Marshmallow with the Google Play Store installed (something the Amazon Fire unfortunately lacks), a 5MP rear camera and 2MP front camera, and a battery that supposedly lasts up to 7 hours. All in all, these are specs we’ve come to expect from super-budget tablets on the market today, so it’s no surprise to see this package loaded inside the NOOK Tablet 7.
Obviously, with every NOOK, you’re also getting all of B&N’s software and enhancements to make interaction with their library of books and magazines more accessible. However, the major book retailer’s approach to this level of customization is far different from what Amazon is doing with the Fire tablet. Amazon built their own operating system based on Android called Fire OS and customized it to their liking with a custom skin, launcher, and feature set. On the other hand, B&N loads a strictly customized version of Android Marshmallow with their apps, widgets, and services preinstalled. What it really comes down to, however, is if you’re in the B&N ecosystem or Amazon’s. Since Amazon covers much more ground than B&N in various fields besides just books and magazines, I’d imagine that most of you may choose Amazon’s offering over B&N’s. Nevertheless, if you’re just getting started and you’re looking to pick up a $50 tablet, I’m sure the NOOK Tablet 7 should suffice.