Barnes & Noble unveils $199 Nook Tablet

@CNNMoneyTech February 21, 2012: 11:24 AM ET
nook 199

Barnes & Noble launched the first Nook Tablet, a 16 GB version that sells for $249, in November. A new 8 GB model is only $199.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Barnes & Noble will sell a cheaper version of its Nook Tablet for $199, the same price as Amazon's Kindle Fire tablet.

The new $199 Nook Tablet comes with 8 GB of memory. Barnes & Noble unveiled the first Nook Tablet, a 16 GB version that sells for $249, in November.

Barnes & Noble also on Tuesday slashed the price of its Nook Color e-reader, a simpler device than its tablet, to $169.

The Nook Tablet is a lightweight tablet with a 7-inch screen that's optimized for media consumption: reading e-books, streaming movies and browsing the Web. Now it's priced to compete with Amazon's (AMZN, Fortune 500) Kindle Fire -- a similar 7-inch tablet-lite that also went on sale in November.

Barnes & Noble (BKS, Fortune 500) has made no secret of its attack on Amazon. At the Nook Tablet unveiling in November, Barnes & Noble CEO William Lynch said: "Kindle Fire is deficient for a media tablet. Content will render better on Nook than on Kindle Fire."

That competition has led to price wars -- which are common in the gadget world, but the e-reader battle has been particularly fierce. In June 2010, Barnes & Noble cut the price of its flagship Nook to $199 from $259. Mere hours later, Amazon slashed the Kindle price to $189.

Since then, it's been a race to the lowest possible price tag. Amazon's entry-level Kindle e-reader is now only $79 for an ad-supported version.

But the future of the Nook as a Barnes & Noble product is in doubt. Last month, the company announced that it is considering spinning off the Nook business.

In that same announcement, Barnes & Noble slashed its fiscal 2012 guidance. The company blamed its larger-than-expected losses partly on disappointing sales of the Nook Simple Touch, the company's $99 black-and-white e-reader. Sales of the Nook Tablet topped expectations, B&N said.

Barnes & Noble plans to increase its investments in its Nook line, ramping up advertising and international expansion. To top of page

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.