The Staples Black Friday 2011 sale begins at 6:00 am the day after Thanksgiving, and they've got a few items that have our attention. We've got the highlights of the sale for you after the break, which include a $199 BlackBerry PlayBook, Beats by Dr. Dre Solo headphones with a $20 gift card at purchase, buy 1 get 1 free paper, and more.
The Amazon Kindle Fire is the first small tablet that average users can pick up and immediately use, with a simple, clear interface. Then there's the price: Android along with amazing specs for just $199. It's open enough to attract geeks, too. While the user interface occasionally gets sluggish, we're willing to have a bit of patience to get a first-rate tablet for half of what most competitors charge, thus the Kindle Fire is our first Editors' Choice for small tablets.
A solid little brick at 7.5 by 4.7 by .45 inches and 14.6 ounces, the Kindle Fire looks and feels a lot like the BlackBerry PlayBook, but the Fire is smaller in all dimensions. There are no slots or tabs; both the memory and battery are sealed in, and the only interruptions in its smooth, black form are the headphone jack, Power button, MicroUSB jack, and dual stereo speakers. There's no camera, but I've never been sold on the value of tablet cameras anyway. It uses 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi networks to get online; there's no cellular radio or Bluetooth connectivity.
Turn the Fire on and the 7-inch 1024-by-600 IPS LCD screen lights up. This display is very sharp and clear, but it's also rather reflective. Just like on the Apple iPad 2, you may have trouble reading in bright light because of the screen's sometimes mirror-like gloss. While this is par for the course with tablets, I expected more given the Kindle name. This isn't a dedicated e-reader by any means.
If you pre-ordered a Nook Tablet, you can get your hands on it a bit early. Though Barnes & Noble said the device would arrive on doorsteps and in stores on or around Nov. 17, the company confirmed that it will actually be available as of yesterday.
The device was delivered and available for in-store pickup yesterday. Those who didn't pre-order can start buying the tablet in stores today.
The Nook Tablet includes a 7-inch touch screen with 1024-by-600 display and runs a TI OMAP 4 dual-core processor. The $249 Nook Tablet boasts 16GB of internal storage, expandable up to 32GB via a microSD card and includes access to Barnes & Noble in-store support.
Rival Amazon also shipped its Kindle Fire tablet a day early for shoppers who pre-ordered the device; it was originally scheduled to ship on Nov. 15. During an earnings call last month, Amazon said pre-orders for the Fire exceeded expectations, prompting the company to ramp up production on the tablets. Dave Limp, vice president of Amazon Kindle, also said this week that the $199 Kindle Fire is already the best-selling item across all of Amazon.com.
RadioShack's Black Friday 2011 sale looks enticing, and we rarely say that kind of stuff about The Shack. Doors open at 5:30 am the day after Thanksgiving, but you can get the Black Friday prices a day early by shopping on radioshack.com. We've got the highlights of the sale for you after the break, which include a $300 15-inch Toshiba laptop, a $99 7-inch Velocity Micro Cruz tablet, 20% off Beats by Dr. Dre Solo headphones, and more.
Details of Best Buy's Black Friday 2011 sales have just been released, and we've got a list of all the highlights you can expect to see after the break. Doors will open right at midnight on October 25th, and tickets for the doorbusters will be handed out as early as 10:00 pm on Thanksgiving Day. Click through for a look at the goods.
In addition to announcing the Nook Tablet this morning, Barnes and Noble also announced that the Nook Simple Touch Reader would be seeing an immediate price cut, taking the cost of entry to $99 (down from the previous $139,) putting it right in line with the Kindle Touch that's set to launch later this month. That's not all, though. The Simple Touch Reader will also be getting a software update that'll result in doubled battery life, along with page turn speed doubling as well. All previous purchasers of the Simple Touch Reader will also get the update, as it's software based, not hardware. You can buy the Simple Touch Reader now.
Read More | Nook Simple Touch Reader
This morning Barnes and Noble unleashed their answer to the Kindle Fire, and it's the Nook Tablet. The Nook Tablet focuses on multimedia consumption, and keeps true to its e-reader roots with a great book and magazine reading experience. It's got a 7-inch display with Wi-Fi built-in and 16 GB of storage as well. It's thinner and lighter than the Nook Color, with a much faster 1 GHz dual-core processor as well.
The Nook Tablet also has 1 GB of RAM, and weighs in at under a pound. B&N says you should expect 11.5 hours of battery life from the device, which runs a customized version of Android 2.3. That customization, by the way, means that this isn't the type of Android tablet that you can just take and do your will with. It's geared towards things like reading books/magazines/periodicals, email, Internet browsing, video streaming, etc. In fact, a partnership with Netflix means you'll have deep integration of the platform on this tablet, with suggestions showing up on your home screen. Expect games, music services like Pandora, and other entertainment options (like Hulu) as well.
The Nook Tablet ships on November 18th, and can be pre-ordered now.
Looks like Barnes and Noble is set to release some new Nook hardware on the heels of all the new Amazon Kindle goodness that's been all the rage in the e-reader world lately. It all goes down a week from today, and we expect to see a new Nook Color, but also wouldn't be surprised if the Simple Touch Reader got a facelift as well.
Is Barnes & Noble preparing to launch another tablet under the Nook name? Rumor has it the company will launch a new, pricier Nook Colors this year.
According to a tip obtained by the Digital Reader, B&N will launch a $349 tablet that could be named Acclaim. The Nook Simple Touch Reader will still be offered at $139 and the Nook Color will stay at $249. The tipster didn't offer any information on the specs of the device, but said the tablet would launch in the next quarter, likely in some time in October.
The Digital Reader also pointed to a tablet it saw on a slide from a Barnes & Noble company presentation with the codename Encore, but speculated that this is an updated version of the current 7-inch Nook Color.
Interested in a back-to-school e-reader, but you're not sure which one to buy? Barnes & Noble made a case for the Nook on Monday, with $100 in free books for the returning student.
B&N said that customers who purchase a new Nook from today until Sept. 11 will receive $100 in free books and study tools, specifically a free collection of 12 free classic books and 12 SparkNotes study aids.
The books will help any aspiring literature major, and include A Tale of Two Cities, Beowulf, Ivanhoe, Crime and Punishment and The Portrait of the Artist As A Young Man. The SparkNotes guides include To Kill a Mockingbird, The Great Gatsby, The Catcher in the Rye, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, B&N said.