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Nook Tablet HD and HD+ launched to take on Kindle Fire HD and iPad

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Barnes & Noble has just launched a new 7-inch tablet called the Nook HD alongside the 9-inch Nook HD . This attractive duo join the company’s ebook reader range, and will directly rival the Kindle Fire HD and Apple iPad.

Despite its status as the biggest book retailer in the US, you might think of Barnes & Noble as a bit of an underdog in the world of ebook readers. It’s even more of one in the world of tablets.

While it has Amazon as a rival in the former case, it has Amazon, Google, Samsung and - oh yes - Apple to compete with in the latter.

Yet here we are looking at the launch of the Nook HD and Nook HD , and both devices have a surprising amount going for them.

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The 7-inch Nook HD has a stunning 1440x900 display and a super-light 315 gram weight to call upon - both class-leading stats. At just £159 for the 8GB entry model, it’s competitive with the Kindle Fire HD and the Google Nexus 7 on price, too.

The Nook HD’s big brother, the Nook HD , is a 9-inch tablet aimed at the iPad market. Sure enough, it has a 1920x1280 display, which produces a similar pixel density (though slightly lower) than Apple’s latest Retina-equipped effort.

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The big number here, though is the price - at £229 for the 16GB (there’s expandable memory in both) model it’s a good £170 cheaper than the equivalent iPad. It’s also 20 per cent lighter at just 515 grams.

When it comes to the OS, both Nooks run on a heavily modified version of Android Ice Cream Sandwich, complete with Nook’s own non-optional UI. There’s also the Nook app store that provides access to around 10,000 apps and games - some way shy of the opposition. Oh, and the Nook ecosystem is ad-free, unlike the Kindle Fire HD.

In terms of power we’re looking at a dual-core OMAP CPU running at 1.3GHz on the HD and 1.5GHz on the HD , backed by 1GB of RAM in both cases. That’s more than enough to hold their own against their rivals, while still allowing for a claimed 10 hours of reading or nine hours of video.

Ah yes, video. Alongside the new Nooks, Barnes & Noble has announced the Nook Video Store, which adds movie rentals to the company’s existing book, comic, newspaper and magazine offerings.

You’ll be able to pre-order the Nook HD and the Nook HD in October, with availability set for November from a number of UK retailers.

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