Nook Tablet Gets New $200 Starting Price, Locks Horns with Kindle Fire

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Amazon : Barnes & Noble

Until now, the general sentiment has been that Barnes & Noble’s 7-inch Nook Tablet is a great option for a low-price Android tablet… if only it didn’t cost $50 more than Amazon’s 7-inch Kindle Fire tablet.

Barnes & Noble touted the Nook Tablet’s superior technical specifications – double the RAM, double the storage, longer battery life – as justification for its higher price tag, but there’s just something about that magical $199 price point when it comes to buying electronics.

(MORE: Amazon: “Kindle Fire is the most successful product we’ve ever launched.”)

Starting today, there’s a new version of the Nook Tablet available for $199, putting it directly in line with the Kindle Fire’s $199 price tag. However, this version of the Nook Tablet cuts some costs in order to arrive at $199.

Most notably, it halves the RAM to 512 megabytes and halves the storage to eight gigabytes. Those are the same specs found in the Kindle Fire; both tablets have a one-gigahertz dual-core processor as well.

While cutting the Nook Tablet’s storage from 16 to eight gigabytes is understandable and may not affect too many people, cutting the RAM from one gigabyte to 512 megabytes will almost certainly affect the otherwise snappy performance found in the $249 Nook Tablet (which is still available). We’ll see whether it’s noticeable to most average users.

If you’re still trying to decide between a Kindle Fire or a Nook Tablet, the short version is that the Kindle Fire is good for apps, music, TV and movies (especially those purchased through Amazon), while the Nook Tablet provides a better overall reading experience – especially for interactive children’s books and magazines. Check out a more thorough comparison here.

(MORE: Two-Minute Video: Nook Tablet or Kindle Fire?)