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Summary:

When Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS) announced the new Nook Tablet on Monday, it appeared to have an app-vantage over the Kindle Fire: Hulu Plus.…

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When Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS) announced the new Nook Tablet on Monday, it appeared to have an app-vantage over the Kindle Fire: Hulu Plus. Now Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) has announced that the Kindle Fire, too, will have Hulu Plus, and the ESPN (NYSE: DIS) ScoreCenter app, along with a host of other apps announced earlier this week.

Amazon announced on Wednesday that the Kindle Fire will have Netflix (NSDQ: NFLX), Rhapsody, Pandora (NYSE: P), Twitter, Facebook and Weather Channel apps, as well as games from Zynga, Electronic Arts (NSDQ: ERTS), Gameloft (EPA: GFT), PopCap and Rovio. Amazon has not responded to my questions about how its Facebook and Twitter apps will work. As our reader Pat points out, Facebook apps normally include GPS, which neither the Kindle Fire nor the Nook Tablet supports.

For the Nook Tablet, Barnes & Noble has announced Netflix (pre-loaded on the device), Hulu Plus, Pandora, Rhapsody, Grooveshark, MOG and games from Rovio and Electronic Arts, among others. Barnes & Noble did not answer my question this week about whether it will include standalone Twitter and Facebook apps.

The Kindle Fire’s app additions mean the Nook Tablet/Kindle Fire app lineups are now looking similar, with the streaming video advantage for Amazon because it also offers Prime Instant Video access from the Kindle Fire. That service is available to Amazon Prime members, who pay $79 per year for free two-day shipping; the Kindle Fire comes with a free one-month trial of Amazon Prime. (Hulu Plus and Netflix also require memberships to watch their content, of course: Hulu Plus is $7.99 per month, and Netflix memberships vary. Check out the differences between the services here.)

Neither Barnes & Noble nor Amazon offers access to the Android Market; rather, each has its own app store. We can expect these app one-upping announcements to continue for awhile, but the fact remains that the Kindle Fire costs $50 less than the $249 Nook Tablet.

  1. “…..but the fact remains that the Kindle Fire costs $50 less than the $249 Nook Tablet.” For that $50 you also get twice the amount of RAM and up to 32GB of expandable memory via a micro SD card. That increased RAM may have a huge effect on video and games. Also, neither allows limited access to the Android Market. Instead they have Android apps in their own markets. Currently the Facebook app requires GPS which neither device has so if it is offered it will have to be customized for the device.

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    1. Laura Hazard Owen Friday, November 11, 2011

      Thanks Pat, updated post re: Android Market. Amazon hasn’t responded to my questions about how its Facebook and Twitter apps will work, and I updated the post to say so.

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    2. Couple of things. The Facebook app can still get your location from WiFi triangulation (how it works on other wifi only tablets). The so called Facebook app in Amazon app store is really just a wrapper for the mobile version of the website which works just fine. In fact if it uses touch.facebook.com, you’ll notice it works and looks a lot like the iOS app.

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  2. “Innovator” Amazon at it’s best again – copying others under pressure. Kindle Fire is one underpowered piece of scraps of old RIM PlayBook hardware. How about double the space for content or quadruple if you count microSD slot on Nook Tablet than on Fire? How about 30% better battery life of Nook? How about double the RAM of Nook Tablet? And about Nook’s fully laminated non-glare screen? And don’t start with that Cloud baloney, it won’t be available while traveling  or where Wi-Fi is not available. You have Wi-Fi at you house you say? Then you’ll watch the movies on your TV from Netflix. Portable tablets are all about doing things on the go. Cloud is way overrated – good for an occasional backup but not for content usage on Wi-Fi-only tablet on the go.

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