Both devices are based on Android, but Amazon’s Kindle Fire uses a custom interface developed and controlled by Amazon. Barnes & Noble’s Nook Tablet also uses a customized version of Android that restricts users from accessing Google’s Android Marketplace out of the box.
That means that both devices are inherently limited. The Kindle Fire is designed (and priced) to deliver Amazon content to its users and to promote the online retailing giant’s Amazon Prime service. The Nook Tablet is also designed as a delivery vehicle for Barnes & Noble content, and limits users to just 1GB of storage for their own content. That said, the device also has a microSD slot for expanded storage up to 32GB per card.
Barnes & Noble originally introduced the Nook Tablet as a 16GB device for $249 that was designed to replace its previous color tablet, the Nook Color. Amazon sparked a race for the low end by introducing the 8GB Kindle Fire in time for the Christmas at $199, which is what the new, even cheaper 8GB Nook Tablet is intended to match.
Another difference in the new model is that it features less RAM, 512MB, as opposed to the 1GB featured in its larger 16GB sibling. The two models otherwise look the same.
The new model is available now and currently shows as shipping within 24 hours.