Amazon, B&N Fire Up New Tablets

Amazon and Barnes and Noble are fighting for the small-screen media tablet market with their latest ebook readers. Amazon’s Kindle Fire ($199) and the Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet ($249) both include 7-inch touch-based color displays, built-in ebook readers, and video and music playback. Both companies say they aren’t looking to compete with the iPad, and the lower-end specs and Android phone OS they both use supports that claim. The low price points, however, will attract price-conscious shoppers, and now designers have even more tablets to consider when designing ebooks and digital magazines.

Amazon also has a new $79 Kindle that may shake up the ebook reader market with its low price, improved performance and compact size. It includes the same 6-inch E-Ink screen from earlier Kindle models, but is 18 percent smaller overall thanks to the fact that it doesn’t include a built-in keyboard. It also supports Amazon’s ebook lending program for libraries, along with Wi-Fi syncing.