Bookseller Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS) is stepping up its game as we head closer to the highly-anticipated holiday season — and its accompanying tablet wars.
To start, the company has debuted two new versions of its Nook tablet — a 7-inch version and a 9-inch version, each with sleek new hardware and an HD screen.
The gadgets are cheaper alternatives to Apple‘s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad and iPad Mini, and will also compete with Amazon‘s (NASDAQ:AMZN) new Kindles, Microsoft‘s (NASDAQ:MSFT) highly-anticipated Surface, Google‘s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Nexus 7 and even kid-oriented tablets, including Toys “R” Us’ Tabeo.
The company sure isn’t stopping there, though. Additionally, BKS has added a video service for its Nook. Now, users of the tablet can purchase and rent movies and television shows from names like Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) Sony (NYSE:SNE) and Warner Bros.(NYSE:TWX) and Starz. Plus, the “Nook Video” service will be also available on TVs, tablets and smartphones.
It also now offers other features, including the ability to make user profiles and to browse titles more easily on the tablet.
The moves come on the heels of lots of news in the tablet market. The Tabeo, for one, is facing a lawsuit from a rival tablet-maker, while Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) recently followed Target‘s (NYSE:TGT) lead and will no longer sell Kindles. They still offer the Nook and other tablets like the iPad.
All the announcements have just about set the stage for the seasonal shopping wars. And as these companies all compete for customers, there may also be some competition between customers. Inventories of the increasingly popular tablets may not keep up with the anticipated increase in seasonal demand, and many shoppers are concerned they may face empty shelves when they go to check off their Christmas lists.
The new Nooks, though, can be pre-ordered online and in stores immediately. And for the rest of the tablet-makers and tablet-shoppers: Let the games begin.
As of this writing, Alyssa Oursler did not own a position in any of the aforementioned securties