New Nook Tablets to Face Big Competition

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -The two new Barnes & Noble ( BKS) tablets announced earlier this week look great. Barnes & Noble says they're better in every way and measure up very well to the competition - especially from Amazon ( AMZN) and Apple ( AAPL).

According to the published specifications, that appears to be true. But just as Barnes & Noble's improving its wares, the competition's hard at work too.

Making comparisons between Barnes & Noble's new Nooks and Amazon's popular devices is easy. But Barnes & Noble did not mention the other major $199 Android tablet on the market - Google's ( GOOG) Nexus 7 (manufactured for them by Asus). An excellent, feature-rich, multi-use tablet, the Nexus 7 is already selling well and continues to be introduced in numerous markets around the world (such as its debut in Japan this week).

And, within the next month, the market will be flooded with even more choices. With Microsoft's ( MSFT) major release of Windows 8 will come a virtual deluge of new tablet devices. Tablets which will run on the Windows 8 OS for Intel ( INTC) processors are expected to be loaded with premium features at premium prices.

But there will also be tablets which run on Microsoft's other new operating system. It's called Windows RT and was developed for use with ARM ( ARMH)-based processors - similar to what you find in modern-day smartphones. These new RT devices will be offered by many manufacturers - in many different sizes and configurations - and many different price ranges.

Adding to all this is the rumored move by the dominant industry leader. There have been recent hints that Apple might be working on an iPad with a smaller screen. Somewhere between 7 inches (Kindle Fire, Nook Tablet, Nexus 7 and others) and the current 8.9-inch iPad model. And this new iPad would be sold at a lower price point. That could put a dampener on all of Microsoft's new devices, as well as all the Nooks and Kindles.

Consumer tablet choices, this holiday season, will be mind-boggling.

--Written by Gary Krakow in New York.

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Gary Krakow is TheStreet's senior technology correspondent.