Sure we heard some early rumblings about a new tablet from Barnes & Noble, and no, we can't say we were particularly surprised by the revelation -- after all, no one expected the bookstore to sit idly by and let Amazon own the holiday shopping season with its freshly souped-up Kindle Fire line. But the company did manage to offer up a few surprises with today's announcement -- biggest of all (literally, in fact) was the launch of a 9-incher, the Nook HD+. And where the HD borrowed some style cues from B&N's Simple Touch line, its bigger brother is the aesthetic descendent of Nook tablets past, borrowing that long, skinny body and even offering up a winking reference to the carabiner that lent such a dramatic distinction to past products.
That said, we're not simply repeating the move from Nook Color to Nook Tablet here. The Nook HD+ is a far more significant upgrade, even as it pays a little tribute to its predecessors. Barnes & Noble's really gunning to make a splash in the budget tablet space this holiday season, and while the company's clearly betting on the smaller and cheaper HD to be the big seller, a company rep told us that he expects that HD+ to be a sleeper hit for the company. And certainly it's easy to see why the company's got some confidence this time around -- the device is sleek, fast, hi-res and affordable. But can it succeed in such a cutthroat market? Check out some impressions after the break and judge for yourself.
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