The Tale of the Tape
The Nook Tablet and Kindle Fire are in many ways similar. They are both tablet devices with a 7-inch (17.8-centimeter) touch-screen display. Both devices run a customized version of Google's Android operating system. Both can run Android apps and both have curated versions of Google's app store. If you want to access the full suite of apps available to Android devices, you're out of luck -- neither the Kindle Fire nor the Nook Tablet can access the full Android store.
The Kindle Fire and the Nook Tablet each have a dual-core, 1-gigahertz processor. Screen resolution for both devices is 1,024 by 600 pixels. They each have a 3.5-millimeter (0.14-inch) headphone jack. Both can connect to WiFi and both lack a cellular antenna. Neither device has Bluetooth support, a GPS receiver or camera.
So far, the two devices seem almost interchangeable. But there are some notable differences. The Kindle Fire has 512 megabytes of RAM, while the Nook Tablet boasts a full gigabyte of RAM. The Kindle Fire has 8 gigabytes of flash memory. The Nook Tablet comes in two models -- one has 8 gigabytes of space like the Kindle Fire, but the other has 16 gigabytes of space. Both models have an SD-card slot that accepts cards with up to 32 additional gigabytes of storage space. However, the Nook Tablet restricts some of this space for content purchased from the official Nook store [source: Barnes & Noble].
Another difference is the presence -- or lack thereof -- of physical buttons. The Kindle Fire has only a power button. The Nook Tablet has not only a power button but also buttons for volume control. To control the Kindle Fire's volume, you have to use an on-screen control. The Nook is also a little longer and a touch thicker than the Kindle Fire. And if you want to record your own book narration, you'll need a Nook Tablet -- it has a microphone, while the Kindle Fire doesn't.
From a hardware perspective, the Nook has the edge over the Kindle Fire. You can buy a Nook with more storage space and memory than what's available from Amazon's tablet. But hardware isn't the whole story. Something else that differentiates the two tablets may be even more important: content.