Barnes and Noble launches NOOK Tablet 7-inch for less than $50

For a while, it seemed like tablets were going to become the most popular consumer devices, but then, they weren't. People tired of trying to retrofit them with keyboards to make them faux-laptops -- they just used actual laptops instead. Not to mention, with smartphones getting increasingly larger screens, tablets began to feel a bit redundant. With that said, tablets have their place for media consumption -- I still prefer my iPad to my iPhone for watching videos.

If you know someone that wants a tablet this holiday season, but you don't want to spend too much money to get one, Barnes and Noble has a new model that may interest you. Its newest NOOK features a 7-inch screen and has access to the Google Play Store for just $49. This is significantly cheaper than the 10.1-inch variant it launched last month. Best of all, the gift recipient will very likely think you spent more money than you actually did!

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"The new NOOK 7-inch tablet offers double the storage space as the previous model at 16GB (expandable up to 128GB), a front and rear facing camera, Bluetooth capability, a headphone jack, a speaker, and a microphone. The new NOOK is a full-featured tablet with a beautiful LCD display, connection to the Google Play Store, as well as a soft-touch finish and upgraded NOOK software for an improved reading and browsing experience," says Barnes and Noble.

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"The new tablet has a custom home screen with easy access to your current read and recent purchases and shortcuts for browsing the NOOK Bookstore and Library. The tablet also gives readers access to Barnes & Noble's Browsery, where book lovers can talk about their favorite books and get recommendations for new ones from a community of fellow readers."

Barnes and Noble shares the following specifications. Unfortunately, processor and RAM details are unknown at this time (not a good sign).

7-inch IPS Display

  • 1024 x 600 Pixel Resolution
  • 171 ppi

Battery Life

  • Up to 7 hours of reading watching videos and web browsing

Storage

  • 16GB on-board memory
  • Add up to 128GB with an optional microSD card

Built-in Wi-Fi

  • Wireless connectivity via Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n)
  • Dual-Band (2.4GHz/5GHz)

Connectors

  • Micro-USB 2.0
  • 3.5 mm headset jack
  • microSD slot

Cameras

  • Front: VGA
  • Rear: 2 MP

Supported File Types

  • Audio: M4A, 3GA, AAC, MP3, FLAC, WAV, OGG, AAC
  • Video: MP4, 3GP, WMV, ASF, AVI, FLV, MKV, WEBM Gallery (pictures): JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP
  • Reader/Other: PDF, ePUB, DRP, ePIB, HWP, HWT, HML, HWPX, DOC, DOCX, TXT, RTF, DOT, DOTX, HWDT, XLSX, XLSB, XLS, XLSM,XLTX, XLTM, XLT, CELL, HCDT, PRN, TXT, CSV, TSV, HTML, HTM, PPTX, PPT, POTX, THMX, SHOW, HSDT, HTHEME

In the Box

  • NOOK Tablet
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Power Adapter
  • Micro-USB Cable

True, even without knowing the CPU and memory details, this tablet looks very no-frills -- the resolution is pretty bad, and 16GB of storage for a media device is laughable. Still, it should make an excellent first tablet for a child or senior citizen that needs to get their feet wet. Hell, at $49, it would make a great secondary tablet for anyone -- something fairly disposable for the beach or relaxing by the pool.

If you'd like to buy the new 7-inch NOOK, you can get it here.

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