NEW YORK (USA TODAY) -- Joining an increasingly crowded tablet market, Barnes & Noble today unveiled two tablets coming this fall that are lighter both on your wallet and in your hands.
The Nook HD starts at $199 for a model with a 7-inch screen and 8 gigabytes of storage; $249 for 16 GB. The Google Nexus 7 tablet and the Amazon Kindle Fire HD also sport 7-inch screens. Apple is rumored to have plans to introduce a mini version of its iPad.
Barnes & Noble's 9-inch Nook HD+ device will go head-to-head with Amazon's 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD and edge near the 10-inch iPad.
But the larger Nook HD+ models are cheaper than their rivals, priced at $299 and $349 for 16 GB and 32 GB of storage, respectively. The larger-screen Kindle Fire starts at $499 for 32 GB; the newest iPad starts at $499 for 16 GB. Barnes & Noble will be phasing out its older Nook Color and Nook Tablet.
The freshest Nooks come on the heels of a separate announcement from Barnes & Noble of a new Nook Video movie-and-TV rental and purchase service that is coming this fall. Titles are promised from HBO, Sony, Starz, Disney and Warner Bros.
Movies will be stored in the Nook Cloud. Users will be able to integrate compatible physical Blu-rays and DVDs with their digital-video collections. You'll be able to watch across Nook devices and apps, and through third-party applications.
The 7-inch Nook HD weighs a shade more than 11 ounces, is less wide and about 20% lighter than the Kindle Fire HD. The Nook HD+ weighs a little more than 18 ounces, roughly 5 ounces lighter than the iPad. Both Nooks have lovely high-resolution screens and impressive graphics.
Neither new Nook has a camera. (There's a front-facing camera on the Fire HD, and front and rear cameras on the iPad.) "At some point, you have to make hard choices," Barnes & Noble CEO William Lynch said in an interview. "We didn't see a use case for cameras. We decided to invest in screens and make the price point accessible."
On the content side, Barnes & Noble says it now offers more than 3 million books, including nearly 3,500 English-language interactive books for kids, and a stable of more than 100 magazines with a new visual table of contents feature that reveals thumbnails of the entire periodical.
Barnes & Noble has more than 10,000 apps. But that's a blip compared with what Apple offers for iPad.