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NookColor Vs. iPad Vs. Dell Streak: Which of These Is Not a Tablet?

There’s something strange about Barnes & Noble’s recently unveiled NookColor e-reader. We compare stats on the NookColor vs. iPad vs. Dell Streak.

NookColor e-reader

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There’s something strange about Barnes & Noble’s recently unveiled NookColor e-reader–it works as an e-reader, sure, but in many respects it’s really just a tablet in disguise.

Don’t believe us? We’ve created a handy chart comparing the NookColor, the iPad, and the Dell Streak (a recently released Android-based tablet). There are minor differences in size, battery power, weight, and cost, but for the most part, it’s hard to distinguish the NookColor as an e-reader purely by its specs.

The one big difference: the NookColor doesn’t have the full Android Marketplace–instead, Barnes & Noble is creating a developer community that will make custom reading-centric apps for the device. So far, the company is working with Lonely Planet, Dictionary.com, and Pandora on apps. But the fact that the NookColor will have a Pandora app means that the app store won’t be completely reading-centric.

The device also allows users to visit and update statuses on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter–and it has Gmail access. Which brings us back to our original question: Why isn’t Barnes & Noble just calling this a tablet? And for that matter, why not give users access to the Android Market? The NookColor clearly has uses beyond a traditional e-reader–perhaps Barnes & Noble should embrace them  instead of limiting the device’s functionality.

 

Model NookColor iPad Dell Streak
Screen Size 7 inch diagonal backlit VividView Color Touchscreen high resolution display with 1024 x 600 delivering 169 pixels per inch, IPS technology 9.7-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit glossy widescreen Multi-Touch display with IPS technology 5 inch capacitive multi-touch WVGA (800×480) display
Battery Rechargeable battery, 8 hours of reading with the Wi-Fi off 25 watt-hour lithium ion battery, up to 10 hours of battery life with Wi-Fi 530 mAh battery 
Dimensions 8.1 inches wide x 5 inches high x 0.48 inches depth 7.47 inches wide x 9.56 inches high x .5 inches depth 6 inches wide x 3.1 inches high x .4 inches depth
Processor/storage ARM Cortex A8-based, 45nm OMAP3621 processor, 8 GB storage built-in, micro-SD 1GHz Apple A4 system-on-a-chip, 16GB, 32GB, or 64GB flash drive 1 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 2 GB storage built-in, 16 GB micro-SD
Weight 15.8 ounces 1.5 lbs Wi-Fi model, 1.6 lbs Wi-Fi + 3G model 7.7 oz
Wi-Fi/3G Only Wi-Fi (Barnes & Noble may add a 3G version in the future) Both 3G + Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi-only models available Integrated 3G + Wi-Fi (802.11b/g) + Bluetooth 2.1
Cost $249 From $499.99 $299.99 with 2-year AT&T contract activation
Apps Custom Android app store Apple app store Android Marketplace
Operating System Android 2.1 iOS 3.2.2 Android 1.6, will receive 2.2 as an over the air update

About the author

Ariel Schwartz is a Senior Editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine and more.

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