The Tablet improves on the Nook Color mainly by beefing up the processor and the memory and extending the battery life

The Nook Tablet improves on the Nook Color mainly by beefing up the processor and memory and extending the battery life.

Last week, Associated Press technology writer Peter Svensson reviewed the Kindle Fire, Amazon’s $199 tablet that aims to challenge the iPad. This week, he reviewed the new $249 Nook Tablet from bookseller Barnes & Noble, which he called “a solid product, worthy of duking it out with [the] Kindle Fire.”

Here’s what he had to say about the device…

“Like the new Kindle Fire, the [Nook] Tablet has a 7-inch, touch-sensitive color screen, about half the size of the iPad’s. It’s the same screen as on the Nook Color, the eReader Barnes & Noble launched a year ago. I thought it was the best eReader yet when it launched.

“The Tablet improves on the Nook Color mainly by beefing up the processor and the memory and extending the battery life to 11.5 hours of reading, or 9 hours of video. The Tablet also has improved software, but the Color will be getting the same software through a downloadable update.

“The Tablet is debuting with Netflix and Hulu applications. Coupled with the nice, sharp screen, that makes for a good device for that TV and movie fix—as long as you’re connected to Wi-Fi. The apps actually highlight one of the shortcomings of the Tablet: there’s no way (short of hacking the software) to use it for offline viewing of movies you buy or rent.

“Barnes & Noble promises to provide some sort of movie store next year. Amazon, meanwhile, launched the Kindle Fire with access not just to Netflix and Hulu, but to its own store with downloadable video, plus free streaming content for Amazon Prime subscribers.

“Barnes & Noble is also well behind when it comes to the selection of third-party applications: It has about 1,000 available today. That compares to just under 10,000 at Amazon, and 500,000 on the iPad. However, the Nook has these features over the Fire:

“• Faster processor and more memory for software operations, which means faster web browsing and magazine page-flipping.

“• Longer battery life.