Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Barnes & Noble Gets Ready to Fire Back at the Kindle With a Nook Tablet

Barnes & Noble is set to unveil its newest Nook at a New York press conference Monday, but the Internet works on a faster schedule, and marketing materials for the new gadget hit the Web Thursday.

The upshot: The bookseller looks as if it will compete with Amazon’s $199 Kindle Fire tablet with a $249 Nook tablet.

Barnes & Noble will apparently tell consumers that its device is worth the extra $50 because it has more memory and a faster processor. I’m sure that the Amazon reps will counter by explaining that their gadget works hand in hand with Amazon’s cloud services, which means that its Internet-based servers will handle much of the processing and storage duties.

In the big picture, the two devices are making a similar pitch. Both run versions of Google’s Android operating system; both are meant primarily as entertainment/consumption devices, not work machines; and both offer considerably fewer features than Apple’s iPad line, at a much lower price. We’ll see how consumers react this month, when both gadgets are scheduled to ship.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work