Barnes & Noble takes on Amazon’s Kindle Fire with the Nook Tablet

Just weeks after Amazon announced the Kindle Fire, Barnes & Noble wants in on the tablet action. Consumers eager to pick up a low-cost tablet this holiday will have two choices next week. The bookseller today unveiled its $249 Nook Tablet.

Can Barnes & Noble’s more powerful hardware beat out Amazon’s name-brand recognition and lower price?

Barnes & Noble takes on Amazon's Kindle Fire with the Nook Tablet

Looking to bite into Apple’s iPad pie, Barnes and Noble’s Nook Tablet boasts a 7-inch HD touchscreen, 16GBs of memory and a dual-core processor with 1GB RAM. An “extra-long” battery life – over 11 hours reading, 9 hours watching videos – is comparable to the iPad 2. The catch is that wireless mode must be turned off to enjoy lengthier sessions. The expected suite of streaming and multimedia options are also available.

Barnes & Noble CEO William Lynch touted the device as a grown-up e-reader and suitable competitor.

“In Nook Tablet, we’ve created the best wireless media tablet in the portable 7-inch class,” said Lynch. “Nook Tablet’s VividView display has been designed to be the world’s finest screen for readability and viewing content. We’ve utilized that breakthrough display technology to bring consumers the largest digital catalog of color and interactive books, magazines, children’s books and high-quality apps through our Nook Store.”

Lynch added that Netflix, Hulu and Pandora would be built right into the device.

A free trial of controversial music app Grooveshark is also included. The app has been banned from both Android and Apple online markets earlier, so Nook Tablet owners can hold that over their friends’ heads.

Barnes & Noble’s digital bookstore is still present, though its draw could be overshadowed. Consumers may snatch up the device for the millions of books, magazines and newspapers available, or just buy it to own an inexpensive tablet.

One potential loser in this announcement is the Nook Color. Sure the company has dropped its price to $199, but why not just spend an extra $50 for the added bells and whistles?

The Nook Tablet launches November 17. The Kindle Fire releases November 15. May the best tab win.

Which tablet will sell better? Let us know in the comment section.