We've already heard the rumors surrounding Barnes & Noble's next NOOK device, and now those rumors have been realized. B&N just took the wraps off of its NOOK Tablet, and if you've been thinking about picking up a Kindle Fire, you may just want to reconsider. The NOOK Tablet is rocking some serious hardware:

  • 7-inch IPS lamination display
  • 1GHz dual-core processor
  • 1GB RAM
  • 16GB storage with SD card slot
  • Less than 1 pound
  • Great battery life -- up to nine hours of video playback; 11.5 hours of reading time

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While the hardware is a definite upgrade over the NOOK Color, the look of the device is nearly identical, so owners of the original NC will feel right at home with this device in hand.

Despite the modest 7-inch display size, the NOOK Tablet supports full 1080p playback. It comes pre-loaded with Hulu and has "deep Netflix integration," so you'll be able to take full advantage of HD video playback right out of the box. It will also come loaded with Pandora, as well as some NOOK specific apps, like NOOK Comics and NOOK Cloud. The former will offer the largest digital collection of Marvel graphic novels of any tablet, while the latter is a "safe and dependable place to keep your content."

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The NT will also offer a "read and record" feature designed for children's books that will allow the user to record themselves reading a story. Now you can read to the kids even when you're away. Aww.

As far as software is concerned, the NT is running a modified version of Gingerbread and will not allow full access to the Android Market.

The NOOK Tablet will be available in B&N stores and all retail partner outlets beginning next week for $250, at which time the NOOK Color will receive a $50 price drop down to $199.