A Kindle Fire gives you easy access to Amazon’s large offering of content, much of it free with an Amazon Prime membership. The Nook also has its own store for easy access to content, and it has a couple hardware advantages over the Fire. The Nexus 7 blows both away with much better hardware, extended capabilities like GPS and NFC, and a voice-activated personal assistant.
The Fire suffers from a lack of physical switches and buttons; controls accessed through menus are always harder to use. Also, its version of Android is so heavily modified that Google updates to Android won’t apply. The Nook has the same issues, plus a smaller amount of native content than the Fire. The main thing missing from the Nexus 7 is an SD slot.
Let’s wrap it up and see how these tablets do. The Fire has sold a lot of units, and is clearly leading the pack in current users at this price, but it has a lot of shortcomings that could make it vulnerable to a more capable competitor. The Nexus 7 looks very promising with better specs and hardware capabilities than anything we’ve yet seen at the $199 price point. The Nook is weak on features, user base, and access to content – things aren’t looking very good for it.