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B&N drops prices on Nook Tablet and Nook Color

With the release of the new Nook HD and Nook HD+, B&N is discounting its older tablets -- the Nook Color is down to $139.

Last year's Nook Tablet now starts at $159 for the 8GB model with an expansion slot for more memory. Sarah Tew/CNET

Now that Barnes & Noble's new $199 Nook HD tablet is starting to ship to customers, the company has lowered the prices on last year's Nook Tablet models to $179 (16GB) and $159 (8GB), and reduced the price of its entry-level Nook Color to $139.

It's unclear how long Barnes & Noble will keep these models on the market, but it appears they will be sold through the holiday buying season.

In the past you could get refurbished versions of these same models for similar prices. When it was originally launched in late 2011, the 16GB Nook Tablet retailed for $249 (it has 1GB of RAM). Amazon then brought out the original Kindle Fire for $199 (8GB) and Barnes & Noble followed up with the 8GB Nook Tablet, which has less RAM (500MB).

Earlier this week the company started shipping its Nook HD, which competes with the Kindle Fire HD, Google Nexus 7, and Apple's iPad Mini; it comes in 8GB ($199) and 16GB ($229) models.

While the Nook HD leaves off a camera and doesn't have the breadth of apps and media selections (movies, music) that Amazon and Google offer with their latest tablets, the Nook HD has the highest resolution screen for a 7-inch tablet, is lighter than the Amazon Fire HD, and has an expansion slot for additional memory.

Barnes & Noble will also soon start shipping its larger Nook HD+ tablet, which has a 9-inch screen and starts at $269 (it bumps up to $299 for the 32GB model). The company's Web site says the Nook HD+ will be available November 8.

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