Barnes & Noble Nook HD+

Not since that one fight between TV news teams have I seen a battle as fierce as the clash of the <cue dramatic music> BOOK-SELLING TITANS! It’s Amazon vs. Barnes & Noble, and in the tablet theater, it’s the Kindle Fire HD vs. the newly announced Nook HD+ ($269 for 16GB). Coming in at nine-inches, the HD+  brags about the fact that it features no annoying ads and comes with a free power adapter–two direct shots at Amazon’s product. The 1,920-by-1,280 display can play 1080p HD video, and Barnes & Noble says the 3:2 aspect ratio means less letterboxing with video content than on the iPad. This is war(like)!

Amazon 8.9″ Kindle Fire HD

Like a snorkeling harvester of delicious sea salt, Amazon is diving deeper into the tablet game. The newest slate on their slate is the 8.9″ Kindle Fire HD ($299). Of course the screen is the thing with tablets, and the new Kindle is bringing a spiffy 1920×1200 display to the table, with improved viewing angles as well. The brains of the system will be a Texas Instruments OMAP 4470 processor which Amazon says will result in a big step up, making for smoother performance.

Amazon Kindle Fire

And to think, just 2,000 years ago, we were using stone tablets. For further proof of mankind’s progress, behold the Amazon Kindle Fire, a 7″, 14.6 ounce, multi-touch, Android-running tablet that may not pack all of the size or punch of the iPad, but its $199 price tag makes it a true head-turner. Inside the Fire you’ll find a dual-core 1GHz TI OMAP processor, with 512MB of RAM and 8GB of storage space, plus free Cloud storage for all Amazon content. You’ll be browsing the Web with Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n), and listening to fancy rock-n-roll music through the 3.5 mm stereo audio jack and top-mounted stereo speakers. The Fire’s battery life is rated up to 8 hours for continuous reading or 7.5 hours of video playback with wireless off. Charge it up fully in approximately 4 hours via the included U.S. power adapter, or through the USB 2.0 port.