Barnes & Noble hasn’t had a great year, but it took back some of the fire in the tablet war today, with the announcement of the Nook Tablet, set for a November 18th release. While Amazon has gotten the most buzz lately with it’s Kindle Fire tablet, B&N looks like it may have a contender here. Priced at $249 – just $50 more than Amazon’s Fire, it’s well within the sweet spot of company-subsidized devices. The new Nook builds on the relative success of it’s predecessor, the Nook Color, and out of the box, it has more to offer than most other tablets, including ready-to-go HD movies and TV from Netflix and Hulu Plus, and Pandora and Grooveshark for streaming music. The Nook Tablet is running Android 2.3, powered by a gig of RAM, and 16GB of built-in storage – significantly more than the Fire. But as processors and chipsets get tiny and cheap, the real winners are often determined by interface and content; the Android OS used by the new Nook has been completely customized, to optimize access to the proprietary content that B&N is making available. All of the new content and power gets packed into a tighter body too, weighing just .88lbs. Could be a great option for getting into the tablet game this holiday season, or could just be another tablet could-have-been. Pre-order through Barnes & Noble, stay tuned for reviews after release, and check out a few screenshots after the jump.

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