By Ian Bush

By Technology Editor Ian Bush

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The tablet wars are heating up once again.

Bookstore chain Barnes & Noble has taken the wraps off two new models of their “Nook” device, featuring sharper screens and a lower price than competing models.

There’s the seven-inch diagonal Nook HD, and the nine-inch diagonal Nook HD+.

“These are basically Barnes & Noble’s answer to the Amazon Kindle Fire,” says CNET executive editor David Carnoy.

Carnoy says that at $269, the HD+ beats the high-definition version of the Fire by $30.

Barnes & Noble says their offering is faster than the Google Nexus 7.   And compared to Apple’s offerings, notes Carnoy, “It’s appealing to someone who doesn’t want to spend $500 on an iPad.”

The Nook HD adds access to Barnes & Noble’s new video service, allowing users to buy or rent TV shows and movies.

“The performance has gotten a lot better on these,” Carnoy tells KYW Newsradio.  “The display on it is very crisp.  These are becoming more usable — especially for the person who wants to sit in bed and view content just around the house.”

Apple is expected to announce a cheaper iPad mini in the coming weeks.

“It’s going to be a very interesting holiday season,” says Carnoy.

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