Barnes & Noble announced its new line of NOOK tablets in the face of fierce competition from the new Kindle Fire HD and the Google Nexus 7. Its top-of-the-line model, the NOOK HD+, has a 9-inch, 1920×1280, 259 ppi HD display; a 1.5GHz OMAP4470 dual-core processor; and a battery big enough to give users ten hours of reading or nine hours of video playback. It is also quite light at only 18.2 ounces. Unlike some of its competition, it includes a microSD slot that supports up to 64GB, along with internal storage options of 16GB ($269) or 32GB ($299).

The NOOK HD has a 7-inch 1440 x 900, 243 ppi HD display; a 1.3GHz dual-core processor; and only slightly more battery life, allowing users to read for up to 10.5 hours (video playback is the same as the NOOK HD+). The 8GB option will set you back $199, while the 16GB option is $229. This one also has two color options: snow or smoke.

Of course, Barnes & Noble also refreshed its traditional ereaders as well – the NOOK Simple Touch with Glowlight will cost $139 and boasts the “fastest, most advanced E Ink® display for seamless page turns” along with the ability to read in the dark. It will last for an entire month with Glowlight on with a single charge, or up to two months with Glowlight off. The NOOK Simple Touch without Glowlight will cost $99.

The NOOK HD+ and NOOK HD will both run heavily skinned versions of Ice Cream Sandwich, contrary to rumors that proposed Barnes & Noble had moved to Windows 8. This is sure to keep the app ecosystem very rich.

Full details can be found at the official NOOK website below, including handy comparisons to the iPad 3 and the Kindle Fire HD. Of course, Barnes & Noble is just a little late to the game, since it has to follow both Google and Amazon. Will this end up hurting the struggling retailer, or are these tablets competitive enough to give Amazon, Google, and maybe even Apple a run for their money? Will you consider picking one of these up for yourself? Time will tell, but let us know what you think.

[Barnes & Noble via Anythingbutipad]