Summary Box: Nook Tablet starts shipping Wed

THE PRODUCT: Barnes & Noble Inc.’s Nook Tablet. Selling for $249, it is competing with Inc.’s Kindle Fire ($199) and Apple’s iPad (starts at $499).

AVAILABILITY: It began arriving in stores and homes Wednesday, one day ahead of schedule. Like Amazon, Barnes & Noble is hoping its souped-up e-readers will be popular gifts this holiday season.

SPECS: The Nook Tablet weighs less than a pound. It has a battery that enables nine hours of video watching. It comes with 16 gigabytes of memory and an SD slot to add more. It runs on Google’s Android system for mobile devices.