The Nook Color (NC) got reduced to $199. The new Nook Tablet (NT) is $250. For that you get a dual-core CPU and 16GB of built-in memory, and a microphone. The microphone lets you run Skype.
The NT has a locked boot loader, so you can't yet install one of the CyanogenMod Android versions. But you can root the NT and then sideload all the Android apps that you need. This gives you a multipurpose Android machine that is a lot snappier than the NC.
Barnes & Noble is not being smart about this because they want to update the NT to remove root. The online rooting procedure prevents this, and you can (apparently) still downgrade the software to the original version, and then root it.