Nook HD Gets Google Play and Other Google Apps

Nook HD Gets Google Play and Other Google Apps

May 3, 2013

The Nook line of Android tablets, spun off from Barnes & Noble’s line of e-readers (though some models, like the Nook Simple Touch actually do run Android), has just gotten a nice little update from B&N that makes it infinitely more useful. Or at least 700,000 times more useful, as Google Play is now on the Nook HD, both 7-inch and 9-inch models. Barnes & Noble says that they’re not getting rid of their Nook store for apps, but that it will be a curated list of apps – same for the movie and book selection. But the music selection is now dramatically improved as well.

For Nook HD owners, this is a great thing – it means that no longer will their available content be artificially held back by what the manufacturer offers. Now the entire range of apps, plus the additional media is available to Nook HD owners. It makes the device a better value proposition, and that’s only a good thing. It also gives the device a selling point over the Kindle Fire. While that device has a bigger brand name and the backing of Amazon behind it, its more limited app selection will still lag behind the Nook’s, though most if not all of the ‘major’ apps and games are on Amazon’s store. Don’t expect Amazon to be making the same move as they have had bigger success with the Amazon Appstore.

Google-Play-MusicThe device is still not a stock Android device, and Google Play (and its requisite content apps) will merely exist on the device as separate apps, but at least the option is now there to get the same content that a stock Android device would have. It interestingly gives the device an added selling point compared to the Nexus 7, where its budget price but also massive content library put it head-and-shoulders above the Nook and Kindle in this category. With high-resolution screens, this could give comparison shoppers a reason to buy the Nook HD instead. However, with sales reportedly being disappointing, this could just be a desparate last-minute move, or one way to make sure owners of the Nook HD stay happy down the road.

Barnes and Noble Announces Nook HD and 9-inch Nook HD+

Tis the season for new generations of tablets. While the world still waits to see if Apple enters into the 7" tablet market, Amazon has announced the new Kindle Fire HD, and Barnes & Noble isn’t sitting pretty with its Nook line either. They have just announced the new Nook HD line, which brings some new features and improved specs to the Nook tablet line.

The 7“ Nook HD, which boasts a new 1440×900 screen, is now capable of playing back 720p video thanks to its dual-core processor of unknown speed, features a new email app and improved browser, and B&N boasts that it is the lightest 7” tablet ever. There’s no camera in the device, though B&N’s CEO claims that Nook users have no need for one based on their feedback.

But the most interesting of the hardware announcements may be the Nook HD+. This is B&N taking a stab at the iPad like the Kindle Fire HD 8.9 – it’s a 1920×1280 display at 256 ppi; the aspect ratio is supposedly designed to be optimal for reading content, as well as supporting video watching. There’s a dual-core 1.5 GHz OMAP processor, 6000 mAh battery, though no word on the RAM yet.

The cost of these devices is competitive with Amazon and Apple as well; $199 for 8 GB the 7-inch Nook HD, $269 for the 16GB Nook HD+, with different storage configurations available for additional fees. There will also be microSD expandable storage. B&N has made sure to tout that there are no display ads like the Kindle Fire HD, which users have to pay to remove.

Along with the new devices, Barnes & Noble has announced their new Nook Video service which will let users buy TV shows and movies from companies like HBO, Viacaom, and Warner Brothers. This will complement apps like Netflix and Hulu Plus that already exist on the Nook store.

The new Nook HD models will be released in early November, as soon as November 1st according to the Nook website. It’s going to be a very merry Christmas for budget-minded tablet hunters.