It's no secret that I've long been against calling the Nook and Kindle Fire series "Android tablets," as neither is more than a glorified e-reader to me. Today, Barnes & Noble dropped a bomb on that way of thinking, as it announced that the full array of Google Play services will now be available on the Nook HD and Nook HD+, essentially turning them into full-fledged tablets.
Moving forward, all Nook HD and HD+ tablets will ship with Google services – including the Play Store, YouTube, Gmail, Chrome, and the like – but for those who already own HD/HD+ units, the new features will be showing up via an OTA update to v2.1.0, which should begin rolling out today. For the impatient among you, B&N has full instructions on its site to manually download and flash the update (HD, HD+).
This move should help put the current Nook HD series back on the map after it has struggled to keep up with the Kindle Fire HD in recent months. The success of the Fire HD series is in no small part due to the vast ecosystem that Amazon has built with the Amazon Appstore and other branded services, so access to the Play Store and Google services should give Barnes & Noble a substantial amount of traction to fight back.
For more information on the update and how you can apply it, hit the source links below.
Barnes & Noble Announces Google Play™ on NOOK® HD and NOOK® HD+
The Best in Reading and Now Over 700,000 Android Apps and Games, Millions of Songs, Movies, TV Shows and More, Plus Chrome™, Gmail™, YouTube™, Google Search™ and Google Maps™ on Stunning 7- and 9-inch Tablets
NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--NOOK Media LLC, a subsidiary of Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS), the leading retailer of content, digital media and educational products, today announced it is expanding its extensive catalog of reading and entertainment content with the addition of the popular Google Play digital content experience on its acclaimed NOOK HD and NOOK HD+ devices. With Google Play on NOOK HD and NOOK HD+, customers have access to more than 700,000 Android apps and games, millions of songs and more. Barnes & Noble’s highly acclaimed lightweight high-definition 7- and 9-inch tablets will also include popular Google services like the Chrome browser, Gmail, YouTube, Google Search and Google Maps.
“By adding Google Play to NOOK HD and NOOK HD+, we are offering our customers even more great entertainment on our award-winning tablets,” said William Lynch, chief executive officer of Barnes & Noble. “Now with access to more than 700,000 apps and the best reading experience available, NOOK HD and NOOK HD+ are must-see products for entertainment lovers looking for high-quality tablets at incredibly low prices.”
Always a great value, NOOK HD, now with Google Play, is available starting at just $199 and NOOK HD+ starts at only $269. NOOK products are available at the nearly 700 Barnes & Noble stores, NOOK.com and leading retailers.
Google Play and the other Google services will be available to all new and existing NOOK HD and NOOK HD+ customers in the US and UK at no cost through an automatic over-the-air update that will roll out to all devices connected to Wi-Fi beginning today. Customers who would like to enjoy the major new software update immediately can learn more at www.NOOK.com/support or www.NOOK.co.uk/support.
NOOK HD and NOOK HD+ Features
More than 700,000 Android Apps and Games: Choose from more than 700,000 great apps including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Temple Run, ESPN, TED, Netflix and so many more, all ready to enjoy right away. The NOOK Store™ continues to feature a wide selection of thousands of high-quality NOOK Apps™ tailored for the devices including the highest-quality educational apps for kids through age 12, all organized by subject area and easily searchable.
Millions of songs: The addition of Google Play Music lets customers browse millions of songs, discover new artists and fill NOOK HD and NOOK HD+ with favorite tracks to enjoy anytime. Google Play also lets people store 20,000 songs from their personal collection in the cloud for free and stream them to their NOOK HD, NOOK HD+ and other devices.
Favorite Movies & TV Shows: Choose from thousands of movies and TV shows including new releases, the latest episodes, award-winning films and past seasons from favorite TV series. Stream movies and TV shows to watch instantly on NOOK HD and NOOK HD+ or make them available offline to watch later, even when not connected to Wi-Fi.
The Very Best in Reading: The NOOK Store offers millions of books and magazines to choose from. Sample any book free or choose from over 1 million free titles. Barnes & Noble offers thousands of best-selling magazines and newspapers from around the world, all in spectacular HD and delivered right to NOOK as soon as they come out. Enjoy free 14-day trials on any newsstand title and get expert recommendations on what to read next from the reading specialists at NOOK through NOOK Channels™. With NOOK Catalogs™, browse top catalogs like Pottery Barn and L.L.Bean delivered right to the device and virtually tear out magazine and catalog pages and save them in a NOOK Scrapbook™.
Faster Web Browsing with Chrome: As Web browsing continues to be among the most popular tablet activities, NOOK HD and NOOK HD+ now feature the Chrome browserfor fast start up and page loading and an unlimited number of tabs open at once. Customers can even sync bookmarks across any device with Chrome.
Google Search™, Gmail™, YouTube™ and Google Maps™: Customers will have instant access to Google Search, Gmail, YouTube and Google Maps, now built in to NOOK HD or NOOK HD+. Sync calendars across multiple devices and check email from any account including Exchange, Yahoo! and Hotmail.
Additional great tablet features include:
- Stunning HD Displays: Crisp text and beautiful graphics make books and magazines stunning to read. With NOOK HD’s highest resolution of any 7-inch HD tablet and Full HD at 1080p on NOOK HD+, videos and games look life-like from any angle, with rich color, deep contrast and minimal glare.
- Light and Portable: Weighing in at only 11.1 ounces, NOOK HD was designed to fit naturally in an adult or child’s hand for hours of enjoyment. And at just 18.2 ounces, NOOK HD+ is the lightest tablet of its kind – more than 20 percent lighter than iPad 3 – making it the perfect companion for movie watching, long reads, Sunday crosswords or favorite games.
- NOOK Profiles™: A personalized experience instantly transforms the device in hand to any family member’s very own tablet so only they can see their own content.
- NOOK Channels™: This pioneering recommendation system provides an easy way to discover new titles by theme.
- The ability to sync the last page read on any NOOK Book across NOOK devices and apps so customers don’t lose their place.
- Expandable memory on the devices and free unlimited NOOK Cloud™ storage for all NOOK content.
- Adjustable fonts, spacing and themes for a customized reading experience.
- Powerful dual-core processors and built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
The NOOK Store offers more than 3 million titles in the US, with 2.5 million available in the UK, including more than 1 million free titles. For more information on NOOK HD and NOOK HD+, or any of NOOK’s innovative products and devices, customers can visit www.nook.com or www.nook.co.uk.