Barnes & Noble has announced that it is opening up the forked version of Android found on its Nook HD and Nook HD+ tablets by giving them support for the Google Play store.
Available now on current Nook HD and HD+ devices through an automatic over-the-air software update, the change will now give Nook owners access to Google Play\’s library of more than 700,000 apps and games. This means that Nook owners can now utilize Google\’s selection of books, magazines and music too.
Dedicated apps for Google services like YouTube, Gmail, Google Maps and the Chrome browser will now be built into the devices as well. Future Nook HD and HD+ tablets will come will come preloaded with the newfound support.
The shift is significant, as Barnes & Noble has previously loaded its Nook tablets with its own app store that featured far fewer apps than the standard Google Play marketplace. That usual Nook app store isn\’t going away, but now the 7-inch Nook HD and 9-inch Nook HD+ plus will be on par with popular Android tablets like the Nexus 7 when it comes to Android app selection.
The change also comes at a time where the Nook is struggling for relevancy. Sales have steadily sunk over the past several months, and just yesterday an IDC report saw Barnes & Noble fall out of the top five tablet vendors in the world with less than a 2% total market share.
But now that the Nook HD and Nook HD+ have more app variety than rivals like the Kindle Fire HD, Barnes & Noble seems to have put itself in a much better position to gain ground in the tablet market. Prices for the Nook HD still start at $199 for an 8 GB model, while the Nook HD+ can still be had for $269 for a 16 GB model.
Source: Barnes & Noble