Barnes & Noble has taken a big step toward enhancing the multimedia experience for those who own a Nook HD experience: Allow users to access hundreds of thousands of apps, games, movies, TV shows and more through Google Play. One of the biggest complaints users have had about the Nook tablets is lack of access to thousands of popular Android apps.
Critics of Nook’s strategy have been calling for Barnes & Noble to discontinue its policy of owning and operating its own app ecosystem separate from the much larger Google Play network. While the release below does not specifically state that Nook will be abandoning app development strategy, an announcement ending Nook-specific app development can’t be far behind.
The move could give Barnes & Noble a leg up versus other Android tablets that only run bespoke apps, like the Kindle Fire, which has thousands of its own apps — generally the most popular Android apps. It comes with a price, however: Users should be able to buy Google books now directly on the tablet.
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 and London – May 3, 2013 – 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 catalogue of reading and entertainment content with the addition of the Google Play digital content experience on its acclaimed NOOK HD and NOOK HD+ devices. With Google Play on NOOK HD and NOOK HD+, customers will now 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, both are must-see products for entertainment lovers looking for high-quality tablets at incredibly low prices.”
For a limited time only, as part of NOOK’s involvement in the “Get London Reading” literacy initiative, NOOK HD is available starting at just £129 (down from £159), with the NOOK HD+ starting at only £179 (down from £229). NOOK products are available in John Lewis, Argos, Asda, Dixons, Sainsbury, Waitrose, Blackwell’s and Foyles and also through www.nook.co.uk.
Google Play and the other Google services will be available to all new and existing NOOK HD and NOOK HD+ customers in the 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 this major new software update immediately can learn more at 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 children up to the age of 12, all organised by subject area and easily searchable.
Millions of songs: The addition of Google Play Music allows customers to browse millions of songs, discover new artists and fill NOOK HD and NOOK HD+ with favourite 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.
Favourite Movies: Choose from thousands of movies including new releases and award-winning films Stream movies 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 one of the 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™.
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 browser for 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 colour, deep contrast and minimal glare.
– Light and Portable: Weighing in at only 315g, NOOK HD was designed to fit naturally in an adult or child’s hand for hours of enjoyment. And at just 515g, 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 favourite games.
– NOOK Profiles™: A personalised 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. Powerful dual-core processors and built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
The NOOK Store offers more than 2.5 million titles 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, visit www.nook.co.uk.
About Barnes & Noble, Inc.
Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE:BKS) is a Fortune 500 company and the leading retailer of content, digital media and educational products. The company operates 677 Barnes & Noble bookstores in 50 states, and one of the Web’s largest e-commerce sites, BN.com (www.bn.com). Its NOOK Media LLC subsidiary is a leader in the emerging digital reading and digital education markets. The NOOK digital business offers award-winning NOOK® products and an expansive collection of digital reading and entertainment content through the NOOK Store™ (www.nook.com), while Barnes & Noble College Booksellers, LLC operates 678 bookstores serving over 4.6 million students and faculty members at colleges and universities across the United States. Barnes & Noble is proud to be named a J.D. Power and Associates 2012 Customer Service Champion and is one of only 50 U.S. companies so named. Barnes & Noble.com is ranked the number one online retailer in customer satisfaction in the book, music and video category and a Top 10 online retailer overall in customer satisfaction according to ForeSee E-Retail Satisfaction Index (Spring Top 100 Edition).
General information on Barnes & Noble, Inc. can be obtained via the Internet by visiting the company’s corporate website: www.barnesandnobleinc.com.
NOOK®, NOOK Store™, NOOK Video™, NOOK Video Apps™ are trademarks of Barnes & Noble, Inc. and its affiliates. Other trademarks referenced in this release are the property of their respective owners.
Google Play, Android, Chrome, Gmail, YouTube, Google Search and Google Maps are trademarks of Google Inc.
Follow Barnes & Noble on Twitter (www.bn.com/twitter), Facebook (www.facebook.com/barnesandnoble) and YouTube (www.youtube.com/barnesandnoble).
Barnes & Noble conducts its commercial European operations through its Luxembourg entity Barnes & Noble S.à r.l.
About NOOK Media LLC
NOOK reading and entertainment products make it easy to read what you love, anywhere you like™ with a fun, easy-to-use and immersive digital reading experience. With NOOK, customers gain access to the expansive NOOK Store™ of more than 3 million digital books, plus periodicals, comics, apps, movies and TV shows, and the ability to enjoy content across a wide array of popular devices through free NOOK Reading Apps™ and NOOK Video apps, available at www.nook.com/freenookapps. NOOK owners receive Always Free NOOK Support in any of Barnes & Noble’s nearly 700 bookstores. Find NOOK devices in Barnes & Noble stores and online at www.nook.com, as well as leading retailers including Best Buy, Walmart, Target and many others. NOOK products are available in the United Kingdom through www.nook.co.uk and leading retailers.