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Barnes & Noble Nook HD and Nook HD+ Become Real Android Tablets – Update to Include Google Play, Other Google Services

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Fork Android and the likelihood that Android sites and enthusiasts are going to care much for your products is slim to none. Take the Nook HD and Nook HD+ as prime examples. When these new tablets were announced back in September, our readers cared enough to drop 16 comments on the announcement post. We realized at that moment that there was no need to talk about these products any longer. Whether you agree with that stance or not, I can tell you that we have not received one email related to either since that day. It is what it is. 

But today marks a new beginning for the Nook series. Thanks to an over-the-air (OTA) update that will arrive at any moment, both the Nook HD and Nook HD+ will become official Android tablets. Since the update includes Google Play, Gmail, YouTube, Chrome, Google Search, and Google Maps, it’s clear that Barnes & Noble realized the importance of being a true part of the ecosystem. Sure, Amazon is doing quite well with their Kindle line, but they are certainly the exception to the rule.

So if you own a Nook HD or HD+, be on the lookout – Google Play is coming your way.

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, New York – 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 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 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 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 evices 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.

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).

  • robertjerl

    Being a long time nook user and pre-order owner of an HD+ I can tell you that as an e-reader the nook hd+ is better than anything else. Nook for PC is great for text, magazines however only have one or two pictures with each article while the Nook HD+ has all the images, often in full page. (Think Nat Geo and Smithsonian vs the same article in the newspaper.) I did the Google download the first day and am now using my HD+ for more things. I do also have N2A with nook for android as a comparison. Full nook outclasses the mobile app.

  • William Wells

    Barnes and Noble just drastically reduced the price on these as well. HD starts at $149 and HD+ starts at $179 until Mother’s Day… http://www.barnesandnoble.com

  • doc30

    Stupid update put useless Chrome on my Nook HD. Now I can’t the web browser because it does not support Flash. Does anyone know how to kill this recent update?

  • Gary Serrano

    About time this happens to my Nook HD!

  • MikeKorby

    I am slightly bothered by the typo in their official press release:

    “Expandable memory on the evices and free unlimited NOOK Cloud™ storage for all NOOK content.”

    Either way, as someone who works for a major electronics retailer, this information makes me exponentially more likely to push sales of the Nook, especially considering my overall detest for iPad sales.

    • robertjerl

      Don’t let the typo get to you. I’m a retired teacher and the proliferation of typos since the advent of spell checking used to get to me. Now I ignore them and do the proofreading/editing in my head on auto pilot as I read. Of course I still regret the fact that they didn’t know enough to recognize their own typos.

      • MikeKorby

        I admit that I am not perfect. Also, as someone who is in an industry that is not that of teaching English, I should take typos lighter. However, I personally feel that there are too many individuals who have lost touch with proper usage of our language that it bothers me. I think what partially concerns me is that the error comes from the press release for a company whose sole existence revolves around literacy.

        Oh well.

        • robertjerl

          The high end magazines, newspapers, book publishers (including textbooks) have all developed “spell check disease”. I used to amuse myself by skimming new textbooks for mistakes, both in language and facts. I didn’t teach English (except one semester out of 34 years). I taught how to be civilized in a classroom with any knowledge of history and geography picked up as a bonus.

  • jmsbwmn

    I’m actually really excited about this. My wife loves her Nook Tablet for what it is, whereas I keep reminding her of all the apps she’s missing out on. I even went as far as getting her a Nexus 7, but the neutered Nook app didn’t do it for her. While this is still a far cry from stock Android, at least it opens up the door to a multitude of “new” apps for people like my wife. There will soon be a Nook HD in our household and a dual-booting Nook Tablet up for sale on Craigslist in Sacramento. 🙂

    • robertjerl

      I agree with your wife, For text the nook mobile apps are fine, For anything heavy on images the full nook is the only way to go. Nook HD+ outdoes the Nook HD. For the full Android just install an N2A chip, and it is Jelly Bean.

      • jmsbwmn

        Got the HD and installed Nova Launcher. Now it’s the best of both worlds. 🙂

  • S.Scott Turgeon

    if this tablet ran jelly bean without being rooted I would get it

  • Kyle Cordiano

    Smartest move B&N could do.

  • Alexander Garcia

    Doin’ the HAPPY DANCE!!! =D

  • RaptorOO7

    Seriously, its about time B&N got smart and just went this route. Offer an app that entices users to buy your content and offer decent hardware for a decent price. Not everyone need a high end gaming tablet, but they just want a media tablet.

  • fauxshizzl

    I came up with a new slogan for your site. Droid Life: Yesterdays Android news today. You guys need to hire more writers or something. For a site that writes about nothing but Android, by the time you post an article I have already read the same story on every other tech site I follow hours or sometimes even the day before. I love the site but you guys REALLY need to ramp it up to try to even stay relevant in the tech writing scene.

    • bkosh84

      You could always just come to this website 🙂

      • fauxshizzl

        If the only tech news I cared about was Android related I would!

  • Jon

    I mean…Ok. You could just wait for the Nexus 7 refresh to be announced at Google IO in a few weeks. I’d rather have a Nexus device with Kindle or Nook software, than vice versa.

    • RaptorOO7

      I am waiting to see if it will be a Nexus 7.7 as rumored or just another 7″ tablet. Personally I want to see 2GB RAM in it along with 16 or 32GB of storage.

      • Jon

        Yeah I really want it to be just a bit bigger with 1280p display and 2 gigs of Ram. I’m OK with 16 gigs.

      • JMonkeYJ

        Oh, man I really, really hope it’s not any bigger.

      • michael arazan

        Would love a revamped Nexus 10

  • Warwick

    Oooo good news! My GF is a fan of the Nook and her Nook Tablet is being beat up badly and starting to slow down.

  • I don’t think I’ve been this whipsawed between sheer ecstasy and complete disinterest since the Nook HD+’s release date.

  • How are the speakers on hd and the hd+?

    • robertjerl

      Speakers are only OK, but, it has a phone jack, I use a set of QC15s.

  • sagisarius

    Oh cool, I might have to pick one up now. I’m a real fan of the 9inch size. Seems like a good price for an email and web checker.

  • zepfloyd

    You have to wonder who’s coming around to who…Is BN really coming back to Google, or is Google softening it’s stance on what they’ll certify as ‘Android’ to capture as much $ as possible. It’s an interesting shift to watch going forward.

    • Sqube

      Considering the marketshare disparity between Amazon and BN, and the upward trend of Android, you’d have to think that BN came around.

      • EC8CH

        BN is still in business???

        • bkosh84

          They are doing better than Borders…

    • Won’t know that until the update arrives, but I’m betting its the former or a combination of the 2. Lack of developer interest and escalating costs for BN probably helped them realize that the Amazon route was not ideal for their situation.

      • zepfloyd

        I agree, that seems like the logical conclusion. However I can’t see BN drastically changing their customer experience and Google has said ‘no’ to OEMs on other things far less departed to the Android experience they provide on the Nook. It’s certainly interesting.

        • It’s also interesting that microsoft has been working with them on the nook division, and this is the result.

  • schoat333

    That’s good news. This takes it a step ahead of the Kinde fire in my book.

  • And there is the issue with forking. Everyone keeps claiming that forking is the new fragmentation and Samsung, China, Jesus, whatever is going to fork Android. Yeah if you want a commodity product that does one thing, like a fridge. But if you think youre selling a consumer electronic for a long life the dumbest thing you can do is think you are going to improve by vertically integrating, not without piles of money to kick start a new ecosystem.

    • WickedToby741

      It’s not about improving the experience, it’s about improving profits. Manufacturers see the 30% cut that Google takes from every Play Store sale and then they see how their profits pale in comparison to someone like Apple. It may not make sense for someone like Barnes & Noble or HTC, but to someone with a lot of cash like Amazon or Samsung it makes a lot more sense. Sure it takes commitment and significant investments, but if you do it right the profits and customer loyalty are more than worth it.

      • The issue is its hurting their own bottom line in the process. They cant accent Google with their own store, only hope to supplant it. And when they fail they essentially end up with devices and ecosystems withering in the vine. Im not saying there wont be a next, just not right now.

        Look at Samsung. They are making bank selling Android devices. Yeah, of course they would like some of that market money but that is one reason Google is giving it away. But to get that they have to then absorb the development costs of the new OS and then attempt to get the developers, content providers, etc all on their new system. THEN market it.

        Right now they get to let someone else deal with all of that and just make devices (and some crappy skins). And they benefit in some ways from their competitors successes as well as it impacts their content. On their own they are truly on their own.

  • r0lct

    This makes it far more compelling than a Kindle Fire.

    • Thankfully we have more choices than this and the Kindle fire.

      • r0lct

        Agreed, N7 owner myself.

  • Papa, I’m a real boy!