Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE:BKS) has received a range of positive reviews in recent weeks for its newest two tablets, the Nook HD and the Nook HD+. Neither is a true Android device but today they just got considerably closer. Owing to market pressure, Barnes & Noble announced that it would add the Google Play store to the aforementioned tablets. Beginning today, users will be able to go to bandn.com and download the store which is bundled with Google’s browser Chrome. Sometime next week each tablet will prompt users to install Google Play via WiFi download.
Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE:BKS)’s release of its tablets prior to the holiday shopping season of 2012, while a good idea, was met by Amazon and Google releasing their first efforts into the market at the same time. Though Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE:BKS) has been working hard to offer content and apps equal to their competitors, the fact that they had to do so quicker than expected has had them playing catch-up. This move to open its tablet to Google Play is hoped to increase sales. It’s failure to include access to Google’s store has certainly cost them sales.
The move is quite unique as it provides unfettered access to a direct competitor. There are no stop gaps in place, so Google Play is available in its entirety to its users. B&N is taking a big gamble that customers will remain loyal and continue to use the Nook Store rather than making a wholesale switch to Google now that they have made it available.
Additionally, customers are able to place the Kindle app on their Nook tablets and are able to make app purchases if they are interested, another big gamble for the book seller. The HBO Go app that was missing from the Nook Store will also be made available to its users.
Both of the Nook devices mentioned allow multiple user profiles to be set up. This means that if parents don’t wish to give their children access to the Google Play store they don’t have to, while allowing themselves to use it when they log in to the device.
Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE:BKS) has taken a big gamble but one that both its users and sales demanded.