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Barnes & Noble Adds Google Play Store To the Nook 82

Posted by Soulskill
from the tear-down-this-wall dept.
An anonymous reader writes "When Barnes & Noble first released its Nook tablets, one of the big problems with the devices was that their custom version of Android only had access to the Barnes & Noble app store. They took the 'walled garden' approach, preventing users from accessing Google Play, which had a much larger selection of software and many more options when it came to free apps. Now, the company is reversing that decision. A software update is being rolled out to give the devices access to Google Play. 'The bottom line: if something's available for Android, it's now available for Nook, assuming it's compatible from a technical standpoint. Among other things, that means you'll be able to install Amazon's Kindle app on a Nook and read books you've purchased from Amazon. For the first time, the notion of someone with a heavy investment in Kindle books buying a Nook doesn't sound completely impractical.' The company is gambling that the devices' increased utility will make up for the loss in app revenue. Either way, it's good news for Nook tablet owners."
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Barnes & Noble Adds Google Play Store To the Nook

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  • so long as you can choose to uninstall those google apps if desired.
  • Too little too late. (Score:4, Informative)

    by janeuner (815461) on Friday May 03, 2013 @08:04AM (#43619153)

    Our Nook Tablet ran the stock software for nearly a year. It was terrible. I finally gave up on them rolling out a decent update and installed Cyanogenmod back in December.

    It is an excellent bit of hardware, but management got in the way of the software. Too little to late; good bye Barnes and Noble

    • by IndustrialComplex (975015) on Friday May 03, 2013 @10:04AM (#43620149)

      You say it's too little too late, but what does that even matter? Sure, I doubt that you will revert your tablet to the stock software, but you far outside their target market. You are also a member of an astonishingly small community with respect to the overall size of the eReader market. (I'm running CM on all of my tablets and phones, so I'm part of that community, but it IS tiny in comparison)

      Honest question, how is your statement any different than this situation:

      "Car Manufacturer X's audio system is terrible. I gave up waiting on them updating the firmware and have now replaced the stock system with a new audio system. Too little, too late."

      Yes, I can see how it might sour YOU to buying another car from Manufacturer X, but when you consider that 90% of people never even knew your issue existed, and that the issue is now moot, why would that even matter?

      • You assume janeuner was talking "too little too late" and referring to the market as a whole, rather than janeuner talking about janeuner's nook. This is odd to me. Granted, not as strange as how everyone here assumes that everyone is a lawyer talking in legal terms, but still.

        New slashdot rule: if in doubt, assume someone is expressing an unprofessional opinion, is referring to him or herself, is making a normative statement rather than a factual statement, and/or is drunk.
    • by celtic_hackr (579828) on Friday May 03, 2013 @10:42AM (#43620633) Journal

      It should be noted, since the Soulskill didn't, that this update is ONLY for the newer HD series tablets.

      Existing owners of older, and even the new lesser, tablets need not apply.

      I'm still really pissed at B&N over this. "Oh, you'll be able to install anything you want on it."

      So I bought one as a gift and immediately downloaded some apks (notably a decent browser).

      Then they came out with that damn update that locked the Fucker down.
      I can't even apply updates to the installed Opera browser. Without wiping/cryogenning the fucker.

      Never again will B&N trick me into buying into their locked down hardware. My cheap, unlocked, rooted, Chinese Tablets work just fine.
      When they become old, useless or die (from being prison made hacks), I'll discard them and still be better off price and content wise.

  • I own an older Nook, having picked it over the Kindle due to the 1985 scandal and Amazon's DRM systems. Also, the Nook supported the eBook lending system my local library used. I'd have gone with Amazon if not for those issues.

    However, I always expected the systems to remain rather closed. I'm guessing that Nook is really feeling pressure from 'good enough' tablets and realizing the same problems that occur with also-ran App stores: Achieving critical mass.

    Like it or not, an App store has to have a suf

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      You've been able to root the e-Ink Nooks for absolutely ages. My NST is overclocked, has USB host mode, has a fast screen mode, and has the Android Market app. (Play store won't run on such an elderly device.)

    • Conversations at an App Developer might never switch to 'Lets develop a commercial App for Android, and then develop it for iOS' (at least for now)

      At a startup company trying to pull itself up by its bootstraps it might. Consider a tiny company that already has the hardware to develop for Android (non-Apple PC + Android tablet) and plans to use revenue from its first application to buy the $1,100 iOS devkit (Mac mini + iPad + developer license).

    • Google Play, while still the second choice for app development, is large enough that no sane developer would just ignore that market. Conversations at an App Developer might never switch to 'Lets develop a commercial App for Android, and then develop it for iOS' (at least for now), but it was going to be very unlikely for that developer to follow up with 'And we MUST make sure it gets on the B&N Nook market'

      I think for startups/small companies, this may well still be true. iOS users still tend to have more apps and pay more for them than Android users. In the large corporate world, though, that's already changed long ago. There are two fundamental applications here:

      • provide easier access to something I already had (e.g. BBC android app makes access to their site better)
      • interlink with a product idea (e.g. barcode-scan -> product-id -> you already know the history of the wing component).

      Sometimes of

  • both? (Score:4, Funny)

    by axl917 (1542205) <axl@mail.plymouth.edu> on Friday May 03, 2013 @08:07AM (#43619177)

    Either way, it's good news for Nook tablet owners

    I'm sure both of them will be overjoyed.

  • by mrpacmanjel (38218) on Friday May 03, 2013 @08:36AM (#43619365)

    I look at a computer screen all day and sometimes cannot be arsed doing it again at home.

    I've ordered the Nook Simple Touch and it has 3 killer features for me:
        (1) Eink display is great even though it's only 800x600(?) - also means decent battery charge
        (2) Has an sd-card slot too - I'll be able to have all my ebooks on it
        (3) Can be rooted to enable Google Play (also install a proper PDF viewer too)

    They've also dropped the price to £29 in the UK this week and they are selling fast (all shops in my high street have sold out this week).

    Alas, it appears only recent versions of their tablets will have the restrictions lifted.

    It's a shame really - If they official released a unrestricted Eink-based ebook reader it may improve their sales - they have a successful product in there somewhere.

    (Currently an old version of android is installed - eclair and obviously the screen is not designed for games)

    • I bought a Simple Touch and thought I'd root it. But I didn't because it turns out that I like the way it works, and the simplicity of it suits me fine. I prefer to save my rooting and fiddling around for my phone, where I get more bang for my buck. I can't honestly imagine using the Simple Touch for more than reading because of the screen refresh rate. But, for what it is, it's awesome. One of the best things about it is that my wife no longer nags me about the big stack of books on my night table.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      (Currently an old version of android is installed - eclair and obviously the screen is not designed for games)

      And there's little to no chance of it ever getting even an unofficial upgrade, because it has so little memory. Eclair is about it. However, if you go to XDA and get yourself a new kernel, you can use fastmode and you can, no lie, play Angry Birds. It runs like crap though, because even overclocked to 1 GHz it's still a slow processor.

      One major advance of rooting your nook is being able to read email, for which it is perfectly well suited. It's not so good at other tasks you might want to do with it. The ot

      • by rk (6314)

        I have an iPad from work, and I thought it would be useful at first, but I've found that for me anyway it's a solution looking for a problem. The problem I have with the tablet/ebook paradigm is they're too big to fit in a pocket like my phone (Galaxy Nexus), but still too limited and underpowered to really do anything that justifies carrying it. I'm not even sure where my iPad is right now. I don't think I've used it at all in the last 2 weeks. It's too heavy for me to even read in bed unless I'm propped u

        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          If I had an iPad I would mount a dock in my car. I have long-term plans to replace the climate control unit with an Arduino- or MSP-based USB-controlled unit, but I'd step them up if I had something with a good enough display to fill up the 3 ISO DIN slot space I've got available if I delete climate control, stereo, and ashtray.

    • by Qzukk (229616)

      (also install a proper PDF viewer too)

      What PDF viewer are you using, and can it chop the margins off each page automatically (or at least have a fixed viewport/zoom (bonus points if the viewport understands left/right gutters))

      The problem I'm having is that most of my technical PDFs have giant margins so the viewers I've tried on the nook touch have the text scrunched in a tiny box in the middle of the screen and I have to zoom in every single page, individually, to read them. Turn the page and it goes bac

  • as people began to suddenly realize Amazon E-Books were actually more of a liability than their paper books, Amazon had to invent a new strategy to push them. Making them compatible with angry birds is a start, but its hard to avoid the fact you're just making an underpowered tablet now as opposed to an e-reader.
    • by idontgno (624372)
      Cool story, but what does this have to do with Barnes & Noble? Or was that a template rant? If so, you loaded the wrong (or at least, off-topic) value for $HATED_EBOOK_VENDOR.
  • I had a positive experience with google play store. I am a late adopter and got around to having data plan only recently. Bought a book in playstore. It worked fine in the google nexus 4 phone. But it was not displaying it correctly in my chromebook. I reported the issue, never expected to hear anything back. It was just a 10$ book, and they are multi billion dollar company, and million users might have reported it. So I was pleasantly surprised to get an email from tech support and we exchanged about six o
    • by Albanach (527650)

      Regarding diagrams in kindle books, this is a pervasive problem. I have purchased several academic texts that have been unusable due to the low resolution.

      One book had a series of tables that had been printed landscape in the original, still in landscape in the e-book version. You can imagine what this means, you can't just turn your phone or tablet 90 degrees or it autorotates, so now you need to turn off the auto-rotation each time you read that book. What a pain.

      Too many companies have tried to make e-ve

  • Tablets have been out for a while now, and we're starting to see which ones are the 'winners' and which ones will be relegated to being future 'dust collectors'. Closed systems like the Nook seem to be headed for the latter.

    In a year or two, I'll get a replacement for my $100 archos tablet. By then I expect tabs will mostly all be cheap, dual booting pieces of tech, rivalling desktop computers in capability, with large storage/ memory/ battery and fast cpu's. Barnes & Noble will be another app to down

  • by Yaddoshi (997885)
    That'll save me the hassle of having to manually update the unsupported Cyanogenmod fork for the Nook HD
  • I like the Nook tablets because they provide me with a functional, Google-free Android device (and because they're actually really good tablets for my purposes). If I have to link my Nook to a Google account, it looks like I'll have to take my tin foil hat elsewhere.

  • Isn't Google Play a walled garden, just with a lower wall. There are policies and agreements that a APP must honor. A unwalled garden would allow any APP or book or music to be uploaded, and then let the users moderate quality.

    Also, is this an issue with BN or with Google. It is my understanding that Google Play is one of the closed source features that Google uses to keep control over the Android platform. An OEM either does what Google says or it is not allowed to play all the reindeer games.

    I ha

    • by Wookact (2804191)

      Isn't Google Play a walled garden, just with a lower wall.

      The store may be a walled garden, typically the devices allow you to install from other sources though. Kinda like having a gate in that walled garden, that the user can invite someone in at any time.

    • by ganjadude (952775)
      I also use a fire and while it was decent in stock form, putting cyanogenmod on it turned it from a simple locked down machine into something I can actually use. Not everyone sees things the way I do but for me, the fire was (at the time) the best bang for the buck, especially rooted.
  • by ISoldat53 (977164)
    Nook to Android (N2A) has a bootable MicroSD card that already allows this but it's nice BN finally figured it out.
    • by ajlitt (19055)

      You mean those guys that package up the works of others with absolutely no attribution, specifically a complete lack of GPL compliance? Charming.

      Why not get a better supported, free CM10.1 from here. [xda-developers.com]

  • The nook HD+ now looks pretty interesting. I like the google apps, but could live with the nook launcher (or install a new one off google play?)

    $270 for a 9-inch tablet with access to google apps is pretty compelling.

    • by cellocgw (617879)

      The nook HD+ now looks pretty interesting. I like the google apps, but could live with the nook launcher (or install a new one off google play?)

      $270 for a 9-inch tablet with access to google apps is pretty compelling.

      The ASUS memopro 10-inch tablet is selling around that price point. I'm not recommending one or the other; just suggesting it's worth comparing to see which has the features you prefer.

      • by yakovlev (210738)

        The MeMO Pad Smart 10 and the transformer T300 are both 720p screens rather than the 1080p on the nook.

        Then again, the Tegra3 in the MeMO is better than the OMAP in the nook, so it isn't a clear-cut decision. If the MeMO was a 1080p, it would probably be a slam dunk for ASUS. However, I don't think ASUS wants to cannibalize their high-end tablet sales, which such a tablet might do.

  • They're trying.

    I feel for them. I really do... I hope they can carve out a lasting niche for themselves in the evolving ebook retail world.

    This move was good... it showed boldness. B&N will need to be bold to survive.

  • About 6 months ago at a reasonably major London Android convention which B&N heavily sponsored, they had a workshop on why their app store was better for your app (more women, higher average price paid). They then ruined their argument by taking us through the registration process which required a US tax number before it would let you publish anything. At that point the room guffawed and a few people (including me) walked out to go see something more interesting and less insulting.

    Hint: if you're trying

    • by thejynxed (831517)

      They did it that way because their corporate is in the USA and they, unlike Google and many others, pay their US taxes. Their app store, etc is all hosted in the USA, and whenever an app is sold, they have to pay US tax on it, not UK or France, or Germany.

      • They did it that way because their corporate is in the USA and they, unlike Google and many others, pay their US taxes. Their app store, etc is all hosted in the USA, and whenever an app is sold, they have to pay US tax on it, not UK or France, or Germany.

        The standard way for multinationals to do business in foreign countries is to set up a subsidiary in that country. Operating like this means *everyone in their store* has to operate under US tax.

  • I enjoyed my 1st gen Nook Color, but I rooted it a month after getting it and kept it that way, with the play store, etc, for over a year. But when the Nexus 7 came out I jumped ship for the "full" ICS experience. It wasn't the lack of the Play store, or the other restrictions that led me to switch... it was the underpowered hardware and the old version of Android.

    If they had made this change 6 months ago, before I bought my Nexus, I might have reconsidered. But honestly I think Google's offering is a bette

  • ...installing Kindle for Android....

    .
  • We bought a Nabi 2 tablet for our 8 year old as a replacement for a cheap low end and quickly broken tablet. I just assumed it worked with google play but didnt look into it before we bought it. Turns out it wont unless it's rooted, although you 'can' install it from an apk it wont work. They have their own app site they want you to rebuy all your apps from. That was kind of a pain since we already had bought a bunch of games and apps from google over the years. So I end up downloaded apk's from a pirate s
  • It's hard to tell people they need to "root" their phones to run F-Droid:

    http://f-droid.org

    And it's particularly unfortunate in light of the fairly dire need for open source apps to get popularized on phones.  Much less risk of malware.
  • I was in a B&N store a few months ago and I overheard a conversation between a sales clerk and an older couple that went like this:
    Customer: "So I can run apps on this?"
    Sales clerk: "No, this is just for reading books."
    Customer: "Oh, okay" and they walk away.

    B&N has fixed that problem. That's a good thing.

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