Nook HD and HD+ get Google Play to go with price drop

Barnes & Noble's two tablets now have access to Google Play, and all the apps therein... including the Kindle app.

Barnes & Noble has dropped the price of its Nook ebook tablets, also granting its literary gadgets access to Google's Play store and all the apps therein... including the Kindle app.

Accompanying a significant £29 price slash for the Nook ereader, the 7-inch Nook HD -- which we reviewed in November -- now costs £129, while the larger Nook HD+ has a new £179 price tag.

As of today, an over-the-air update to Nook HD and Nook HD+ will put Google Play on these tablets, as well as Google's Chrome browser. That will make both devices much more useful, as previously you were limited to the apps that Barnes & Noble had squeezed onto its bespoke app store.

Access to Google's full-to-bursting store grants owners access to a tonne more apps and games, and gives the Nook an advantage over Amazon's Kindle Fire HD, which also lacks Play access -- unless you fancy a bit of adventurous tinkering, that is.

The Nook tablets lack a camera and GPS powers, so apps that rely on these features won't work. You should still get access to Android favourites like iPlayer and BBC News though, and get access to the Facebook app, which was notably absent when we penned our review.

The move frees up Nook owners to buy movies, music and video from sources other than Barnes & Noble, including major rival Amazon, whose Kindle app grants access to a treasure trove of ebooks.

I asked company MD Jim Hilt whether the company was worried about losing cash through these rival apps, and was told that Barnes & Noble's own app store would be "used by Nook users independent of whether they used Google Play."

Do you own a Nook tablet? Are you tempted now that you get Google Play and a cut-down price, or would you rather own a Nexus 7? Let me know in the comments, or on our well-read Facebook wall.

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