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Kindle Fire rival Kobo Vox gets Google Play

The Kobo Vox, rival to the Amazon Kindle Fire, now has official Google apps and access to thousands of apps and games from Google Play.

The Kobo Vox, rival to the Amazon Kindle Fire, just got more interesting: it now has access to thousands of apps and games from Google Play.

The Vox, a 7-inch Android multimedia tablet that beat the Kindle Fire to the UK, can now download apps from Google's official app store. Google Play, formerly known as the Android Market, is home to more than 500,000 apps and games, as well as music and movies.

And now it's got Google Play, the Vox also gets proper Gmail, YouTube, Google Maps, Google Calendar and Google Contacts apps.

The reason the Vox didn't previously have Google Play and official apps is that those are the bits of Android that aren't free. Android is an open-source operating system that any technology company can stick in its kit for nothing, but access to the official app store and other Google-branded apps requires paying for a licence.

That's why many cheap tablets don't include these features -- so when you're buying an Android tablet and you spot a bargain, look out for whether the tablet can actually download apps.

For current Kobo Vox users, Google Play is automatically included in a software update the next time you connect your Vox to the Internet.

Click play on our video below to see the Vox in action:

Now playing: Watch this: Kobo Vox

Kobo is the company behind the affordable ebook reader rivals to the Amazon Kindle, which are sold in WH Smith among other places. One advantage of the Kobo range is they can get ebooks from the library, which the Kindle can't do.

Amazon's Kindle Fire is a hugely popular 7-inch tablet that's taken the US by storm. The Fire hasn't made it to the UK yet, but reports suggest it's on its way.

Do you have a Kobo Vox, or are you tempted now the Vox has extra Google goodness? Tell me your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page.