Following significant price cuts to its ereaders and tablet earlier this week, Barnes & Noble has now added access to the Google Play store on its Nook HD tablets making them an even more enticing prospect.
Last year saw the battle for the 7in tablet market intensified greatly. We saw the launch of the Google Nexus 7, the Amazon Kindle Fire HD, the iPad mini and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2.0. Into this mix came a relatively unknown entrant (to UK consumers at least) in the form of the Barnes & Noble Nook HD.
Barnes & Noble made a big move into the UK market in 2012, launching a range of ereaders and tablets at various price points, but despite generally good reviews in the media (here included) sales haven't been stellar, with the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD dominating the budget end of the market.
The American bookseller however is not taking this lying down. Earlier this week it announced a dramatic cut in price to its ereaders and tablets (those this is a limited offer) and today has announced that it will be adding access to Google services like the Play store, Gmail, Maps and Search through its Nook HD and Nook HD+ tablets.
William Lynch, chief executive officer of Barnes & Noble said: "Now with access to more than 700,000 apps and the best reading experience available, both are must-see products for entertainment lovers looking for high-quality tablets at incredibly low prices."
Until now, users of the Nook tablets had to make do with content from Barnes & Noble's own online stores which meant the number of apps available was severely limited. Amazon has a similar model, offering no access to Google Play or Google's servcies and routing all purchases and downloads through its web of app, book and music stores.
As well as cutting the price of its ereaders as part of the Get London Reading literacy initiative, the company has also temporarily slashed the price of the Nook tablets, with the 7in Nook HD now costing just £129 (£159) while the larger 9in Nook HD+ costs just £179 (down from £229).
At £129 the Nook HD with its market-leading display and easy-to-use interface will be an enticing prospect for those looking to buy a smaller tablet, as it under-cuts the price of the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD significantly.
While all new Nook's sold will come with Google Play pre-installed, those who already own a Nook HD in the UK won't miss out. Google Play and the other Google services will be available to all existing Nook HD and Nook HD+ customers in the UK through an automatic over-the-air update that will roll out to all devices connected to Wi-Fi, beginning today, 3 May.
It is unclear if Barnes & Noble can make a significant impact on the tablet market in the UK, as it doesn't have the same brand awareness and customer base as it does in the US, but the combination of price cuts and access to a greater variety of apps certainly won't hurt its chances.