Monday, 6 May 2013

Nook HD and HD+ get Google Play: The best Android tablets ever?

Nook HD and HD+ get Google Play: The best Android tablets ever?
US bookseller Barnes & Nobles is being very generous this week. After slashing the cost of its entry-level e-reader to just £29, it’s now adding Google’s all important Play app store to its Nook HD and HD+ Android tablets. Has B&N just turned the Nook into the best value Android tablet yet?
We’ve always loved the beautiful hardware, low price tag and absolutely stunning displays on the Nook HD and HD+, but as we originally said in our reviews of the pair, they were crippled by the absence of Google’s key Android services and the Play store and its 700,000 apps. Instead, you had to make do with their own Nook store, which had less on its virtual shelves than a communist supermarket – sure, it had Netflix, but there no Google Maps or Grand Theft Auto.
A new software update changes that: Barnes & Noble is rolling out Google Play to both tablets right now, as well as Gmail, Google Maps and all of Google’s other essential standard Android apps. That doesn’t just give them a one up over Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD line, which also lack all of Google Play’s apps: with their pin-sharp HD screens they might just have overtaken the £159 Google Nexus 7 as our favourite budget tablet. Rest assured we’ll be going back to the pair and checking them out again to see if it changes their G-rating.
The update’s an admission of failure on Barnes & Noble’s part, perhaps, but it’s one that benefits all of us. The update is rolling out today, and if you fancy getting in on the action, you can pick up a seven-inch Nook HD for just £129 for a limited time, and the Nook HD+ for £179.

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