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B&N May Have Added Google Play to the Nook HD, But Nothing Really Changed

ht_nook_hd_ll_120925_wg[1]Did you catch the news earlier today?

B&N surprised the blogosphere with the news that the Nook HD and Nook HD+ could now be updated with Google Play. These media devices now had access to over 700,000 apps as well as ebooks, movies, music, and more.

At first glance this is great news, and it’s being hailed as a sign that B&N was knocking down the wall on the B&N Android garden, that B&N was aiming for tablet domination, and that B&N was turning the Nook hardware into Android tablets with some impressive features.

But as great as this might sound for B&N, it’s all smoke and mirrors. There is a subtext to today’s news that I don’t think anyone has reported just yet and it changes everything.

In spite of what you might think, B&N hasn’t changed any of their policies.

I learned today that B&N still acts like the Nook platform is their own walled garden. That is what B&N believed in 2011 (it’s why I returned my Nook Tablet) and it is still what they believe today.

My discovery happened almost by accident. A few hours ago a reader asked me to confirm that I could sideload apps on my HD+. He wanted to make sure that the Nook HD+ was truly an open device and the equal of other Android tablets on the market.

It’s not. Much to my surprise, B&N still has the sideloading of apps blocked.

As a test case, I tried to download an app from the OverDrive website. When I tried to install the app, I got the same "installation blocked" message that I have gotten before. I then tried to install apps from the 1Mobile app store, but was forcibly redirected to Google Play. If there was no corresponding app then all I got was a Google Play error message.

B&N has always blocked the sideloading of apps, and that installation option is still blocked now. Furthermore, I checked with B&N and they have no plans to remove the block.

In spite of the fact that the Nook HD gained access to Google Play today, B&N is still restricting where you can get content. Nook HD owners are only allowed to buy content from the sources that B&N decides to let them access, whether it is the Nook Store, the Nook App Store, or Google Play. That means that all that B&N did today was to open up another gate in their walled garden; they most certainly did not tear down the walls.

Needless to say, this is not good news for the Nook platform.

The same folks who have mismanaged the Nook platform over the past couple years are still in charge at B&N, and all external signs say that B&N is still following the same policies that got them into this mess.

Don’t get me wrong, I think the Nook platform can be saved. But the first step is to make fundamental changes in how B&N operates. Barnes & Noble needs to stop making the same mistakes and repeating the same errors that cost them market share and resulted in a huge stack of unsold gadgets.

And no, adding Google Play does not represent a fundamental shift in policy.

Okay, having a new source of content is going to make the Nook platform more appealing to users, yes, but that will only last for a short period of time. At some point in the not too distant future the Nook HD will have as much market appeal as it did yesterday. The folks in charge of B&N will see to it, I bet.

I cannot see that B&N has made any fundamental changes just yet, and until they do I will not hold out any hope for the Nook.

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Cookie May 3, 2013 um 9:29 pm

I am confused. They are restricting what apps or media you can buy within the Google Store. I would think to be Google Play certified you have to allow everything to be bought.

Jimmy Suggs May 3, 2013 um 9:29 pm

I can honestly say that access to Google Play eliminates 99.9% of my need to sideload.

I don’t particularly think that access to google play will save the Nook, but I also don’t think lack of the ability to sideload will deter people seeking a good, actually viable Android tablet.

Though it WILL deter people seeking to install pirated apps, since I think that’s what a lot of people use sideloading for. Not everyone, of course. But it’s rather rampant.

Cookie May 3, 2013 um 9:32 pm

If they are restricting just sideloading, that wouldn´t stop me from buying.

Brian May 3, 2013 um 10:16 pm

The addition of Google Play gets me the apps I need/want. Would it be nice if they allowed sideloading? Yes, but for me personally I can’t remember the last time I had to sideload an app. Technically you can sideload apps via ADB, but it’s more fooling around then I usually want to do.

Maybe they’re trying to keep Amazon’s app store off of their devices? Because while you could sideload the Amazon store via ADB you can’t download and install any apps from it that way. (I really don’t know what their thoughts are)

Dlbroox May 3, 2013 um 11:03 pm

You’re really ridiculous with your hate on Barnes and Noble. Isn’t this one of the things you’ve complained about forever? How is this any different than any other tablet now that they are bringing on Google Play? They are also improving the web browser to Chrome and opening up all that Google has to offer with maps, mail , music, movies, YouTube…where’s the walled garden now? They retain their own store and add more options. So you can’t sideload pirated apps. Who cares when you have access to every other thing out there.

And, they have the best screen available for reading. The high def anti-glare is brilliant.

It’s a shame more people don’t know how nice a machine this thing is. But you go ahead and keep hating on them.

Nate Hoffelder May 3, 2013 um 11:08 pm

"How is this any different than any other tablet now that they are bringing on Google Play?"

Seriously, how can you ask that? I explained how the Nook HD is different from other Android tablets. Maybe you should have read the post before posting this nonsensical comment.

Dlbroox May 4, 2013 um 8:41 am

I read your article. And I own multiple tablets and gadgets both Apple and Android I can say from experience that now that the HD has Google Play it is comparable to any other android tablet. It has a shell that makes it look different from another tablet, but that does not cripple the functionality now that Play is available. It even downloaded all my Play apps once the software was updated, just like any other tablet would.

Now actually, I have the best of both worlds. I have an exceptionally good reader and I have any other apps I want. I can now read my kindle purchases on this reader, play netflix, YouTube and do anything else I want to do. Even the widgets work seamlessly.

If you had one instead of just read about it maybe you would see the thing works just like any other tablet on the market right now.

There are two things I don’t understand. Why you hate Barnes and Noble and why I read your blog at all.

Nate Hoffelder May 4, 2013 um 8:55 am

"If you had one instead of just read about it maybe you would see the thing works just like any other tablet on the market right now."

You must have missed the point where I said that I tried to download an app on to my Nook HD+. It didn’t work.

And the issue of whether the Nook HD works like other Android tablets was not the point of this post. My point is that B&N has not changed their policies. The folks who ran the business into the ground are still in charge and still operating the same way.

Dlbroox May 4, 2013 um 10:01 am

You’re just not making any sense to me. I’ve just sat here using the thing for the last two hours and it’s amazing. I have the best of both worlds now. I no longer need the sd card I was running to get Play. I have everything I’d want in both a reader and a tablet.

So how is it that B& N is not trying to better themselves? They’ve opened up the reader and made it a full on tablet with one software upgrade. Are you pissed because you can’t sideload some obscure app? iPhones are known to be a walled garden too. That’s why people jailbreak. What is it you want?

Nate Hoffelder May 4, 2013 um 7:40 pm

" They’ve opened up the reader and made it a full on tablet with one software upgrade."

See, that is where everyone is wrong. The nook platform is still B&N’s walled garden.

"What is it you want?"

I want to do what I have already done. My goal was simply to point out that B&N is still following the same policies that got them into this mess.

Reyn December 5, 2013 um 1:28 pm

NO, that’s false, you tried to SIDELOAD an app. Do you really think I, or most users care about sideloading? Really? I got my Nook HD+ the week after they allowed google play, and I have zero problems with it. I enjoy it although I still prefer paper books, because it allows me to have applications to do various things. Maybe that’s just me, but that’s the way it is.

Nana1940 May 6, 2013 um 10:48 am

I agree with you completely Dibroox. Nate Hoffelder must not know how to load apps or did something incorrectly. I , like you, loaded several apps last night and had a great time doing it. I think that Barnes and Noble made a wise move in getting Google and Google Play with all of the apps, music, cheaper movies to rent or buy-I was able to download the Kndle App from Google Play onto my Nook HD-the best of both worlds.
How cool is that!
The great thing about the Nook HD are the magazines and catalogs that can be downloaded and put into seperate folders.
I have the best of both worlds now-A wonderful ereader and a great android tablet that with Barnes and Nobles help will not get those nasty viruses.

Rob May 16, 2013 um 3:28 pm

I went out and bought a new Nook HD+ right after teh Google Play announcement was made. — One of the best tablet purchases I’ve made and I have owned several. I could care less about side loading an app — been there, done that, and it’s not worth the effort.

With Google Play included, I now have a tablet that performs flawlessly and does everything I have asked it to do. The specs on the HD+ are top notch. I am extremely satisfied. I use Chrome on my Nook HD+ and it has, to date, performed perfectly as advertised — same as it does on any other tablet or smart phone I’ve used.

Raj May 16, 2013 um 5:16 pm

Hi Rob, just out of curiosity, are you buying ebooks from Nook on their tablet, or are you buying them from Google or Amazon? Wondering if B&N opening up their tablets is also helping them with ebook sales, or only helping them with hardware sales.


TeDoney July 24, 2013 um 5:53 pm

could you possibly tell me how exactly you gotthem to download? ive been trying to download a few scince i got my HD+ a few weeks ago and they ont download. sorry if your th wrongprson to sk but how?

Hank October 20, 2014 um 9:34 pm

I have found many apps on google play that are not available on nook HD. Yet if I boot to the SD card 4.3.1, google play apps are useable! Nook os is still the culprit!

Bill June 30, 2013 um 1:25 pm

What app are you trying to install? I have yet had a problem installing any apps.

Nate Hoffelder June 30, 2013 um 3:49 pm

Apps not found in Google Play.

Tek May 9, 2013 um 11:01 pm

Wouldn’t side loading apps be useful for when you switch devices? If you legally paid for the app and saved onto an SD card why not have the ability to move the app over to the new device with all your configurations and information intact. I agree that the NOOKHD is a great piece of hardware, but there is still too much control going on. Don’t forget your also limited by the hardware, because there are no cameras on the Nook HD, you wont be able to access any of the picture, scanner, facetime apps on the Google Play store. Skype would be nice because the NOOK HD comes with a mic, but as far as I know Skype will not be accessible. Also will we be able to download from AMAZON? Probably not, just another way B&N prevents us from finding the best deals on the markets. I honestly don’t know why B&N wants to be so restrictive with DRM rights…it’s a losing battle. They sure go out of there way to fool people with NOOK STUDY, making seem as if purchasing textbooks for school will be accessible on the NOOK, but it’s not. NOOK HD will not read texts, you can’t download even from B&N.

AndrewM June 17, 2013 um 3:57 pm

This is my main gripe. I bought a ton of apps for my Android phone through the Amazon App Store that I cannot download to my Nook HD Plus. There are no issues with sharing apps purchased in the Google Play Store among devices.

Reyn December 5, 2013 um 1:31 pm

That’s odd, all of my apps (all mine are legal) loaded automatically, I’m not sure why you had a problem. It took a while and 10% of battery, but it did it.

fjtorres May 3, 2013 um 11:12 pm

It sounds like they might be getting a (small?) cut of Nook Play revenue from Google.

Logan Kennelly May 4, 2013 um 12:00 am

Yeesh, so many words for such a misleading conclusion…

Since day one, the Nook HD and HD+ have allowed sideloading in the traditional sense: via a cable hooked up to your computer. This is intentional and is fully documented by B&N.

I think they disabled the UI for installing applications from downloads, but I bet someone out there has released an application to set this option.

You’ll probably then complain that sideloaded applications are second tier and you have to hit a button to see them, but B&N also allow you to install your own launcher, so…

Nate Hoffelder May 4, 2013 um 6:41 am

"the Nook HD and HD+ have allowed sideloading in the traditional sense"

You think using ADB is a traditional method for installing apps? That is a new one for me.

flyingtoastr May 4, 2013 um 9:15 am

ADB was the original way to sideload apps for Android in general – the APK sideload install system is far newer by comparison.

Nate Hoffelder May 4, 2013 um 11:56 am

That is something I had not heard before. I’ve had Android devices since 2009 and I have never hear ADB being described as the mainstream way to install apps (after Android Market, of course). And given how the ADB method is technically complicated I don’t see how it could be a widely used method for installing Android apps.

Logan Kennelly May 4, 2013 um 11:25 am

Sideloading is generally understood to be the process of connecting your device to your computer to copy things to your device. It sounds exactly like what the Nook supports. (Sure, we have Box and Dropbox and Google Drive these days, but that wasn’t/isn’t always true.)

Feel free to install Amazon or GetJar if you want. I’m pretty sure it won’t stop you.

As far as I can tell, enabling on-device installation requires root (which is a further hurdle). You can do it (there are plenty of places that document how), but most people probably won’t bother and will see little utility in doing so.

Nate Hoffelder May 4, 2013 um 11:38 am

"Feel free to install Amazon or GetJar if you want. I’m pretty sure it won’t stop you."

Tried it. Didn’t work. There is a version of the 1Mobile app store in Google Play and I was able to install it, but I could not install any of the apps from that app store. B&N blocked me.

"As far as I can tell, enabling on-device installation requires root"

Nope. For most Android devices all you have to do is uncheck a box in the settings menu.

Logan Kennelly May 4, 2013 um 12:17 pm

"Tried it. Didn’t work."

Interesting. I’ve never tried one of the alternate stores, but I’m a little surprised that they would use the built-in application manager to install. I’ll have to give it a try.

"Nope. For most Android devices all you have to do is uncheck a box in the settings menu."

I mean in this specific case where it simply isn’t in the UI. AT&T used to release most of their phones with the UI disabled, and I couldn’t find any non-root methods of enabling third-party applications.

Nate Hoffelder May 4, 2013 um 12:20 pm

I think I need to elaborate.

Any attempt to install an app from 1Mobile was redirected to Google Play. If there was no corresponding app then all I got was a Google Play error message.

That type of behavior is not something I have seen before on other Android devices.

Jimmy Suggs May 4, 2013 um 1:52 am

The difference between the Nook and many other android tablets is that the nook is a far better made device that delivers more bang for the buck.

The ONE shortcoming is that you cannot sideload apps, but as far as I can tell, the only reason people needed to sideload apps- was because there was no access to google play. Now that that’s been rectified, I don’t really know why anyone would need to sideload, unless they’re an app developer and they want to test their apps or something. Or if they’re seeking to install pirated apps from one of the many, many, many sites that widely distribute them to people who don’t like to pay app developers for their hard work.

The fact is that 99% of the people are probably more than satisfied with not being able to sideload, now that they have google play access. All those other app stores (including Amazon) are really just places people go when they have no google play access. Now that they do on the Nook- they’re likely to be quite satisfied. It’s not a perfect product and it’s not for everyone, but B&N just leveled the playing field drastically and that’s not something their detractors are going to take kindly to.

luis July 11, 2013 um 3:02 am

The Nook hd belongs to a company dedicated to sell digital content. They’re in for the money. They offer us a good quality product, they’re own market place, the google play and on top of that, brick and mortar stores where people like my mom can get assistance if something goes wrong. If I am going to give warranty on a well made device, my minimum precaution would be to prevent sideloading apps that I have no control on they’re behavior nor the integration with the hardware. I understood that since day one. Why can’t you?

Mary Shade July 11, 2013 um 6:30 am

@ Louis….question for you. B&N has opened Google’s Play Store to their readers on their devices. Great! But why restrict what Google offers? There are apps that many android users use and would like to continue using. This sweet little device has so much potential…why restrict what it can do? If B&N is serious about jumping into the tablet market and running with the big dogs then why not open their product up to its fullest potential? Warranty or not, I bought this device because I found out the Play Store is included. Now I find out that not all the apps (some of which I use) are available on my Nook HD…..why??? This is my device. I paid for it and I want to use it the way I see fit.

Reyn December 5, 2013 um 1:36 pm

Seems like it has full potential to me, I enjoy it – use my apps on it – and I have not been blocked from anything at all. But of course I don’t pirate, therefore I don’t sideload. Maybe that’s the diff.

Eric Welch May 4, 2013 um 9:53 am

I’m curious as to what app you had to have that was not available through the Google Play store that you just had to have and could only sideload. I have several Kindle devices as well as a Nook HD+, Nook tablet, and Nexus 7. The two Nook devices I rooted with N2A cards making them very nice tablets. This access to Google Play, IMHO, makes them just as good or better than many other pure Android tablets. I don’t think I’ve ever needed to sideload an app so I’m curious which one you found so important.

Thomas May 4, 2013 um 10:39 am

There are a number of emulators that aren’t available through Google Play. Oddly enough, other ones are available.

Antonio May 21, 2013 um 3:37 pm

Thomas, just curious, what kind of emulators? (ipad emulator?)


Juli Monroe May 21, 2013 um 3:47 pm

I don’t know which ones he’s referring too, but I have a Game Boy Advance emulator side-loaded to my Nexus 7, which obviously I can’t install on my Nook HD. A decent DS emulator is in Google Play, though, so it’s inconsistent, like he said.

Thomas May 21, 2013 um 9:32 pm

Game system emulators, like NESoid. When I first got my tablet, I tried running a few of the recommended ones. I found out that a touchscreen makes a lousy controller for that kind of thing and went back to my PSP.

Eric Welch May 4, 2013 um 12:11 pm

I’ll reply to myself. There are bigger problems with the 2.1 update than GooglePlay, the biggest being, as far as I can tell, in order to get access to your books, you must load the Nook Android app which would be OK except that when I try to load it, I get the message already installed but I can’t seem to access it. In order to get Aldiko sync to work correctly you have to root it or load the earlier version and 2.1 won’t let you do that. 2.1 is clunky and not ready for prime time if you ask me, but with much tweaking and some updates, I suppose it will be competition to other Android tablets or Kindle tables. For now, though, I agree with Nate, it has a long way to go, just not for the reasons he mentions.

Logan Kennelly May 4, 2013 um 12:25 pm

It sounds like there was a problem with your update. I didn’t have to install anything extra to read books: that is a standard feature that continues to be included. I pull up books through the Library interface as before, and books can be read by merely selecting them.

It is a little unfair to blame B&N for Aldiko’s decision to block the Aldiko Sync application. It isn’t specific to the Nook platform, and Aldiko decided to upset their customers through spite or ignorance.

I wouldn’t really describe the update as clunky. It mostly looks and operates as it did before, but it now includes the Google suite of applications. I happen to enjoy the book-first interface as that’s why I bought the Nook. Running an alternate launcher (like Apex) it looks and performs like most Android tablets (except with differently styled buttons).

The only part I’ve found "clunky" would be the multitask key which takes about a second to come up. This isn’t new, however.

Eric Welch May 5, 2013 um 9:11 am

Indeed, there may have been. I finally got it going but only by downloading the update, switching to MTP mode (nothing on the B&N site I could find explained that camera mode would not permit copying files) and then deregistering the device, doing a factory reset, and reregistering after the update. It’s a nice update once it’s installed properly.

Dlbroox May 4, 2013 um 12:43 pm

You don’t need to load the nook app because it’s part of the original interface. The same message pops up if you download netflix. Do you want the one that is already installed with the HD or the one that comes from Play?

I don’t think the interface is clunky at all. It’s primary reason for existence is as a reader and Play is the icing on the cake. Now, I can even download an ePub from Dropbox and tell it where to store it on the nook and read it from the Reader app. It can even be stored in the folder where other purchases go so it lands on that shelf too. You could never do that before. So you don’t need to sideload books. You could always download from the web to the nook, but now the folder structure is more visible. It’s a nice touch.

Listen, I don’t have any vested interest in anybody liking nook or using one, but it’s a really great reader. I’ve never seen a screen as good as this one to read by. The resolution coupled with the non glare glass makes it easy to read without seeing yourself in the glass. And now with Play, I can read my Kindle purchases and have a few extra widgets and apps that make the thing even more enjoyable. For the price, you can’t beat it.

Roseanne December 28, 2013 um 11:15 am

There is an app called Celtic Live. It offers matchday updates, chat etc and is a free app. It is only available for download by clicking a link on the Celtic FC web site. When I tried to install it on my new Android 4.1 phone, I had to tick a box to allow apps from unknown sources and it worked fine.

I am trying to install the same app on my dad’s new Nook HD tablet. It downloads fine but blocks installation for some reason. There are Celtic apps on google play but they are not the same as this one.

I don’t like the look of the sideloading options via the PC. I’m quite techminded but not that techminded. I’m still looking for options but any ideas would be useful.

burger flipper May 4, 2013 um 12:02 pm

I haven’t side loaded an app since my Pandigital Novel gave up the ghost. And the only reason I side loaded then was because I couldn’t access google’s store.

I have no idea why this would be a practical issue.

I wouldn’t bet on the Nook to stick around, but as I mentioned in your last post, that 150 dollar deal last week in now an absolute steal.

burger flipper May 4, 2013 um 12:07 pm

On quick reflection I guess I can think of 2 practical draw backs. People who like to buy "humble bundles" and those who like the free (cr)app a day from Amazon are still on the outside looking in.

Juli Monroe May 4, 2013 um 2:33 pm

I wouldn’t mind sideloading an emulator that isn’t available in the app store, but it’s not big deal. That’s what my Nexus 7 is for. There is one app I "bought" (as a free app of the day over at Amazon–when the apps were still occasionally good) and I may decide to re-buy it for the Nook, but I can also live without it.

My biggest gripe is the lack of third-party keyboard support. No Swype on my Nook HD, which means my Nexus 7 will continue to be my workhorse. But reading on the HD is great. I’d missed the stock Nook reader since I sold my old Nook Color.

Logan Kennelly May 4, 2013 um 3:30 pm

It has third-party keyboard support. Swype has chosen not to support the Nook HD, but Swiftkey and Jelly Bean Keyboard (a Google Play release of the Android 4.2 keyboard) work and support swipe input.

I actually think the new Jelly Bean Keyboard is almost as good as Swype. It lacks a few shortcuts that make Swype useful, but it’s far from unusable.

Juli Monroe May 4, 2013 um 4:43 pm

Thanks, Logan. I hadn’t caught that yet. I just downloaded the free one-month trial of Swiftkey. Swipe input will make me very happy!

Jad May 5, 2013 um 1:07 am

Side loading would be nice butt I wouldn’t say that nothing changed. Having the Play Store available has made me abandon the afn card I was using. I get the solid Nook reader and features along with my Play Store apps, I’m fine with that compromise since the only way that I’m being affected is with the humble bundle app. I can’t sideload it so I can’t install and run the humble android apps. Outside of that I’m happy.

Andrys May 5, 2013 um 2:51 am

I agree with Jimmy Suggs that the main reason bookstore-tablet owners went to other sites was that they couldn’t go to Google Play to do a normal app download.

The app Nate tried to get was from Overdrive — but isn’t that available at Google Play? (I haven’t looked.)

It’s a huge boon to be able to just download direct from Google Play if you bought a bookstore-tablet to get the special features offer by that store. I agree that B&N/Microsoft have Amazon at a disadvantage there.

While I can direct download to the Kindle Fire tablets (not really a 'side'-load) from any store (except google’s) and install non-Amazon apps with no problems (because Amazon’s device does have the regular Android check box to allow installation of non-Amazon apps), I’d prefer to just be able to go to google play for anything Amazon doesn’t have at its app store, where apps have been 'vetted' by Amazon for compatability and malware.

Now that B&N allows access to google play (their own store cannot begin to compete even with Amazon’s), they have a major advantage with consumers who don’t want to have to go to other stores because they’ve no idea which ones are considered vigilant enough with the android apps they offer.

lsgyrl May 20, 2013 um 5:36 pm

The Overdrive app is available from Barnes and Noble and Google Play Stores. The instructions to download were on B&N’s site. I use Overdrive to download and read ebooks checked out from my library on my HD+.

Andrys May 5, 2013 um 5:49 am

Of possible interest, I see that 36owpro says:

"Typically Google requires official Android devices with the full app store to preload Google’s own suite of apps, including Gmail, YouTube, Google Play Music and Chrome.

As such, Barnes & Noble had to remove some of its own apps to gain access, including its own music app…"

Now I see possible reasons Amazon doesn’t have access to GooglePlay. Can’t imagine it removing its own music app. B&N really had not much of an ecosystem to give up, which is why it makes sense to go this route now that they’re not selling well. But that does leave Amazon in a bit of a fix.

Nook de Alta Definición acepta a Google Play May 5, 2013 um 12:27 pm

[…] Fuente – The Digital Reader […]

Adam May 6, 2013 um 6:56 pm

This post is waaaaay over the top. Nothing has changed? Hardly. You can now access every app, movie, book, and magazine from the google play store (assuming it is compatible). Acting like this isn’t a giant step forward is just wrong.

Adding the ability to side load apps would be neat, but I’m a heavy Android user and I’ve only side loaded a handful of apps in the last 6 or so years. If I couldn’t do it I wouldn’t really miss it. Plus, if you really absolutely have to do it, you can root. The nook still isn’t as open as, say, a Nexus tablet, but it is miles ahead of where it was less than a week ago.

Raj May 7, 2013 um 6:20 pm

Now that the dust has settled, can anyone confirm that Nook HD/HD+ tablet owners can indeed use rival apps from the Google Play store, namely Google’s ebook app and the Kindle app? Or was B&N at least able to negotiate the exclusion of these rival apps? They didn’t have much to lose from enabling Google Play except in this respect.

I’m sure most Nook tablet owners will continue buying their ebooks from B&N, just out of habit and since they already have a library of Nook ebooks, but the availability of these rival ebook apps could cause some erosion over time.


Nate Hoffelder May 7, 2013 um 6:22 pm

You can install and use competing reading apps, yes.

Raj May 7, 2013 um 6:31 pm

Thanks, Nate. I wonder what their main business motivation is… Doesn’t seem to me that staying in the tablet business makes sense long-term, whereas at least their ebook business has a relatively sticky base of users who generate recurring revenues. Perhaps they really needed to clear out old inventory.

I also wonder if Amazon will follow suit. Seems like the consumer wants open platform and ebook sellers will eventually have to compete on their own merits, not ownership of the device.

Jad May 7, 2013 um 6:46 pm

Well modern tablets are considered to be spy devices by some. Maybe B&N wants to know what its' current users like to do while they prepare a new tablet release. They also need units in peoples hands, the more they have out in the wild the more they can try to upsell people on books. I get most of my books from Play but that’s followed very closely by B&N, I hope that they start offering discounts for ebooks with a physical book purchase. I’d do all of my book buying from them if they ever did that.

Logan Kennelly May 7, 2013 um 7:22 pm

I don’t buy Nook books "out of habit". I choose Nook because it’s a better book format, better DRM (although I’d obviously prefer without), and a better reading experience.

There are things Amazon does better, such as a unified wish list, synchronization of personal content (although this has little to do with where I purchase), and occasionally cheaper prices. (especially their ridiculous Audible promotions right now). They’ve also been really good about catching up to B&N’s strengths in the last year.

So far I’ve found Google Books to simply be obnoxious. It’s probably the farthest from me owning books that I’ve seen, and they don’t support sideloading.

So it isn’t momentum that keeps me with Nook. They simply offer the product I want at a reasonable price. (The same could probably be said for Kobo and a few others, but you’ve got to pick one…)

dennis September 6, 2013 um 4:15 pm

the Kindle app was installed on my nook by the Nook rep the last time I went into the
B&N store.

Shelly May 7, 2013 um 11:19 pm

I agree with the article. The Walled Garden is bigger now and has lots and lots of nice flowers, maybe as many as you could want. But if you’ve already invested in other app stores on more open devices (amazon) then you may apps that you have no way to get to your device. Also if you don’t already have the flash player in your collection, you are out of luck – no sideloading of an alternate flash resource to work with Mozilla or another flash supporting browser. While it is much better than any previous nook that has been around, it still is BN – horrible CS, shelving issues, locking up and having to re-register your device,billing issues – those are the things that aren’t going to go away. I think the addition of the Play store saved the ship for now, but there is still some water coming in.

B&N libera Google Play para Nook HD | – notícias e opiniões sobre ebooks, livrarias e o mercado do ebook – May 8, 2013 um 8:50 pm

[…] acordo com uma análise do The Digital Reader, essa medida deixou de fora um ponto fundamental: a B&N não mudou as suas políticas de uso em […]

Scott Smith May 9, 2013 um 3:32 pm

I just got a B/N HD yesterday (May 8), because I learned it had the google play store now. Well, it works okay, but one app that I really hoped would work was a local TV station weather app – ABC 3340 weather. It works on my droid bionic phone, not on a Coby Kyros 7035 (I got for free from my wife’s company), and now…not on my HD. I get a message that says while attempting to install, something to the effect of "can’t install". There may be a problem with that app running on tablets in general, I don’t know?
BTW, I did install OverDrive DMZ and have used it to d/l and am reading a borrowed library book – so that part worked.

Logan Kennelly May 9, 2013 um 5:39 pm

It is probably going to fail with any device that doesn’t have a GPS. It’s not that the application can’t work, but it is pretty easy to write it in such a way that it won’t.

I would try contacting the developer.

Penny May 13, 2013 um 8:27 am

You can easily get the nook hd+ to side load apps. Nook is a great tablet and with the addition of Google Play many people do not need to sideload anymore. But..I wanted xbmc and that is only able to be sideloaded at the moment because it is still in developement. Go to this website Download the following file and follow the directions to make a bootable sdcard with the image from the zip. After that…put the NookHD-HDplus-Extras-rev3-(05.06.13).zip onto that bootable sdcard that you made. Now boot and install "extras" zip. No root needed and you can sideload your apps. No need to bash a tablet…just need to do some research.

Nate Hoffelder May 13, 2013 um 9:01 am

I think we have different definitions of "easy". Your method is far too complex to be called "easy".

Penny May 13, 2013 um 8:29 am

"Download the following file and follow the directions to make a bootable sdcard with the image from the zip."

Should have had this file following it:

lolo May 13, 2013 um 4:27 pm

Is it me or google play doesn’t work at all. I have been trying to download apps and I can’t find my nooknhd device . Someone help please

Rozanne May 13, 2013 um 9:42 pm

I am so in need of help. I have this device and recently had the Google Chrome updated to my Nook. I now have no flash player. No videos or anything will load. It tells me I have to add the flash player. Then when I try downloading it, I get a message that my device isn’t supported for a flash player. WTF? Everything was fine before. Is there a way to fix this?? If I disable the Chrome software I cannot access the internet and I really hate it. If I reset to the factory settings will I lose my content? (books, magazines, etc.) I would love it if someone had an answer! Thanks!

Nate Hoffelder May 13, 2013 um 9:45 pm

I’ve read a number of complaints about Chrome and Flash on the Nook HD.

I’m told that one way around this problem is to (1) download the dolphin browser from Google Play and (2) set the browser to pretend to be a desktop web browser.

oj829 May 14, 2013 um 3:36 am

Chrome for Android doesn’t use plugins, and *especially* Flash, as they’ll happily tell you.

The old NookHD browser supported Flash through a plugin (helpfully called "Browser plugin") which you couldn’t find in a search of the Nook app store, but which could be downloaded if you jumped through the right hoops. But of course, that’s moot because as you have noticed – the B&N browser is now GONE – along with the Flash support and Article View.

So look for an alternative browser as Nate has suggested (I have no strong feelings on Dolphin, personally).

Nate was given a very hard time about wanting to install sideloaded apps not available in Google Play, as if only a pirate would wish to do so. Well, Adobe is still releasing updates to the flash plugin for Android through ICS on their website even though it’s not published "officially" – has to be sideloaded.

Tubemate, my preferred YouTube video grabber, has to be sideloaded because Google won’t allow it in Play.

Before they went "pro", my preferred PDF reader (APV) was open source and only available as a sideload.

I initially found it hard to resist getting my own Nook HD for $149 (that SCREEN! that weight!), but my husband’s has produced SO MANY practical headaches, that I let the deadline pass without biting. No sideloading == dead end.

Nate Hoffelder February 18, 2014 um 5:19 pm

I was scrolling through this today when I noticed your comment. I couldn’t help you when you left it but I can now.

Go to this post. Read the addendum on Flash and the Nook HD:

jsrail August 12, 2014 um 1:34 am

I had a problem playing videos from various anime sites, but I downloaded Puffin browser on my Nook HD+ and just open the websites using Puffin from Google Play (I sprung for the paid software, but its cheap). I use the Chrome browser on my HD+ for any other websites. So no problem anymore with needing a flash player.

I happen to love my HD+. I purchase many of my manga books from the Viz Manga website for the Nook format, which sends me to the B & N store’s website to finalize and pay for the books, but I have been real happy with it. I am just your average computer user, the Nook works great for me from Word Docs to Anime, if I need anything complicated, that’s why I have a real nice laptop. I am also disabled which requires that I spend up to one-half my day lying on my side in bed and the Nook HD+ has given me a compact way to read novels or manga, view web TV or stream anime without having to get out my 17″ laptop (which I do when its needed). I guess it may not do some things some of you want, but for most of us, its a god-send.

Rozanne May 13, 2013 um 10:31 pm

Thanks Nate for your advice. I will certainly try that! 🙂

daniel wetteroff May 15, 2013 um 6:58 pm

i can install almost anything in theplay store on my nook hd+. so far ive only had problems with the google play music app. b&n made a deal with google so no they arent opening this "door" to every store their is, but only ones they trust and have made deals with. thats smart, because they need the money. also the nook is cheaper than most tablets and work well enough. so for a cheap tablet that i use for organizing my digital goods and books, id Say there doing fine with what they got. sorry for the lack of capitalization im writing this on a ps vita

Lee May 18, 2013 um 11:04 am

Bought a nook hd+ tablet two weeks ago when I found out they added google play store. However, I have discovered there are MANY play store apps that are not yet available–the weather channel, kayak, open table, just to name a few. Thought something was wrong with my tablet until I called B & N and they admitted they had not gained permission for many of the play store apps and they have no idea if or when they will. I told them they need to stop advertising that you now have access to over 700,000 google play store apps. Because you don’t!

Logan Kennelly May 18, 2013 um 12:57 pm

It is the same response I gave to another reader…

The problem is not that B&N have failed to "gain permission" for those applications. The problem is that the application developer inadvertently made their application unavailable.

The Nook HD/+ do not have a GPS, so any application that lists a GPS as a mandatory feature will not be available to you. Fortunately, the developer can change this with very minor tweaks to the manifest (and in some cases, the code).

Contact the developers and let them know about the problem. If they are good companies, they’ll be responsive to the issue.

Nate Hoffelder May 18, 2013 um 1:32 pm

Thanks for the clarification.

Raj May 18, 2013 um 1:49 pm

Another app that isn’t available is the Kindle app. I’ve heard contrary things about this, so I finally called up a B&N store and they said the Kindle app is the only app that has been blocked, as it’s "the Coke to their Pepsi" (I do miss the B&N booksellers!).

Google Play ebooks are available, but Amazon sells ebooks 10% cheaper on average than everyone else (and the savings can be much larger on individual titles). So buying a Nook HD/HD+ really isn’t the same thing as buying a regular Android tablet.

I for one would much rather buy a regular Android tablet–there are so many models available now with great screens and low prices, plus you get other features like cameras, GPS chipset, bluetooth, etc., plus there’s the money you can save by buying ebooks from Amazon. Plus you have more confidence the device will be supported for the next few years, whereas Nook may be out of the hardware business soon. Net net, it just seems like a much better deal to me.

Nate Hoffelder May 18, 2013 um 2:16 pm

re you sure the Kindle app won’t work? I just installed it on my HD+ and registered the app with Amazon.

Raj May 18, 2013 um 2:23 pm

Hmm… Can you actually read Kindle books on it? I think the B&N bookseller I spoke to may have said that they don’t support the format. So maybe the app itself isn’t blocked but the files are…?

I don’t have a Nook myself, so I don’t actually know firsthand. But I’d be very interested in knowing.


Nate Hoffelder May 18, 2013 um 2:28 pm

Books bought from Amazon, yes. But I have not tried AZW ebooks downloaded from elsewhere. Generally I don’t bother with that format on Android.

Raj May 18, 2013 um 2:44 pm

Got it, thanks so much, Nate. Seems to be a lot of confusion on this point, as I’ve seen contrary things being reported and clearly even the B&N booksellers don’t know. I hope B&N doesn’t later block the Kindle app, as that would constitute real deception in marketing.

From a business perspective, it’s interesting that B&N made this move. For any Nook HD/HD+ tablets already out there, it conceivably hurts their existing ebook sales. I guess those customers already started buying ebooks from Nook (they didn’t have a choice) and most of them probably will continue that way, just to keep their library in one place and format. But some of them may start buying ebooks from Amazon, given that they’re cheaper. So I would think it would hurt their ebook sales a little bit, at least.

On the other hand, this helps them clear out their inventory of Nook HD/HD+ tablets. Some of those new customers may also buy ebooks from Nook, but if the device is now being marketed as an Android device, many of them will buy ebooks from Amazon. Unclear what the net effect on Nook ebooks sales is. Certainly it helps them clear out the remaining inventory, though, and I suspect that may have been the primary motivation.

Logan Kennelly May 18, 2013 um 2:57 pm

The Nook reading application, for me, is significantly better than the others out there. The book prices often aren’t that different, if at all, and I like the BOGO and Free Fridays offers from B&N. (The trouble with Amazon is that they tend to overwhelm with me options, so I just stop looking for deals.)

Amazon does have the advantage of synchronizing personal content, but now Google does as well, and Google does so with the book formats I want. Unfortunately, I find their reading application even worse than Amazon’s.

Kindle is also available for me, and it appears to work without restrictions. The Nook also includes Bluetooth (although I generally only use it for headphones).

I understand why some people choose Amazon, but B&N offers me the product I want, in the packaging I can accept, and for a good price. I often hear complaints on this site, but I think B&N are doing a lot of things right. If anything, it seems that the problem is one of expectations in a rather small market.

Raj May 18, 2013 um 3:10 pm

Thanks, Logan. Seems more clear to me now that the Kindle app also works on the Nook HD/HD+.

Fyi, I recently did a price comparison across the 4 major ebook retailers (B&N, Amazon, Apple, Google) for the top 20 books on the NY Times bestseller list (I’m a financial analyst, hence my interest) and that’s how I estimated that Amazon is about 10% cheaper than the others. The data are below, in case it’s helpful to anyone (the formatting doesn’t come out nicely, but you should be able to see the prices). Of course, many titles are identical in price, plus 10% average savings may or may not matter to someone given their comfort with the app, retailer, and ebook format.

Books from NY Times bestseller list, prices as of 5/17/13

Book Author Nook Kindle Apple Google
1 12th of Never Patterson 11.99 11.99 11.99 12.74
2 The Hit Balducci 8.99 8.99 8.99 12.74
3 Whiskey Beach Roberts 12.99 9.99 9.99 12.99
4 Best Kept Secret Archer 11.04 11.04 12.99 11.04
5 NOS4A2 Hill 12.8 12.8 13.99 13.59
6 Daddy’s Gone a Hunting Higgins Clark 13.99 10.99 10.99 11.89
7 Gone Girl Flynn 12.99 12.99 12.99 12.99
8 Fly Away Hannah 11.04 11.04 12.99 11.04
9 Life After life Atkinson 12.74 12.74 12.99 12.74
10 Paris Rutherford 14.99 14.99 14.99 14.99
11 Burgess Boys Strout 12.99 12.99 12.99 12.99
12 Apple Orchard Wiggs 11 9.46 11.99 9.46
13 The Interestings Wolitzer 12.99 9.46 9.99 12.99
14 A Dance with Dragons Martin 14.99 14.99 14.99 14.99
15 Wedding Night Kinsella 12.99 12.89 12.99 12.99
16 Someday, Someday, Maybe Graham 12.99 12.99 12.99 12.99
17 Killing Kennedy O’Reilly 12.08 6.99 14.99 12.74
18 Contagious Berger 13.99 11.89 13.99 11.89
19 Autistic Brain Grandin 15.4 9.24 14.99 9.24
20 Good Nurse Graeber 11.04 11.04 12.99 11.04

Total 254.02 229.5 255.8 248.07
Savings by buying Kindle 9.65% 0.00% 10.28% 7.49%

You CAN sideload! May 21, 2013 um 9:40 pm
Some Info from the webpage:
NOOK Color and NOOK Tablet developers require a provision file that enables the NOOK device to communicate with the Android Debug Bridge (ADB) command.
NOOK HD & NOOK HD+ don’t use a provisioning file to gain access to ADB–the ADB command works after you enable ADB on your device.

This seems to mean that you can sideload to Nook HD/HD+ even if you’re not a developer.

I also find it amusing that now the Kindle app works with Nook HD/HD+ now. Bye-Bye Kindle! 🙂

Nate Hoffelder May 21, 2013 um 9:46 pm

That was already mentioned in the comments. Given the work involved I frankly do not see it as a realistic alternative to simply downloading an app from the developer’s website.

sonoranscout June 13, 2013 um 8:30 pm

I just purchased a used Nook HD 16GB. Very nice ereader/tablet especially with the addition of Google Play (that’s the only reason I bought it, besides the low price I found), but the lack of sideloading capabilities is totally unacceptable. Tonight, I successfully installed Amazon Appstore and installed apps from Anazon. No rooting necessary, I simply did some research on xdadevelopers, and slightly modified an existing script. Frankly, it was waaaaaay easier then I ever imagined. No ADB is necessary…

Mary Shade June 16, 2013 um 5:59 am

I just purchased a Nook HD. It’s a sweet little device and has so much potential. Right now I’m enjoying the fact that I can throw it in my purse and don’t feel like I’m weighed down. I have an Asus TF101 tablet, which I really like, but its bulk was making it difficult to carry with me. Anyway, after playing with this thing and getting to know how it works, I’m discovering its limitations. B&N seems to be trying to corner its readers into buying their products (I suppose buying the device itself isn’t enough? Come on B&N, make friends with your customers!! If it truly is an Android device, then make it so. I stay away from Apple devices for a reason).
Sonoranscout, I would love to know your secret to opening up my new toy to the endless possibilities of what this "Android" can and should be!!

sonoranscout June 17, 2013 um 11:00 pm

Here’s the site I was referring to:

Nom June 19, 2013 um 4:14 pm

So Sonaranscout, is the only file I need to flash the "Extras" file to allow for "unknown sources"?

dennis September 6, 2013 um 4:50 pm

The last time went into Barnes & Noble THEY offered to download the Kindle app
on the Nook. It works just fine. The only problem is that on the home page it only
displays a Kindle icon and not the book you got. This is fine if you only have a few
Kindle books but would require a lot of opening and closing to find the book you want.

sonoranscout June 19, 2013 um 10:08 pm

That’s correct. Flashing the "Extras" file changes the "unknown sources" setting from "0" to "1". I would recommend reading the description of what the "Extras" file does very carefully. I decided all I wanted was the "unknown sources" change, not the 4 apps that are installed as part of the package. As I mentioned earlier, I changed the installation script to suit my needs.

larry June 21, 2013 um 5:40 pm

Well your solution might just be something like an n2a card or root and install cyanogenmod. i have the n2a card and i simply have not used the bn interface since. thecbest part is i have access to the internal sd card from es file explorer.

Buffalo Phil June 25, 2013 um 2:48 pm

I have been able to download my Google Play purchases to my Nook HD without ant issued, U just use the same Google account address. The only problems I’ve had is that in spite of turning of the account syncing option, it continues to try to download apps that I’ve already acquired from Barnes and Noble store and replace them, such as Netflix, Overdrive and Pandora. Second, the icons for all Google Play apps are not optimized for the Nook, and so they are a little fuzzy edged or blurry in general, mucking up the otherwise dazzling display. Aside from that, this Nook owner is ecstatic to have access to the Google Play content, and I’ve been able to overall anything that is compatible written the hardware (i.e. doesn’t require a camera our flash.)

Pat B June 27, 2013 um 11:30 am

I just bought a nook hd 7. Inch. Just want it to read books,play some games, maybe watch a movie. Price was good . Then B and N announced they are discontinuing the Nook. Should I take it back or should I keep or?

Logan Kennelly June 27, 2013 um 12:28 pm

It will continue to work and it’s a tablet with a great screen. Even as Android continues to move forward, your Nook HD will continue to work with almost every application out there.

I say keep it. In a year-and-a-half to two years I’m guessing the new products will be attractive enough that you’ll want to replace it, but in the mean time you’ll have been enjoying your books, games, and movies.

Juli Monroe June 27, 2013 um 1:18 pm

I agree with Logan. It’s a nice piece of hardware and will continue to work until something else cooler comes along. I like mine so much I’m toying with buying a second (as a backup).

Nick Johnson June 28, 2013 um 11:38 pm

ive liked the nook but play isn’t all that good without all apps, sometimes though it doesen’t make sense for example all the wheres’s my -insert perry/water here- arn’t compatible but skype is but it doesen’t have a cam. :[{

Travis White June 30, 2013 um 6:45 pm

It is indeed a sad day when an individual purchases a tablet that is not truly theirs.. That is the main reason to root your toys.. When your device is rooted, it truly belongs to you… Get rooted peeps.. It is an amazing thing…

Mary July 1, 2013 um 7:33 am

Would love to know how to root my Nook HD, but all the directions I’ve found are too complicated. Im concerned that I’d screw something up.

Lee July 1, 2013 um 8:14 am

Some of the playstore apps that are not available on the nook hd+ include weather channel, open table, kayak, poynt, walmart, bestbuy–just to name a few. There are literally thousands and thousands of others. Very disappointing.

Stan July 3, 2013 um 4:57 am

Well, just side loaded apps unto the Nook HD+ 😀

Didn’t root it either, the instructions are actually provided by nook. Granted, it took me a couple of hours+ since I know little about it and followed instructions step by step, and I have to "push" them onto the device while it’s plugged in via USB, but it works, plus it doesn’t void warranty. Google "nook developer sideload apps"

There’s a few articles covering this method. It’s lengthy, a little complicated, but worth it if you don’t want to void warranty.

Pat July 3, 2013 um 9:14 am

Thanks everyone for your comments about whether I should keep the nook I just bought or return it–after discovering BN is no longer making them. I did decide to keep it. The HD 7 inch is a nice size, nice weight, and a good price. I was able to add the Kindle app and also have Google play. Since all I’m planning on doing is: read books, playing games, maybe watch some movies or read some magazines, I think this will work. I think my favorite thing though is being able to go to BN and have someone to help me and not have to make a phone call to some unknown country and try to explain my problem. I do have to plug this in to charge it every night which surprised me. Guess I’m playing too many games;)

Geert July 3, 2013 um 1:31 pm

Disable the location services.
From what I have read that should make a big difference in power usage.

joe July 8, 2013 um 1:27 am

Hello to everyone! What flash player are you using to open streaming videos?

joe July 8, 2013 um 1:30 am

While I wait, I bought it because it is an amazing little kinda android type with more amazing display & ultra cool $149 price. Speed out of the box was close to 20.

Mary July 8, 2013 um 7:59 am

@Pat…there is a power saving option in settings. Click on it. Mine stays charged for days if I don’t play anything on Netflix.
@Joe…i never downloaded a flash player and watch Netflix and Hulu + on it at the gym. Luv it!
Now if someone could show me how to root this thing I’d be happy :)) @Stan…i tried B&Ns directions and got stuck somsomewhere along the way and gave up.

Mary Shade July 11, 2013 um 7:02 am

Can anyone explain to me why, when I delete an app that B&N deemed necessary such as Spotify (something that requires a paid subscription), it reappears on my apps list?

Pat July 19, 2013 um 7:44 pm

Did you delete from your apps also?

Mary Shade August 3, 2013 um 3:41 pm

Yes, I did….it reappears out of no where when I open the tablet. It seems to come from B&N- almost as if they require you to have the app on the tablet and will reinstall it if you try to delete it.

James K September 14, 2013 um 12:13 am

Rather than removing it, see if you can Archive it. Though this may not work if it’s not from B&N’s store, or if B&N truely consider it nessicary.

If the system keeps reloading it, it is possible it is not what you think it is.

But I’ve only got a Nook Color, so this is all just speculation.

Noel July 18, 2013 um 12:53 pm

one word XDA
in less than 20 min i had my nook hd running android 4.2.2 full no issues and no restrictions to anything. voids the warranty but for 129 and the hardware in the nook its worth it, and as long as what ever goes wrong on it dose not stop me from booting to the custom recovery i can restore a backup and put the thing right back to stock in 5 min. the nook hd will boot from sd it is the easiest tablet yet to mod and flash custom mods.

Zap July 19, 2013 um 6:03 pm

I read through some of the comments and it’s obvious that no matter what you say, the author is not going to give up his opinion of the Nook HD+. Therefore, all I will say is this:

a. Bought a brand new Nook HD+ 16 GB from the B&N store
b. Used it without any change whatsoever for two weeks
c. Installed the "Extras" zip from user leapinlar’s post at xda developers to switch ON the "Unknown sources" setting which B&N hides from you – took 15 minutes
d. Installed Amazon Play Store and was up and running
e. Did NOT root

I just did it to prove to myself that I could do it. The stock Nook HD+ with Google Play really had everything I could ever need and more.

All the stuff about the walled garden is just c**p. Yes, in the world of Android, there will always be some apps that don’t work on your specific device. Live with it.

Nate Hoffelder July 19, 2013 um 6:25 pm

I don’t see why I should change my opinion. All the people who are saying to just go over to XDA and get a hack are proving my point that nothing has changed. That’s exactly what you would have done before B&N added Google Play, so i am right.

The only point in which we differ is that, when I wrote this post nearly 3 months ago, I saw the lack of change as a problem. Few people agreed with me.

Of course, none of that matters anymore. So much has happened in the past few months that the above post isn’t really relevant.

sonoranscout July 20, 2013 um 2:36 am

Couldn’t agree more. I did the same thing and ended up with a great Android tablet for 70 bucks less than the competition.

Robert Johnson July 20, 2013 um 8:31 pm

Agree. I bought a Nook HD+ with 16gb last month. It is a fantastic pad for $149!!! Was amazed that it had google play.

Tom Foley August 3, 2013 um 12:47 am

In my opinion, the article is poorly written because it leads to a conclusion that only a few percent of the general population that would buy this tablet would agree with, but the author states it as universal fact. And then defends his position on nearly every descent to his opinion. It would seem to me if the opinion is that strong, the article should stand on its own without the author having to defend it on every disagreeing point. For the record, I also disagree with the conclusion – I have an Android phone, another Android tablet, an iPad and the fact that I can not readily sideload apps onto the Nook HD+ means nothing to me with the inclusion of Google Play. It might to that small percentage of people that want a couple of Apps from Aptoide, which may be who this article is written for, but to the vast majority of us it is a very, very good Android tablet – now for very cheap money. Name me another high quality, well made tablet with the Nook’s specs at anywhere close to the price with Google Play? That’s called change my friend!

Nate Hoffelder August 3, 2013 um 1:19 am

"nearly every descent" LOL

I haven’t responded to most of the dissenting comments here, much less "nearly every descent".

And just because a lot of readers didn’t bother to try to understand what I was trying to say doesn’t mean it was poorly written. I just looked it over again and it’s pretty clear that I was saying that "B&N hasn’t changed any of their policies" and that "B&N still acts like the Nook platform is their own walled garden". How is that not clearly stated, and how is that not true?

Also, how exactly does "the fact that I can not readily sideload apps onto the Nook HD+ means nothing to me" affect the arguments made about B&N’s policies? Your indifference would seem to be irrelevant to the point I was making.

Tom Foley August 3, 2013 um 12:27 pm

My mistake. I don’t imagine you have the time to respond to every descent, because there are, as you mentioned, a lot of them. The reason is that the point you don’t seem to want to grasp, for whatever reason, is that 'most' people who would be interested in buying the Nook HD+ would not care about the issues you find troubling. And that is why you have so many people disagreeing with your opinion. It was also my mistake in saying the article was poorly written – what I meant was it is poorly constructed in that it shows bias and barely takes into consideration any other side of the discussion except yours. Grasp that and mention the full spectrum of what the Nook does for the price along with your concerns and you have an article worth reading. But I’m going to bet that you are simply going to spend more time arguing with your readers (btw – never a good idea if you want to keep them reading) about how you can’t possibly be mistaken, how your opinion is beyond question and willing to argue it to the death – like this readers response right now. Should we be expecting your defense within minutes? But I’m out after this – if you do not grasp it by now, you simply won’t. Good luck to you. 🙂

Andrys August 3, 2013 um 12:48 pm

Tom, why can’t you 'grasp' that this is an opinion blog and that not every opinion given here is going to match your own? Why the harrassment?

I’m always interested in Nate’s opinion and so are others, who make this a regular stop — we don’t begin to think his opinion will match ours (!). That’s one of the things that makes it interesting to us. We don’t go around the Net looking for agreement with our own. and then, when not finding it on one topic, stay to browbeat the writer into writing with 'balance' – meaning something that more matches how we might feel, our own value system.

Nate doesn’t have to worry about too many running away from the blog due to disagreement with his take. Most are just interested in it and then we go on with their lives and return when interested in another column’s topic. It’s understandable if a reader decides not to return That’s how it works.

James K September 14, 2013 um 12:32 am

It seems to me that you are saying that his opinion is flawed because, in your opinion, "most people" would disagree with him.

I’ve never considered the popularity of an idea as relivent to it’s truth or accuracy. So if "most people" were of the opinion that you should "jump off a bridge", you should do it? I don’t think so, and I think your mother would agree. (Typical Mother question.)

Why is it so importiant to you that he change his opinion? It IS only an opinion. And the great thing about an opinion is (just like advice) you are free to embrace it, ignore it, or anything inbetween.

That is MY opinion. Embrace it, reject it, or whatever. It’s no skin off my nose.

Mary Shade August 3, 2013 um 3:50 pm

Here is a good example why I would like to sideload apps from from say, Amazon…Office Suite Pro. I purchased it from Amazon and would like to load it onto my NookHD. If I could do that then I wouldn’t have to repurchase it from the Play Store- something I don’t think I should have to do. Make this NookHD a true android and open it up to whomever we want to purchase or download apps from. It’s none of B&N’s business what I do with MY device.

Hmmmm August 8, 2013 um 4:10 pm

Some people are so quick to want to write an opinion that they half-read what is actually written. Out of all the comments to this blog post, how many people actually grasped the message? Nook itself was not being bashed….just the fact that it is not totally open. If you are not someone who understands why someone would not want to purchase from the Play store (or other approved sources) then obviously this post doesn’t pertain to you. Geesh…even though the post is a few months old, I just had to say something.

Mary Shade August 9, 2013 um 6:34 am

Not sure what you are talking about Hmmmm…I think many of us do "get it". I for one love this little gadget but find it frustrating that B&N has put the brakes on preventing it from becoming what it is capable of. They want us to buy their products ONLY and have the attitude that controlling what we do with "their" Nook will make that happen. As I stated earlier, I can see the potential my HD has, I just wish they did too…they’d make a LOT of money if they’d just give up their mindset. If you are going to call your devices an Android, then please make it so.

Stephanei August 17, 2013 um 5:51 am

You should probably update your article as it is not incorrect. I just downloaded Overdrive and I have yet to find any app in the google play store where I couldn’t download. For the price of $129 I think it is the best on the market and they are constantly updating it and listening to their customers. You can also unlock it so that it functions as a Android Tablet but I like it just the way it is!

Nate Hoffelder August 17, 2013 um 7:35 am

Nope. Still not wrong.

I just tried to download and install the Amazon Appstore app. It was blocked.

flyingtoastr August 19, 2013 um 9:34 am

The Amazon App Store isn’t on Google Play, so it’s working as intended.

More to the point, there’s nothing stopping Amazon from adding it to GPS other than Bezos' hubris. Go complain to baldy that you want him to not be so silly.

barisacar August 27, 2013 um 7:24 pm

Dear Nate,

Do what every one else does. Use your Kindle Fire or Ipad for the Amazon Appstore. Use your Nook HD only to have a pleasant e-book reading experience.

These devices do not cost arm and a leg these days. It may sound surprising but everybody I know owns a number of different devices.

The biggest problem with Nook HD was Since Google Play resolved that issue, it is a beautiful device.

From a e-book reader point of view, all other tablets including kindle fire and ipad are disaster. In my opinion, the closest tablet giving good old e-ink feeling is the Nook HD. Let’s leave it at there.

Nate Hoffelder August 27, 2013 um 7:50 pm

You so missed the point of this post.

nook boy August 19, 2013 um 7:21 am

I dont have a Need sideload I can just download apps from the playstore…. Why does this even matter Nooks are for reading not for games if you want a gaming tablet get the nexus 7

James K September 14, 2013 um 12:41 am

> Nooks are for reading not for games

That stopped being true when B&N introduced their first game.

nook boy August 19, 2013 um 7:29 am

The nook is a ereader not gaming tablet I use it just to read, if you want a gaming tablet get the nexus 7

Mary August 19, 2013 um 9:18 am

There are a few apps (not games) I’ve paid for and some free from the Play Store I would like to have on my HD which don’t even show up when I try to find them on the Play Store. Bottom line… I paid for this device and should be able to do whatever I want with it. B&N sells their Nooks so we can buy their products, which I do. However, they also advertise the system it runs on is android, which it is NOT. It is more like an iOS device. If I had known this I would have looked into other options.

flyingtoastr August 19, 2013 um 9:30 am

You do know that apps not being compatible is the fault of the app developer and not BN, right? Email the developer.

Mary August 22, 2013 um 3:57 pm

How is that possible? With all the various phones and tablets out there that are compatible with apps on the Play Store, why is it that this device is any different? I can try, but I’m betting the finger will be pointed the other way.

Kim97 August 22, 2013 um 7:49 am

Sideloading apps is very convenient and you never know when you might need it. People that use pirated apps are going to hack their device anyway or go with another tablet, so that excuse is just stupid. I just don’t like tablets that have restrictions and the more open they are the better.

Lynn House August 26, 2013 um 3:17 pm

I am beginning to think purchasing a google chrome computer was a BIG MISTAKE!!! It does NOT work with anything. I does not support any thing I want to do. I simply want to download ebooks from my local library and can’t. At every turn there is an error of inadequate something or other. I think next time I’m going APPLE APPLE APPLE. Google chrome SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mechele September 3, 2013 um 12:19 pm


James K September 14, 2013 um 12:50 am

Not to be rude, but this is a discussion about the new Barnes and Nobel Nook HD/HD+, and B&N’s decision to open them up to Google Play. I fail to see the relevance of your comment, nor is it likely to be read by your target audience, people who are considering purchasing a Chromebook.

crescentlilly August 29, 2013 um 10:26 pm

Just wanted to chime in that I found both this article and the comments useful. It is a "walled garden" and I have found that frustrating especially as this was a gift. There are plenty of things I like about my Nook HD, but there’s just as many I don’t. I found this article because I was trying to find a keyboard that didn’t make me wanna tear my hair out. And now I have, so thanks.

Mechele September 3, 2013 um 12:17 pm

I personally am furious that Nook dumped Android crap on to my READER!!!, Why do I want Google Book, Google Magazines etc When I get my reading material from B&N? Not to mention the space it goggled up. In addition I can not REMOVE or UNINSTALL the garbage!. Just angry about the whole thing. I use my reader as a READER, not a TABLET! If I wanted that I would have bought an iPAD.

gary simco September 4, 2013 um 12:14 pm

Am I missing something here?

Buy a N2A card or root my nook and the "walls of the garden " are gone.

As fast as I could read, not one person has seemed to mention this.

Nate Hoffelder September 4, 2013 um 12:26 pm

Actually, several people have left similar comments.

gary simco September 4, 2013 um 12:45 pm

Nonetheless, problem solved and is basically plug ( insert ) and play / use.

Not that I am hawking these products, they just solve all those issues people are griping about.

Nate Hoffelder September 4, 2013 um 12:46 pm

I didn’t gripe about the issues; I griped about the mindset of the people running the company.

gary simco September 4, 2013 um 12:48 pm

I agree with you on that mindset.

MaryS September 4, 2013 um 12:58 pm

What is an N2A card? How does it work? Where can I get one? If this takes down BNs walls, I want one!

Nate Hoffelder September 4, 2013 um 1:02 pm


Chris September 17, 2013 um 12:26 am

Bought HD+ today because of Google Play support, not realizing that Nook is more tightly controlled than an Apple device.

I thought I could play Amazon Prime vids, but all the workarounds to install Flash, either through store or sideload have been eliminated. This was possible six months ago, but no longer. The thing is essentially a pretty brick.

I also think the 9″ size is too big to be a reader, this is the size you get if you want to primarily watch videos — and that is tightly locked down. Most streaming TV and video sites use flash. Bs.

dennis December 28, 2013 um 7:26 pm

What are complaining about. The 9 inch nook is about the same size as a page on
A nine inch hard bound book. If you want a smaller page size get the 7 inch

Arty November 2, 2013 um 7:37 pm

Sign this petition to get B&N to let Nook Tablet have Google Play. Please tell your friends and family.

Russ February 18, 2014 um 4:57 pm

It’s a Nook! You don’t see Amazon shooting themselves in the foot by opening doors. You people want to buy a Nook and have an Android. Either pay the big bucks for an Android or stop whining.

Nate Hoffelder February 18, 2014 um 5:07 pm

"You don’t see Amazon shooting themselves in the foot by opening doors."

We do see that, actually. Amazon doesn’t block me from installing apps on the Kindle Fire tablets.

"Either pay the big bucks for an Android or stop whining."

One problem with that suggestion is that the Nook tablets now cost about the same as any other Android tablets. This makes their limitations noteworthy in that it reduces their value.

Eric Welch February 19, 2014 um 9:45 pm

The new Fires (I have an original, an HD and and HDX) have become about as locked down as the Nook (I have one of those, too.) You can play Amazon prime videos only on a Fire, not even on a Nexus or any other pure Android tablet. You can also Not (unlike the Nook) load Moon Reader Pro on a Fire or any other app requiring Google Play Services (this can be done but it requires a level of sophistication that few people have.) The fact is that you can load more Google Play apps on a Nook HD than on a Kindle Fire HD. Yes, you can side-load some things on a Fire but you might as download the N2A KitKat and make it a pure Android, but some of us actually *like* the Amazon eco-system. Each system iOS, Amazon, and Nook has its proprietary little quirks and the perfect tablet doesn’t exist.

Nate Hoffelder February 19, 2014 um 9:54 pm

Amazon Prime instant video:

The only thing you cannot change on the Kindle Fire is the home screen and the lock screen; other than that you can install whatever app you want, including apps which are supposedly incompatible. With the Nook HD, on the other hand, there are apps which are utterly blocked from the Nook HD because Google Play says they are incompatible.

Eric Welch February 20, 2014 um 11:56 am

Try installing Moon Reader Pro. It installs, but it won’t run without Google Play Services being installed. (There are many other apps that require Google PLay Services also.) Here’s how to do it AFTER rooting: I suggest this is not within the technical range of 90% of the purchasers. Note that you can do much more on a Kindle Fire, than a Kindle Fire HD or a Kindle Fire HDX. The Nook HD and HD+ come with Google Play Services installed since they have access to the Google App store which the Kindles do not. My point was that ALL devices be they forked Android, iOS of even pure Android have some limitations. Purchases need to know what they want to do and make judgments accordingly. (Or buy all kinds the way we junkies do.)

sonoranscout October 20, 2014 um 10:15 pm

I ultimately loaded Cyanogenmod onto my Nook HD. Current OS is Android 4.4.4 Kit Kat. Best thing I ever did to this tablet.

Barnes & Noble's Nook now has Google Play | Anthony's Notes November 6, 2016 um 3:37 pm

[…] hardware otherwise) to gain ground. While sideloading apps still isn’t officially allowed, as The Digital Reader blog criticizes, I don’t think the average user the Nook’s aimed at will care one bit. I recall […]

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