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New Update for Nook HD Adds Adverts, Accessibility, and Dutch/French/German Dictionaries

B&N nookshd[1]rolled out an update for their beleaguered Android tablets this week and included a surprise bonus.

In addition to the new accessibility options and other upgrades mentioned in the changelog, the update also quietly added a feature which gives me great hope that B&N is planning to launch their tablets outside of the US and UK.

The official changelog for the update says that it adds a new annual subscription option for newspapers and magazines, and that the Android accessibility feature Talkback has been enabled in more places, including Home, Library, email and the web browser.  And last but not least B&N is now going to use "your" tablet to pitch deals for Nook ebooks,magazines, and more. (Luckily you can turn this off under the Settings/General/Nook Notifications menu.)

All in all there’s not much that’s newsworthy in the changelog, but luckily I had the good fortune this week to have a reader tell me about the unannounced part of this update. (Thanks, flyingtoastr!)

My Nook HD+ now offers the option of installing more dictionaries. I cannot find any options for installing my own dictionaries, but I can see that B&N is now offering dictionaries for Dutch, Italian, German, French, and Spanish.

These new dictionaries are not available in the Nook Android app, and they were added to the Nook HD sometime in the past 8 months. I cannot be more clear because I have conflicting reports that say that the dictionaries first appeared with the update, with the Google Play update in May 2013, and at a couple different dates in between.

But never mind when the dictionaries showed up; simply the fact they are present could be a good sign that B&N hasn’t completely handed their international plans over to Microsoft.


B&N is selling ebooks in the US, UK, Canada, and 29 additional countries. The latter group of countries are only limited to only using the Nook Windows 8 app, but the new dictionary support might be a sign that B&N plans to launch tablets in those countries as well, or if not tablets then perhaps Android or iOS apps. This would be the obvious next move, IMO, but then again I expected B&N to include all of their apps when they opened a new localized Nook Stores.

B&N hasn’t had any luck with their Nook platform over the past year, and they could use a boost from increased ebook sales. Their digital revenues have dropped for the past several quarters even though they have been selling they Nook HD and Nook HD plus tablets at drop dead prices.

The Nook HD+ is a 9″ tablet with a 1920 x 1280 resolution screen. It is running B&N’s own proprietary version of Android on a 1.5 GHz dual-core CPU, and it ships with  16GB or more of Flash storage. The Nook HD is a 7″ tablet with a 1440 x 900 resolution screen (the highest of any 7″ tablets when it launched). It to is running a proprietary version of Android on a 1.3 GHz dual-core CPU, and it ships with  8GB or more of Flash storage.

You can find the tablets with prices starting at $129 and $149. If you’re interested, the Nook HD+ is a much better value; the Nook HD is pretty but not a better value than its competition. I would get a cheaper tablet with similar specs.

In any case, the dictionaries are available now. If you want to install them you will find the option under the Settings/Apps/Reader menu.

P.S. Does anyone know if these dictionaries are available for the Nook Glow or Nook Touch?

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Chris Meadows December 22, 2013 um 6:55 am

I’m sure those people who don’t do the sensible thing, like I did, and put CyanogenMod on their Nooks will be terribly pleased. 🙂

cookie December 22, 2013 um 10:43 am

While I don´t have a nook, if I did, and I used the Nook reading app, and bought BN ebooks, I would want access to some of those foreign language dictionaries. If I installed CyanogenMod, and installed the Nook app, I would lose access to those dictionaries.

Why would that be "sensible"?

LoganK December 22, 2013 um 1:45 pm

I love CyanogenMod as well, but I use my Nook HD as a reading device first. Fit that purpose (and my needs), the stock firmware is superior to everything else out there. Not perfect, but really good. If they ever release the Nook hardware reading software on the Play Store, I’d be right there with you.

For the Nook HD+, I installed CM because I found the device too large for reading and was hoping for a performance boost: I didn’t notice a difference there, but the reading experience suffered.

I probably spend too much time on non-reading now that I have the Play Store, but I also have updated EzPDF, Swapps, and the Google keyboard. I’m really happy with it.

colleen December 22, 2013 um 1:43 pm

I bought a Nook HD last July. While it’s good for reading, tho "Adobe Reader Stopped Working", I was able to install Aldiko reader. But the frustrating thing is trying to get any support or the ability to watch TV live. Finally, I found an app which is not advertised, but given by B&N to allow watching a movie, video, etc. But when it installed, they told me I could start reading immediately and that I should recommend it to my friends. They are so frustrating. Try finding customer service and you’ll be directed to hundreds of books on customer service. So…my question, if I get my Nook out again, will these changes allow me to get some kind of video player since Adobe doesn’t support this one? Thanks in advance.

Chris Meadows December 22, 2013 um 2:46 pm

CyanogenMod installs stock Android. You can then download any app you want from the Google Play store, including video players. The only thing that doesn’t work right with CyanogenMod is the Nook Reader app from the Play Store, so it may not be best for those who have lots of Nook books (that they haven’t cracked the DRM on and changed to some other format).

colleen December 22, 2013 um 2:54 pm

Thanks Chris. I thought I was getting an Xmas present so I could actually use the HD like other android tablets. It upgraded and should have been able to download the Nook for Android app but I am in Mexico and first it says (this from Google Play) that it is not available for my device and then it says it can’t download to my country. So I went to my VPN and they only support i-products. The rest of us have to wait. I shouldn’t have gotten so excited. I know nothing about CynogenMod but I will start to learn right now.

fjtorres December 22, 2013 um 6:01 pm

The Nook app can be downloaded from Freeware lovers and 1Mobile, among other places. Not sure if it will activate from non-Nook regions but it’s worth a try.
There is android life beyond Google-land.

Nate Hoffelder December 22, 2013 um 6:09 pm

I don’t think ti will, but all I know for sure is that the first step is to pick a country: US or UK. There aren’t any other options given.

Meth December 22, 2013 um 2:31 pm

To change the NST default dictionary, I believe you’d have to be rooted, and modify basewords.db located in /system/media/reference/.

flyingtoastr December 23, 2013 um 7:22 pm

The far more interesting thing going on here has to do with inventory levels. BN has had trouble keeping the HD NOOK devices in stock over the holidays, presumably because they’re finally getting through their backlog of inventory that they’ve had since last year.

That means the chances of them launching the HD’s internationally is pretty low – they’ve had to restart production lines for rather outdated equipment. BUT we do know that they’ve been testing a new, much more competitive device.

I think we’re seeing the continuation of the "tick tock" update cycle BN has been using. For instance – the NOOK Color launched with somewhat buggy and incomplete software (no apps, no Netflix, etc.), but was gradually improved through the next year. By the time the NOOK Tablet came out, the software was nearly feature-complete for what BN wanted, and pretty stable. Continuing this type of development would be sensible, as one of the primary complaints about the HD devices when they launched was the unfinished OS.

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