Barnes & Noble has announced that they will bring Google Play to their Nook devices. This news comes after the revelation that the Nook underperformed during the 2012 holiday season and early 2013.
“It opens up a whole world of content and really gives [Nook] HD and HD Plus a unique position,” said William J. Lynch Jr., CEO of Barnes & Noble. “There’s no question this is going to accelerate sales.”
This move will allow Nook owners to choose from 700,000 apps, including Facebook, Twitter and Netflix and even Amazon’s Kindle app. Barnes & Noble is seeking to focus more on digital content, including books, movies and apps, while reigning in its hardware spending.
“Of all the things that Barnes & Noble could do to expand its potential audience, running the features of Android that consumers like is a great step,” said Sarah Rotman Epps, a senior analyst with Forrester Research. “You can’t change the fundamentals of Barnes & Noble’s brand and their customer footprint and the economics of their business, but adding more Android features makes this product more appealing to more customers.”
Michael Norris, senior analyst for Simba Information, sees Barnes & Noble emulating the Amazon model by creating a comprehensive online shopping center of nonbook media. “I think Barnes & Noble is learning a few lessons from Amazon,” said Norris. “And that has to do with sweetening the deal and adding value for the consumer. Amazon has always had a greater variety of movie and video content, and I think Barnes & Noble is hoping to erase part of their entertainment deficit.”
The Barnes & Noble CEO says that discussions with Google have been ongoing for two years but recently stepped up. The book retailer has sold more than 10 million Nooks in the U.S. since launching the device in 2009.