Google Play is available on Barnes & Noble's Nook HD and Nook HD Plus tablets, starting today. The move by the bookseller brings a much wider selection of apps to its tablets, which until now only included those selected by the company.
The move addresses another shortcoming in Nook tablets, which was the absence of a music market. Nook HD and HD Plus owners will now be able to download from the Google Play music store, as well as buy movies and TV shows from Google Play. If you've already purchased music from Google Play on another device, such as your Android smart phone, you'll also have access to it on your Nook tablet once you log in with your Google Play account. Same goes for other purchases you made from the Play store.
Of course, magazines and books are also available from Google Play and will be sold on Nook tablets as well. They won't have all the features you get when you download magazines directly from Barnes & Noble, however. For example, magazines from Google Play will look the way they do on other Android devices, and won't have the same page-turning features and article views that you get with Nook magazines.
Google's Chrome browser will become the default browser on the tablets. Gmail, Google Maps, and YouTube are also all now built into the Nook tablets.
The move sets Barnes & Noble's tablets apart from Amazon Kindle Fire models. Those tablets only run Amazon-approved apps, which are a curated subset of the Google Play store.
If you already own a Nook HD or Nook HD Plus, you can download the update with the new features at BN.com starting immediately, or wait for Barnes & Noble to do a firmware upgrade over the next few weeks. Google Play will be included on all new Nook tablets.
Consumer Reports has no relationship with any advertisers or sponsors on this website. Copyright © 2007-2013 Consumers Union of U.S., Inc. No reproduction, in whole or in part, without written permission.