If you own a Nook HD or HD+ tablet, you probably already know that it runs the Android operating system "under the covers." That is, Barnes & Noble added a great, user-friendly menu system on top of the Android operating system, then has sold Nooks at lower prices than most other Android-powered devices.
While easy to use, the one big drawback to the Nook has been that you could only add new applications from the Barnes & Noble app store. That app store only contained a small subset of the thousands of applications available on the normal Google Play Store used by most Android tablet computers. Barnes & Noble has now reversed that decision. A software update is being rolled out to give the Nook HD and HD+ devices access to all the apps available on Google Play. If something is available for Android, it is also now available for Nook, including a number of genealogy programs.
You will now even be able to install Amazon's Kindle app on a Nook and read books you've purchased from Amazon. For the first time, you can purchase ebooks from both Barnes & Noble and from Amazon and be able to read all of them on the Nook.
The Nook from Barnes & Noble is generally cheaper than the other Android tablets of similar screen size and processing power (although there may be a few exceptions): $199 for the 7-inch Nook HD, and $269 for the 9-inch Nook HD+.
The new capability is being added to all Nook HD and HD+ tablets over the next few days. If your Nook has not already downloaded and installed the new update, be patient. It will happen soon, assuming you are connected to a wi-fi network.
There is a humorous side note to this. Microsoft invested $300 million in the Nook business, apparently seeing it as a competitor to Apple's iPad. Microsoft recently launched a Google-bashing “Scroogled” campaign. In the ads, Microsoft is telling consumers to beware of Google Play’s policy of sharing users’ names, e-mail addresses and ZIP codes. I find it strange that Microsoft owns a piece of a product that it has been bashing: Microsoft's investment will now be "Scroogling" people.
Details may be found at http://goo.gl/DW0oe.