If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Barnes & Noble has entered into a partnership with Google to bring the Google Play store to the company's line of Nook HD and HD+ tablets. The addition of Google Play will bring over 700,000 apps to the Nook platform - a huge upgrade from the 10,000 or so apps currently available in the Nook store.
So, what convinced Nook to start playing nice with Google? Barnes & Noble CEO William Lynch says that Nook's poor holiday sales told him that consumers don't want an e-reader that's also a tablet. Instead, consumers want a multi-purpose tablet that can double as an e-reader. Amazon had already adapted to this change in consumer focus when it killed off multiple e-readers last year and focused almost exclusively on its Kindle Fire HD line.
Of course, it's better late than never, and Nook is in a position where it needs all the help it can get. Barnes & Noble can now advertise that it has the Google Play store and all of its apps - something that Amazon's Kindle Fire HD does not have. Of course, some consumers prefer the Kindle Fire HD for its curated app store experience so it will be interesting to see if a mostly unregulated app store will be much of a draw.
Current Nook HD and HD+ owners will get Google Play in an OTA update today. The update will also bring all the other Google services that Android tablet owners have come to expect, like Google Chrome, Gmail, YouTube and Google Maps.