Along with lowering the price of its Nook HD and Nook HD+ tablets, Barnes & Noble has announced that it will be adding Google Play access to those devices. The move will gives its users unfettered access to all of the apps and content in the Google Play store.
Barnes & Noble’s biggest rival, Amazon, still offers its users a curated abridged version of Google Play, preferring instead to point users towards its own content and apps.
As of the first quarter of 2013, Amazon currently controls 3.7 percent of worldwide tablet market share, according to International Data Corporation. Barnes & Noble did not figure into a list of the top five vendors.
Barnes & Noble also announced a significant cut in price for the Nook HD and HD+. Through Mother’s Day, the Nook HD will be available for $149 (8GB) and $179 (16GB), and Nook HD+ will sell for $179 (16GB) and $209 (32GB) in stores and online.
Unlike rival Amazon, which saw record sales of its Kindle eReaders and tablets over the holidays, Barnes & Noble said sales of Nook products in the retail segment declined during the holiday period due to lower unit volume and average selling prices.
The Nook segment, which consists of the company’s digital business (including Readers, digital content and accessories), had revenues of $311 million for the nine-week holiday period, decreasing 12.6 percent as compared to a year ago. Digital content sales increased 13.1 percent, while NOOK device unit sales declined during the holiday period as compared to the prior year.
As a result of the Nook sales shortfall, the company now expects fiscal year 2013 Nook Media revenues of approximately $3 billion, and NOOK segment EBITDA losses at a comparable level to fiscal year 2012.
In contrast to B&N, Amazon said its line of Kindle eReaders and tablets once again broke Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales records for the company.