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Barnes & Noble's Nook adds Google Play apps

Barnes & Noble is teaming up with Google to vastly increase the number of apps available on its Nook HD tablets.

The bookstore chain added the Google Play app store to its 7- inch Nook HD and 9-inch HD+ products via a software update Friday.

The move expands the number of apps available from the roughly 10,000 the Nook already offered in its own store -- such as Angry Birds and Netflix -- to 700,000-plus apps and games offered on Google Play. It comes after a weak holiday sales season for the Nook, which is struggling to gain market share in the rapidly expanding tablet market.

CEO William Lynch said research and sales during the holidays show consumer preference is shifting toward all-purpose tablets rather than simple e-readers. "Consumer research showed us the breadth of applications available is really critical," he said. "This addresses the one perceived gap that we had with other tablets virtually overnight."

The update is automatic, occurring over-the-air to all devices connected to Wi-Fi. It will also include other Google Inc. services like the Chrome browser, Gmail, YouTube and Google Maps. -- AP

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