Barnes & Noble's Nook HD and HD+ tablets haven't made much of an impact in the UK, with our appetite for forked Android tablets seemingly extending only as far as the Amazon Kindle Fire.
But hot on the heels of a serious price cut comes a far more interesting proposition: access to the Google Play store. That's right – the Nook is returning to the Android fold.
It's an interesting move, as while it obviously makes the Nook HD and HD+ more appealing to consumers, it runs contrary to the whole point of the device in the first place: to push sales of B&N's own apps and media.
In that respect its rationale for being in the tablet business has (until now) been identical to Amazon's, and it's even followed the same hardware path in graduating from e-readers to full-blown tablets complete with bespoke app store.
It's a recipe that's proved reasonably successful in the US, but not having any kind of existing footprint in the UK has made the Nook's task far more difficult. Last week saw a round of price cuts that saw the basic Nook Simple Touch e-reader's price cut to just £29, while the 7in Nook HD dropped from £159 to £129 and the 9in Nook HD+ fell from £229 to £179.
But the over-the-air software update that's rolling out to existing Nook HD owners from today could prove more of a catalyst for sales taking off in the future that any price cut.
It brings full-blown Google Play access for the full spectrum of Android apps, plus instantly plugged in access to the likes of YouTube, Gmail and Chrome, as well as Google Search.
TechRadar reports B&N MD Jim Hilt saying he doesn't think the return to the mainstream Android flock will badly compromise the company's efforts to sell its own content and services.
“We're confident that the experience we have surrounding content discovery is the best on the market and our catalogue of books, magazines and newspapers is best in class,” Hilt says.
“We see the inclusion of Google Play on the Nook HD and HD+ complimenting our own content services, and where content overlaps between the two platforms we're confident people will turn to Nook to make their purchases.”
I'm not sure I agree, but what is definitely true is that B&N won't sell any of its own bits and pieces at all if nobody's buying its tablet in the first place, and this surely strengthens the Nook HD's appeal considerably.
For the record, the 7-incher gives you a 1,440 x 900 resolution, a 1.3GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 8GB or 16GB of storage, and a 4,000mAh of battery.
The Nook HD+ gives you a bigger 9in screen at 1920 x 1280, the processor is speedier at 1.5GHz, while storage is upped to start at 16GB.