When Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS) announced the new Nook Tablet on Monday, it appeared to have an app-vantage over the Kindle Fire: Hulu Plus. Now Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) has announced that the Kindle Fire, too, will have Hulu Plus, and the ESPN (NYSE: DIS) ScoreCenter app, along with a host of other apps announced earlier this week.
Amazon announced on Wednesday that the Kindle Fire will have Netflix (NSDQ: NFLX), Rhapsody, Pandora (NYSE: P), Twitter, Facebook and Weather Channel apps, as well as games from Zynga, Electronic Arts (NSDQ: ERTS), Gameloft (EPA: GFT), PopCap and Rovio. Amazon has not responded to my questions about how its Facebook and Twitter apps will work. As our reader Pat points out, Facebook apps normally include GPS, which neither the Kindle Fire nor the Nook Tablet supports.
For the Nook Tablet, Barnes & Noble has announced Netflix (pre-loaded on the device), Hulu Plus, Pandora, Rhapsody, Grooveshark, MOG and games from Rovio and Electronic Arts, among others. Barnes & Noble did not answer my question this week about whether it will include standalone Twitter and Facebook apps.
The Kindle Fire’s app additions mean the Nook Tablet/Kindle Fire app lineups are now looking similar, with the streaming video advantage for Amazon because it also offers Prime Instant Video access from the Kindle Fire. That service is available to Amazon Prime members, who pay $79 per year for free two-day shipping; the Kindle Fire comes with a free one-month trial of Amazon Prime. (Hulu Plus and Netflix also require memberships to watch their content, of course: Hulu Plus is $7.99 per month, and Netflix memberships vary. Check out the differences between the services here.)
Neither Barnes & Noble nor Amazon offers access to the Android Market; rather, each has its own app store. We can expect these app one-upping announcements to continue for awhile, but the fact remains that the Kindle Fire costs $50 less than the $249 Nook Tablet.