Barnes & Noble’s NOOK Tablet will come pre-loaded with a number of media apps including Netflix and Hulu Plus for streaming videos, and Pandora for streaming music. But Amazon wants to make it clear that you can choose to download most of those apps on the Amazon Kindle Fire tablet too… plus many others.
The Amazon Appstore has more than 19,000 apps and counting, making it one of the biggest alternatives to the official Google Android Market. So while Amazon would certainly like it if users would sign up for $79 per year Amazon Prime subscriptions to stream movies on their tablets, or purchase music or movies from Amazon MP3 or Amazon Instant Video, if you want to use Netflix or Rhapsody, you can do that.
The key difference is that Barnes & Noble’s tablets will come bundled with those media apps which means they’ll be available without any user intervention. Normally this is what I’d call bloatware, and I prefer Amazon’s strategy of allowing users the change to decide which apps to install. On the other hand, the move makes sense for Barnes & Noble, since it’s playing up the multimedia capabilities of the NOOK Tablet, but the company doesn’t have its own digital music or movie stores.
Amazon says apps that will be available for the Kindle Fire on day one include Facebook, Twitter, netflix, Rhapsody, Pandora, comiXology, and The Weather Channel as well as games from EA, Gameloft, Popcap, Rovio, and Zynga.
Interestingly, the Netflix app for Android isn’t currently available in the Amazon Appstore, but today’s announcement suggests that it should be available soon — although I wonder if it might be available exclusively for the Kindle Fire. Existing Android phone or tablet users can download the Netflix app from the Android Market.
One area where Barnes & Noble might hold the edge is Hulu. There’s no Hulu Plus app available from Amazon’s store, and Hulu is currently the leading (legal) way to stream first run television shows the day after they air in the US.