Barnes and Noble just couldn't afford to ignore Nook for Android any longer.
For months, Barnes & Noble has promised a Nook digital book reader app for Android, even though the bookseller's eReader app for iPhone and BlackBerry phones actually launched a year ago, long before the Nook's debut. I don't know why the Android version took so long, but with Android reader apps already available from Amazon, Kobo and Borders, it's about time Barnes & Noble caught up.
Nook's Android app has all the features of its iOS counterpart. You can launch Barnes & Noble's e-book store from within the app, let other people sample your library with LendMe and sync purchases and page counts across multiple devices. The Android app is also Barnes & Noble's first to get Nook branding; according to Electronista, the B&N eReader apps on other platforms will be rebranded in the future.
I'm guessing Barnes & Noble had to hustle on Android with all its competitors already on board, but the bigger picture is that all these new e-reader apps are a sign of Android development heating up. For reader apps specifically, it makes sense to start supporting Android now, with the large-screen Droid X and HTC Evo 4G on the market, and with Android tablets on the way.
Generally speaking, the rise of Android is proving attractive to developers. In related news Thursday, AOL's new content portal app launched for Android first. iPhone users will have to wait, or just use AOL's HTML5 Web app instead.
Why is iOS waiting its turn behind Android? "Momentum is the key reason," David Temkin, AOL's vice president of mobile, told GigaOM. Android phone sales outpaced the iPhone for the first time in Q1, and the activation rate for new Android phones is now 160,000 units per day.
Eventually, all those sales had to pay off for users in the form of new apps, faster development and in some cases priority treatment over the iPhone. Looks like it's finally happening.