Barnes & Noble’s Nook tablets are limited in their mapping abilities, currently relying on Google's web interface to access any kind of maps. That’s set to change today, as the company has announced a partnership with skobbler that will see the Nook tablets gain the ability to natively search and view maps. It’s an interesting move from Barnes & Noble to avoid using Google’s services, although we imagine the advent of the Nexus 7 and its low price point has made the company’s options clearer.
skobbler’s ForeverMap 2 app will be available in the Nook app stores starting from today, allowing owners of the Nook Color and Nook Tablet to navigate and search maps natively. The basic version of the app is free, while a paid version offering downloadable maps will cost $4.99.
There is one major drawback, of course: the Nook range doesn’t have GPS capabilities, so the tablets will have to rely solely on WiFi for a best estimate of the current location. Still, Barnes & Noble has indicated that it will be opening up an API that will allow developers to make use of location-based data for their apps later on in the year.
Nook sales have been slumping as of late, with Barnes & Noble reporting that hardware sales were down 10% on last year in its most recent quarterly financial results. Sales may continue to slide now that the Nexus 7 has arrived on the scene, with Google’s pure Android experience enticing buyers for just $199. Barnes & Noble’s current Nook Tablet commands the same price, but is tied up in a custom version of Android 2.3 designed to promote Barnes & Noble’s content. Still, the company is looking to the future, with a recent report indicating that the company is working on a "revolutionary" new screen.