With all the excitement around iPhone 5, iOS 6, and Google Maps, one thing you may not realize is that Google only offers its maps on standard Android devices, not customized flavors of Android. Consequently, like the iPhone 5, Kindle Fire and NOOK do not offer built-in Google Maps.
In the case of Apple, they chose to remove Google maps a year early and replace it with their own. In the case of Amazon and Barnes & Noble, those were Google’s rules — no Google maps unless you adhere to rules set forth by Android’s Open Handset Alliance, i.e. no customization.
(Incidentally, in the case of Apple, I think Google made a strategic blunder, perhaps suffering from some foresight. How magical would it have been for a Google Maps app for iOS to be formally announced a week after the iPhone 5 launch? Everyone would have cheered.)
Now, if we had used the standard Android APIs then Kindle and NOOK wouldn’t get native map views or Google Maps due to Google’s policies. We decided we had to find a better way to approach native map views on Android. So we wrote our own implementation! That allowed us to offer native map view to not just plain-vanilla Android device, but also to Kindle and NOOK!
And a good thing too!
A few weeks ago, the new Kindle Fire HDs came out. We think these are very attractively priced devices. They run a customized Android 4.x, so we’ve recently fixed a bunch of issues on Android 4.x. We also added two new Kindle Fire HD skins to the simulator (one for 7 inch and one for 9 inch) back in daily build 909. Based on reports so far, your Corona apps will work just fine on these devices.
Not to be one-upped, Barnes&Noble announced two new NOOK HD models today. Two months ago, we got a very brief glimpse of these devices, or rather, the prototype. There wasn’t any casing, just the motherboard and display taped to a plastic board. So it’s great to finally see what the final devices look like!
Now, from what we understand, Corona apps should work just fine on the new Nooks. However, when we first heard about these devices, we did let the B&N team know of some necessary tweaks needed on their side to make this happen. We hope these will get done to enable all existing apps to run unchanged. If all else fails, we will make the necessary adjustments to Corona so apps work properly on the new Nooks, though this feels less desirable as it will require re-building.
These devices are coming out in November, so there will be a ton of new HD tablets out there this autumn!