I bought a Nook Color from BestBuy last week. It wasn’t on sale but I was able to find a 10% OFF printable coupon online which saved me $25 off the retail price of $250. For those who aren’t familiar with the device, the Nook Color is Barnes & Noble’s 7-inch Android-based eBook reader/tablet.
Although it is based on Android, the Nook Color’s software is limited and proprietary (out of the box) so users don’t have full access to the Android Market and can’t do most of the stuff that other Android tablets do. The hardware on the other hand is one of the best among the current tablets available in the market. I got the Nook Color with the full intention of rooting it (same as jailbreak for the iPhone) and turning it into an Android tablet.
Angry Birds Rio
Before rooting it, I tried two alternatives that ran Android via a bootable SD card and didn’t mess up the stock B&N software – Nookie Froyo (Android 2.2 Froyo) and Nookie Honeycomb (Android 3.0 Honeycomb). Btw, using bootable SD cards is a good option for those who don’t want to root their device (you can revert to the default Nook Color software anytime, just remove the SD card and reboot). The Froyo version was nice and stable but lacked some features while the Honeycomb version was a bit laggy and wasn’t that stable. After trying those two options, I decided to go ahead and root my Nook Color with CyanogenMod 7 (Android 2.3 Gingerbread), one of the popular custom firmwares for Android.
Followed the tutorials I found online and succesfully rooted the Nook Color within minutes (I’ll share the video tutorial I used along with a few personal notes on a separate post). The rooted Nook Color is a totally different device compared to the one that came out of the box. Rooting not only provides more options and features but enables the device to reach its full potential. Now I have access to the Android Market meaning I can download and install different apps. Here are some of the apps that I’ve installed – WordPress for Android, Gmail, Facebook, NimBuzz, TweetDeck, Dropbox, Skyfire and of course, Angry Birds. I now also have live wallpapers and widgets as well as Adobe Flash so I can view websites like YouTube, CNN, NBA and other websites with Flash content. Aside from that, I’ve overclocked the Nook Color so it now runs on 925 MHz instead of the default 800 MHz and have enabled Bluetooth so I can pair it with a wireless keyboard and share files with other Bluetooth-enabled devices.
Even though the device has been rooted, it still can be used to read eBooks using the Nook for Android app (if you want to use your Barnes & Noble account) or the Amazon Kindle app. So even though it’s now an Android Tablet, the Nook doesn’t lose its original functionality as an eBook reader/tablet.
If you don’t need 3G (GPS capabilities) or a camera, I believe that the Nook Color is a good and cheaper option than the iPad or other Android-based tablets like the Motorola Xoom (WiFi only $599) or the new T-Mobile 7″ Samsung tab ($249). If you purchase a 32GB micro SD card for $50, you’ll have an Android Tablet with 40GB of memory/storage space that only costs $300 (a 32GB WiFi-only iPad costs $599).
Like I mentioned earlier, I’ll be sharing the video tutorial I used on how to root a Nook Color and include some notes that could help other users in a different post. I’ll also be posting about how to convert and upload videos to a rooted Nook Color, how to enable BlueTooth on the Nook Color and lots of other stuff. Aside from that, I’ll also be posting a lot of Android-related stuff now that I have the Nook Color/Android Tablet.
Anybody else have a rooted Nook Color? What custom firmware did you install on it? If not, what’s keeping you from rooting it? Please share your thoughts.