The Barnes & Noble Nook Color (NC) was recently updated to run Android 2.2. It is a svelte, beautiful 7" tablet that is a much more convenient size and weight than, say, an iPad.

But as delivered by B&N, it can't do very much because you can only install apps from the B&N marketplace (all of which seem to cost money).

However, B&N has made it very easy to root the NC. You will need two Micro SD cards. One can be as small as 1 GB to hold ClockworkMod. The second should be as big as you can afford to hold all your music, photos, and applications. I definitely recommend at least a Class 6 (or higher) card. 

There are three steps to rooting your NC. Follow the instrucions at each link very carefully. They worked for me.

1) Be sure your NC is updated to the B&N 1.2 software, which installs Android 2.2.

2) Install ClockworkMod (http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=987735) on the small SD card. 

3) Root the NC using Manual Nooter (http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=10540270).

Once your NC is rooted, you can install any application from the Google Android Marketplace. My NC is successfully running

  • Flash
  • Netflix
  • Adobe Reader
  • Streamfurious Pro (streams internet radio)
  • Subsonic (streams my extensive mp3 collection)
  • WinAmp
  • WiFi Analyzer (diagnoses your wireless G network)
  • Dolphin Browser HD
  • Gmail, Google Calendar
  • Games: Sudoku, Mahjong, Chess, crossword, ...
  • A Better Keyboard
  • SuperBox (a multipurpose utility tool)
  • Dropbox
  • Lookout (security suite)
  • Chat clients: Yahoo Messenger, Meebo, eBuddy (but Yahoo does not work on eBuddy on any device)
  • Google Maps
  • and many more ...

To have more control over things, you probably want to install the Android SDK. The program adb (in the Tools directory) allows you to connect to your Nook wirelessly and to move files from your computer to the NC. There is a good tutorial on adb at http://www.avin.iblogger.org/2011/02/adb-explained-installation-basic-commands/.

There are a few things you need to know that differ from the usual Android installation. You need to use the Zeam Launcher. A choice for this appears in the install process after you reboot. Make this the default. Then from the Zeam interface, you can open the applictions launcher (the checkerboard icon) and see the goodies that were installed for you. Among them are Flash, NookColorTools, BusyBox Installer, abdWireless, and SuperUser.

NookColor Tools is used to allow non-market apps to be installed (it was enabled by default on my NC), and also to change keyboards. Changing keyboards takes some doing. Alas, Swype will not work on a Nook because it requires phone service. So, I likesliodeIT, which is even better than Swype. You will need to license this, which installs a small license file. However, the keyboard programs themselves are not put into /system/app; this prevents NookColor Tools from being able to present this as a keyboard option. Therefore, you should use adb and adbWireless, as getting Windows or OS X to recognize USB devices is chancy at best.

adbWireless presents you with a big button. It is on when the button is Red. The on state allows you to connect yo your NC from a command window (Windows) or iTerm (on a Mac). In each case, I suggest that you change directories to the Android developer's kit tools directory (/Users/jar/android-sdk-mac_86/tools on my Mac). Then you follow the instructions on the adbWireless screen to connect your NC. For my system it is

abd connect 192.168.1.54:5555

The keyboard installers install the keyboard .apk files in /data/app. You must copy them to your pc, and then put them back into /system/app. Then you must reboot so the ColorNook Tools sees them. You can then change the Input Method. For example:

 

adb pull /data/app/com.betterandroid.betterkeyboard8-1.apk
adb push /data/app/com.betterandroid.betterkeyboard8-1.apk /system/app 

It is possible that the /system/app directory is mounted read only. The easiest fix for this is to buy the application Root Explorer, which allows you to change the mount to rw from ro.

Previously I had merely rooted the SD card to run either Honeycomb or Android 2.3. Neither of these worked well. Many apps did not install (Flash, Netflix,...) and even the B&N Nook Reader kept crashing. Since rooting the Nook itself using the Android 2.2 OS, everything seems to work nimbly, and I have experienced no crashes.

The Nook home screen



What is missing?

The Nook has no GPS, microphone, or camera. Thus, no Swype, GPS navigation, or other apps that require these devices. If B&N put these in, and put in a dual-core (and faster) CPU, the NC would hold its own against any other tablet.


Neat Android applications for the Nook Color

PicMe

PicMe is a utility that broadcasts your Nook screen to your PC or Mac live. It sets up a web server on your NC. You connect to it on your PC or Mac using a browser, and can capture the screen content there. It is ideal for doing demos of Android-based applications. It even has limited two-way control. A rooted device is required.

Comments

Submitted by jarome on Wed, 01/18/2012 - 14:27

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The Nook Color (NC) got reduced to $199. The new Nook Tablet (NT) is $250. For that you get a dual-core CPU and 16GB of built-in memory, and a microphone. The microphone lets you run Skype.

The NT has a locked boot loader, so you can't yet install one of the CyanogenMod Android versions. But you can root the NT and then sideload all the Android apps that you need. This gives you a multipurpose Android machine that is a lot snappier than the NC.

Barnes & Noble is not being smart about this because they want to update the NT to remove root. The online rooting procedure prevents this, and you can (apparently) still downgrade the software to the original version, and then root it.

If you are looking to get a color e-reader, I would go with the Pandigital Novel 9 inch, its solid and allwos you to install lots of apps, the barnes and noble is good, but its an e-reader and does not really allow allot of android applications to be installed unless you root it, which is a complicated procedure.

Submitted by Emily on Tue, 04/10/2012 - 03:36

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Log in to Amazon and go to the Manage your Kindle page. Scroll down to Your Orders section and locate the book you want to transfer. If you click on Deliver To, you have the option of sending the book to your Kindle for Android device. Have you tried that? As mentioned already, if it is a book you bought yourself (not from Amazon), it won't sync.

Submitted by Nicole on Wed, 04/11/2012 - 19:33

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Well i'm not sure what importing your books onto your coupmter has to do with it, but as long as it is a book you purchased from Kindle, then it will be registered to your account. After that, you just have to sync your Android device. -10Was this answer helpful?

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