Friday, March 4, 2011

Nook Color rooting options

Many Android enthusiasts are well aware that the Barnes & Noble Nook Color 7-inch "e-Reader" has the potential to be so much more--namely a full-blown Android tablet device. Several talented developers and hackers are working on 3 different projects aimed at helping the Nook Color realize its full potential. So, what are the projects, what are your options and which should you choose?

Whenever dealing with rooting, I have to provide a warning. 1) I am not responsible for breaking your device. 2) This may void your warranty. 3) Only proceed if you are comfortable and have fully researched the process.

Option 1: Standard Root
The standard root is the process of unlocking your device so that you have access to the Android Market and the thousands of great apps available such as GMail, YouTube, Google Maps, Angry Birds, etc. The look and feel of your device is the same--you'll just have some new icons and apps in the "Extras" section. This method keeps your Barnes & Noble e-Reader experience, while adding some Android goodies.

» Instructions:

Option 2: Install Android 2.2 (Froyo)
This method actually replaces the operating system on your device, meaning the look and feel will change completely. If you have a lot of books and/or magazines downloaded, this is probably not for you as they will be gone. If, though, you are looking for more of a tablet experience, this will load the full Android OS on your Nook and once again give you access to the Android Market and all of the apps.

» Instructions:
» Choose this ROM:

Option 3: Install Android 3.0 (Honeycomb for tablets)
This method also replaces the operating system on your Nook in the same way as option 2, but loads a different version of Android--Honeycomb. Honeycomb, or Android 3, is Google's latest operating system and is optimized for tablets. At the writing of this, it is currently in a more experimental mode on the Nook, but will definitely become more stable as time passes.

» Instructions:
» Choose this ROM:

I would suggest if interested in rooting, start out with Option 1 (you have to do that anyway for the other 2 to work). It is the most stable and still keeps your Barnes & Noble experience. If you are not too interested in the B&N software and purchased the Nook Color for a cheap Android tablet (and at $250 it's got some very good hardware for the price), options 2 and 3 will be for you. Just realize that since these are technically hacks, I would advise you to keep up-to-date with forums at XDA Developers for updates, warnings and other user experiences. One thing to watch out for is system updates coming from Barnse & Noble. Some may cause you to have to re-root your device. They are different each time, however and it's best to check the forums for the latest info.

Here are some other links from YouTube: