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Turning Your E-Reader Into a Cheap Tablet

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the generic-computing dept.

Hardware Hacking 193

grahamsaa writes "NPR's Weekend Edition aired a story today on how rooting the Nook Color can turn it into a full fledged and relatively inexpensive Android tablet. The story claims that the process takes about half an hour, and only requires the purchase of a Nook and a microSD card, and points listeners to a YouTube tutorial on how to root the device. Could this signal a change in how mainstream users see devices like this? Could rooting Android devices like the Nook ever become mainstream?" We ran a story about this in December, and I haven't seen a flood of hacked readers anywhere so I doubt that tablet makers have anything to worry about.

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Courier (0, Troll)

moskzs (2027424) | more than 3 years ago | (#35630706)

I still wish Microsoft would had released Courier [gizmodo.com] . It would be a perfect tablet, especially for reading ebooks.

Re:Courier (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35630922)

I still wish Microsoft would had released Courier [gizmodo.com]. It would be a perfect tablet, especially for reading ebooks.

I am confused. Why would the courier be perfect for reading an ebook?

The truth is that the format for a physical book is a compromise made to deal with the limitations of the physical world -- the ideal surface for reading is an infinitely large, flat, weightless, continuous page with infinite resolution and durability, which never bends under any circumstances. But obviously, books are made of lots of little teeny fragile wobbly pages that must be bound together in a particular order, and protected by a huge and clunkly binding.

The courier takes all the bad parts of physical books, and all the bad parts of ebooks, and combines them in one package.

In short, if you don't understand why a book is shaped like a book, you might think the Microsoft Courier is a good idea. Once you really look at a book and become aware of the the compromises made in the design of the physical objects, you'll realize that the courier is an awful idea.

Re:Courier (1)

itzdandy (183397) | more than 3 years ago | (#35631094)

to back this thought up, consider how you use books that are spirally bound. When holding in hand and reading, you flip the page all the way around and look at a single sheet.

A single screen, in a portrait layout is just about right. 7"-10" seems to be the best range. ideally about 10-16oz, which is the #1 reason the iPad is not great for reading books, it is just too heavy. #2 being that the screen wears on the eyes after about an 1 hour of reading where eink is comfy for much longer. I have read for 8+ hours in a 16 hour timeframe on my sony reader on an airplane with no eink induced eyestrain whatsoever.

A pixel qi screen on an iPad along with some weight reductions might do the trick. the 'eink' mode should boost battery life nicely as well.

Re:Courier (1)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 3 years ago | (#35631432)

to back this thought up, consider how you use books that are spirally bound. When holding in hand and reading, you flip the page all the way around and look at a single sheet.

No, I don't, unless I'm in a very cramped environment. Often, I will want to refer back to something on the previous page -- a table or diagram, for example.

Re:Courier (1)

itzdandy (183397) | more than 3 years ago | (#35631466)

book reading and reference material are opposite ends of the spectrum of book use. Thats why I specifically said 'when holding in hand and reading', not while doing research or assignments etc.

Re:Courier (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35631526)

Often, I will want to refer back to something on the previous page -- a table or diagram, for example.

You know you're allowed to flip the whole book over, right? :)

Re:Courier (0, Flamebait)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 3 years ago | (#35631380)

If you truly believe that an infinitely large anything is perfect for reading from, you are the single most stupid organism on the planet.

Re:Courier (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 3 years ago | (#35630992)

Was Courier ever anything more than a video of "imagine how cool it would be if somebody made something like this"?

Re:Courier (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35631256)

It depends on how many of the cool features are encumbered by patents.

Re:Courier (3, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 3 years ago | (#35631044)

So let me ask you a question: Do you get paid to herd 100 or so shill accounts, AKA the HB Gary troll herder software, or do they pay you to set up accounts one at a time, ala the old slow way? How are the benefits? Do you get dental and vision? 401K? I'd really like to know as frankly I could do about 1000% better job than you shills without even trying, your so damned obvious it ain't even funny.

As for TFA, we and the posters must have different definitions of "cheap". Those $100 aPads are cheap, $250 for an E-reader? The hell with that. Hell at that price I can get a netbook, why would I wan t this thing rooted or not? hell the iPad I is selling now for $300, this thing is too high with a capital T.

Re:Courier (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35631148)

OMFG. Hairyfeet, the most annoying "I own a shop and Windows for EVERYTHING11!!ONE" troll has actually said something that makes sense and doesn't smack of MS shillin.

*Clap*

Re:Courier (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#35631582)

These posts come from one of those "no-reply" email accounts. Don't seriously expect a response. Unless you're talking to a personal friend, you'll never know if the person on the other end is human.

Re:Courier (1)

satuon (1822492) | more than 3 years ago | (#35631206)

The Courier's form factor resembles more an ordinary laptop than a real slate - the laptop is a 'clamshell' design too. The idea of the slate is that you don't have to open and close it, and that you can hold it with one hand while standing. The Courier lacks the very features that differentiate the iPad from regular laptops. So people who would rather buy a Courier than an iPad, would probably also rather buy an ordinary laptop than the Courier anyway.

Re:Courier (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#35631640)

Courier was never a real product. It was never a prototype. It never made it to the demo stage. If you look at any of the "demos" you'd see that all the screens and animations were simulated. It's sorta like saying you wish that Dr. Emmett Brown actually made a time-traveling DeLorean.

Even if somehow had made Courier, it would have made a terrible reader. Judging by the sheer horsepower required for the Courier, it probably would not have been battery efficient. Also MS would have probably picked OLED or backlit color LCD as the screen which is not great in direct light. The eReaders work great because text is much easier on the eyes; however, they are not great at multi-media situations. Also eReaders have great battery life. Lastly, two screens = more weight.

Thumbs up to Barnes and Noble (5, Interesting)

arob28 (2025644) | more than 3 years ago | (#35630732)

For not suing everybody like Sony is.

Re:Thumbs up to Barnes and Noble (2)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 3 years ago | (#35630812)

For not suing everybody like Sony is.

These are not the 'droids you are seeking. Nothing to see. Move along.

Re:Thumbs up to Barnes and Noble (2)

hort_wort (1401963) | more than 3 years ago | (#35631004)

SHHHHhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!
What are you thinking?! You're gonna jinx it! :P

Re:Thumbs up to Barnes and Noble (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35631082)

Well, if they were behaving like SONY, I think the first approach would be to discontinue the ability to read etext. Then, if anyone dared restore that ability, they'd exploit their choke-hold on the legal system.

Re:Thumbs up to Barnes and Noble (3, Interesting)

symbolset (646467) | more than 3 years ago | (#35631516)

They seem to be getting behind it. Reportedly they're going to have a regular Android App marketplace [cnet.com] on the thing. There are rumors of an official full Android software update. Why fight it? The more people who buy it, the cheaper the economies of scale become for their reader.

Re:Thumbs up to Barnes and Noble (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35631660)

Nook has been going that way for a while. Shortly after I got mine they upgraded the web browser to release status rather than beta. They included a chess program and audio player with the release as well. I've been wondering how long it was going to take them to include at least basic programs like a to do list or calendar program.

Mind you that's the Nook WiFi without the fancy color screen, the one with a color screen seems even more of a no brainer.

I suspect what's going on here is that Barnes & Noble figured out that allowing this is good for their sales, and that as long as the devices still can read the books they sell that there isn't really much to worry about.

Shocking I know, that a major corporation would be that open minded to people using the devices they buy as they like.

Re:Thumbs up to Barnes and Noble (5, Insightful)

taustin (171655) | more than 3 years ago | (#35631902)

They plan to make money selling books, not book readers. The more readers they sell, the cheaper each one is to manufacture, and the more readres they sell. People who root aren't very likelyt o buy books, but the cheaper the price, the more people who will buy books will buy readers.

Plus, B&N are a brick & mortar store, and always have been. Unlike Amazon, where having employees dealing one on one with customers is an expense to be minimized, at B&N, it's the whole point.

Re:Thumbs up to Barnes and Noble (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35631568)

Wait, you mean we could have been suing everybody? Thanks for the heads up!

Warmest regards,
Barnes & Noble

Re:Thumbs up to Barnes and Noble (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35631788)

They're too busy not going bankrupt.

Full Fledged Android Tablet? (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#35630752)

turn it into a full fledged and relatively inexpensive Android tablet
...
It's a little slower ... [t]here are occasional glitches. Sometimes things don't appear correctly on the screen in certain applications. If you're just using it to surf the Internet, use some apps, play angry birds, etc., it works very well

Either the author's expectations of an Android tablet are low or they have created an 'acceptable' Android tablet. They even compare it to the Galaxy tab but like their Frankendroid better because it's lighter & thinner.

Re:Full Fledged Android Tablet? (2)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#35630940)

From someone that has done this and used a Galaxy tab for a short time... It's not the same, not even close. the Nook Color is slow as molasses compared to the Galaxy tab or even a 1st gen ipad.

It's a great hack for the poor, but useability is very low due to the limited ram and really slow processor.

IF all you want to do is run the facebook app and the twitter app along with your ebooks, it's great. If you think you will use it as a full-on tablet.... well get used to S-L-O-W.....

Re:Full Fledged Android Tablet? (4, Informative)

basotl (808388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35631102)

The Nook Color has the same amount of ram as the Galaxy Tab. I don't know what you are talking about there.
http://www.androidtablets.net/forum/nook-color-technical/3483-nookcolor-full-specifications.html [androidtablets.net]
http://www.gsmarena.com/samsung_p1000_galaxy_tab-3370.php [gsmarena.com]

In addition rooting allows overclocking the Nook Color which greatly increases the speed.

Re:Full Fledged Android Tablet? (1, Informative)

Aighearach (97333) | more than 3 years ago | (#35631248)

What he said was that usability is low because of a combination of two things:
* limited RAM
* really slow processor
Perhaps the Galaxy Tab's faster processor makes up partially for the limited RAM. Maybe there are other differences.

I remember back in the old days when this place was filled with nerds.

Lesson finished, get... off... my... lawn!!!

Re:Full Fledged Android Tablet? (2)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35631340)

But it doesn't have a really slow processor. It's UC'd to 800MHz, you can easily OC it to 1.1 GHz.

Re:Full Fledged Android Tablet? (3, Interesting)

Aighearach (97333) | more than 3 years ago | (#35631354)

The one useful thing about root-ing it, other than giggles, might be underclocking it even more to improve the battery life.

Re:Full Fledged Android Tablet? (1)

ladoga (931420) | more than 3 years ago | (#35631810)

Underclocking doesn't necessarily improve the battery life. The idea is that faster the processor can get thru the task on hand the sooner it can go back to idling, which is good for battery life. I.E. In case of N900 moderate overclocking actually increases the battery life as the processor will spend more time idling. For systems with fixed clock speed you might be right though, but you will have hard time finding modern tablets with CPUs that aren't capable of frequency scaling.

Re:Full Fledged Android Tablet? (4, Interesting)

ZosX (517789) | more than 3 years ago | (#35631372)

Uh it has the same memory as a galaxy tab and can be overclocked to 1ghz. While the arm core may not be as fast as a galaxy, it can't be nearly as slow as my ancient G1 at 600mhz, which is happily running froyo at the moment and has the least amount of RAM of any android device. (192MB) If 512mb in android isn't enough for you maybe you need to lay off all the widgets and background apps stealing CPU cycles. I would imagine that a lean Nook running froyo would be more than just usable.

The galaxy tab is nice, but also over twice the price of a nook. For some speed isn't everything. I mean what are we really talking about here? Another 2-5 seconds to load a web page? Another 2-3 seconds to load an app? Does everything have to be immediate? I don't see the appeal of the tab either. The honeycomb based tablets are the next generation. It will be interesting when that level of hardware starts hitting close to the price of a nook now.

Re:Full Fledged Android Tablet? (3, Informative)

basotl (808388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35630960)

I purchased my NookColor just after launch and preceded to root it.

I use it for reading books, PDF's, Church Applications (a nice Scripture program), taking notes, calendaring, news apps, irc and some games.
It experiences glitches less than my Android phone but others experience may be diffeerent.

Re:Full Fledged Android Tablet? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35631158)

"Preceded" to root it? You mean you rooted it even before you bought it?

Re:Full Fledged Android Tablet? (1, Insightful)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 3 years ago | (#35631194)

I think you proceeded to root it.

Re:Full Fledged Android Tablet? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35631936)

Religion is for the weak.

commision on sales of tear gas canisters up (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35630762)

like turning your friends into zombies? friends don't let friends get into being theft/murder/mayhem accomplices?

the demand has never been greater (for tear gas, & all caliber live rounds). banks would appear to be in disfavor, while at the same time having most of our resources under military manglement. the chosen ones know what's hot.

as for work, there's plenty. we're counting several million infants who's lives are in serious jeopardy today. not all of them will be killed today, but many will perish & be reported as unproven, or not at all?

banks &/or ballistics. that's where the big bucks are (grazing) now, & maybe forever? are we also like eunuchs as well as mathematically challenged?

right to remain silent still holding us up

Time (5, Informative)

jmitchel!jmitchel.co (254506) | more than 3 years ago | (#35630802)

I'd put the process at closer to an hour. The big time sink is figuring out WTF is going on and what you want to do about it - there are no less than four major options, with a dozen smaller decisions to make, all wrapped up in a slightly hermetic nomenclature. It still ain't for the weak kneed and non-technical. HOWEVER, the nightly CyanogenMod 7 build is getting really close to maximum awesomeness - video playback doesn't work quite right, bluetooth doesn't work quite right, but both of them work. By late april it should be a clear winner, and that will make the decision much easier.

Re:Time (0)

bmo (77928) | more than 3 years ago | (#35630836)

>video playback on an e-ink device

Wat. Seriously. Wat.

E-ink is little spheres in a fluid. It's not a bloody TFT display.

It's never going to work. You can't defeat physics with code no matter what you think you can do. It's like the HFT idiots thinking they can get trades down to picoseconds.

--
BMO

Re:Time (5, Informative)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | more than 3 years ago | (#35630878)

Nook Color comes with LCD, not E-ink.

Re:Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35630894)

The Nook Color has a 1024x600 resolution multi touch touchscreen LCD display, https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Nook_Color

Re:Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35630898)

>video playback on an e-ink device

Wat. Seriously. Wat.

E-ink is little spheres in a fluid. It's not a bloody TFT display.

It's never going to work. You can't defeat physics with code no matter what you think you can do. It's like the HFT idiots thinking they can get trades down to picoseconds.

--
BMO

Nook = first gen hardware release, e-ink ereader
Nook Color = second gen hardware release, touch screen tablet running Android under the hood but normally locked down to being just an ereader

Obviously people are doing all this rooting on the second gen hardware. Get your facts straight before talking.

Re:Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35630900)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=24srQXX81Oc

It looks like you have no idea what you're talking about...

Re:Time (0, Redundant)

LLKrisJ (1021777) | more than 3 years ago | (#35630974)

nook is LCD dumbass...

And learn to spell before you start talking about physics, the concepts of which are obviouly well beyond your grasp...

Re:Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35631618)

And learn to spell before you start talking about physics, the concepts of which are obviouly well beyond your grasp...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muphry's_law [wikipedia.org]

Re:Time (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35631688)

Nook Color uses an LCD, but the regular Nook uses E-Ink, hence the confusion.

Re:Time (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35631048)

You must be the dumbest fucking idiot in the history of slashdot.

Wat. Wat. .... lol

Re:Time (1)

Aighearach (97333) | more than 3 years ago | (#35631260)

You think video playback on e-ink is like a temple? I thought it was kindof a lame idea, myself.

But then you don't think it will work.

You seem confused. I prescribe more time at the Wat.

Re:Time (2)

Digicrat (973598) | more than 3 years ago | (#35631754)

The trademark feature of the E-ink version of the Nook is that it ALSO has a small LCD display. Your not going to be able to play videos on the big screen, but there's no reason you can't watch them on the tiny one. Now, whether or not there's a point to that may be another question, but the option is there.

People are definitely rooting both versions of the Nook, E-Ink and Color.

Re:Time (1, Troll)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 3 years ago | (#35630936)

video playback doesn't work quite right, bluetooth doesn't work quite right, but both of them work. By late april it should be a clear winner, and that will make the decision much easier.

And people on here wonder why the general populous just wants an iPad.

Re:Time (2)

basotl (808388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35631112)

Well he is talking about on a rom. I have found video playback to be fine on default root. Bluetooth is not officially supported so that should be a consideration. It was a major win that it could be unlocked later at all.

Re:Time (1)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 3 years ago | (#35631198)

Wait. You're actually comparing a rooted and hacked e-reader hobbyist project to the ipad? Wow. Just wow.

Re:Time (1, Insightful)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 3 years ago | (#35631468)

Wait. You're actually comparing a rooted and hacked e-reader hobbyist project to the ipad? Wow. Just wow.

Uh... so now people aren't reading the summary? The parent post had a good reason for comparing it to a mainstream tablet. Here ya go, just the relevant lines (emphasis is mine):

"Could this signal a change in how mainstream users see devices like this? Could rooting Android devices like the Nook ever become mainstream?"

Re:Time (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35631520)

You and the grandparent are both fucking retarded.

Re:Time (2)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 3 years ago | (#35631560)

The summary is just a bunch of BS somebody spouted off. The ggp was actually trying to say that the relative shittiness of the rooted nook color compared to the ipad had something to do with how popular ipads are. That's just stupid. And you are even stupider for endorsing it.

Re:Time (1)

narcc (412956) | more than 3 years ago | (#35631696)

Wait. You're actually comparing a rooted and hacked e-reader hobbyist project to the ipad? Wow. Just wow.

Sorry, I don't understand why you're so 'shocked' by the comparison. Both products are tablets. That one is a hobbyist project is what makes the article interesting.

Spec wise, it's not far off from the iPad and even matches some iPad 2 specs. 512mb ram, 800 MHz A8 processor (OC to 1.1GHz), muti-touch display, expandable 8GB flash.

The iPad and iPad2 seem to be popular right now with tablet enthusiasts, so why not make the comparison?

Re:Time (1)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 3 years ago | (#35631920)

Why is it so hard to understand that the "shock" comes from the fact that he's implying the ipad owes any of its success to the relative quality of a nook color. I know it's Sunday and everybody's hungover but, really?

Re:Time (1)

narcc (412956) | more than 3 years ago | (#35631978)

Where did he imply that the iPad owes any of its success to the relative quality of a nook color? I know it's Sunday and everybody's hungover but, really?

Re:Time (1)

basotl (808388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35630984)

That's only if you are a geek that sucked into the options. Just doing a basic root is extremely quick now days.

Re:Time (2)

jmitchel!jmitchel.co (254506) | more than 3 years ago | (#35631450)

That was not my experience - you have to know if you want to auto-nooter, nookie froyo, CM7 or gingerbread, and you have to find genuinely authoritative documentation for performing the work. Once you're rooted and have done if a few times, it's really easy. But my first try (only a few weeks ago) ended up using somebody's not quite right autonooter kit for 1.10, the second or third try instructed me to wipe my /boot fs (requiring a reflash to stock). And it was a few times around before I figured out that a lot of my boot problems were due to having leftover boot sectors on my SD cards. So - it's extremely quick and easy once you understand it, and find authoritative instructions,

Re:Time (1)

Veritas1980 (1008679) | more than 3 years ago | (#35631434)

I have noticed the video issue as well as a couple others. ONLY on my nook color with cyanogen does the nook app not find my books I purchased already, and the google talk app does not show received messages, only sent. Its quite frustrating.

Re:Time (2)

Zerimar (1124785) | more than 3 years ago | (#35631590)

BS, it takes a half hour, tops. Following this wiki http://nookdevs.com/NookColor_Rooting [nookdevs.com] will walk you through it. The only decision you have to make it deciding which software version of nookCOLOR you have. The only reason it would take longer is if you are messing with replacing the whole system, but a basic root with marketplace support takes very little time at all.

This generations' I-Opener (-1, Troll)

hduff (570443) | more than 3 years ago | (#35630818)

A tablet from a Kindle is like the I-Opener fad of the late 90s.

It is akin to [car analogy ahead] putting chrome rims on a Volkswagen Beetle: Looks nice, feels good, but still runs like crap.

Re:This generations' I-Opener (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35631020)

I had a VW beetle that was faster than any car you owned, and ran perfectly.. Hell I beat corvettes easily in it. 298HP in that light car with 19" wide rear tires utterly decimated snotty kids in their chargers and corvettes easily. It's amazing what you can do with a super-beetle engine, a turbo, and knowledge on hot to modify it. I ran a 12psi boost on a superbeetle engine for 2 years before I blew the transmission up, the wide tires were stressing it hard as they would not slip on take-off. Wheelies in a bug were fun as hell.. I was getting a 9.89 quarter mile times out of it, spent less than $3000 back in the late 80's to build it. Great high-school kid project, but then I have been racing cars since 12, bike since 8.

Aluminum rims on a beetle are better, far lower unsprung weight.

BTDT (2)

Nexus7 (2919) | more than 3 years ago | (#35630826)

Overat Slatedroid.com, they've been turning the Pandigital Novel Reader into a full Android tablet for over a year now. During this past holiday season, discounts brought the price to around $70 - for this 7" color tablet.

Re:BTDT (1)

basotl (808388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35631008)

I went with the Nook Color. I found the apps I like to have going constantly make use of the ram the NC has. Though I have noted many that the Pandigital is sufficient for them. It really depends on what you plan to do with it.

Re:BTDT (2)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#35631046)

And it sucks. Really it does. Only the latest release fixes the sleep problem. And the tablet is slow as hell, the wireless weak as hell and slow as molasses...

I have one here all hacked and the hacked market installed... I dont like waiting for everything to load and reading large PDF's on it is a exercise in pain....

Hacking these is great, but they are low end hardware packages. Android needs 1.2ghz or higher and a lot more ram than these things come with.

More likely to signal a change in Nook design (3, Informative)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 3 years ago | (#35630850)

Could this signal a change in how mainstream users see devices like this?

Its more likely to signal an upcoming change in Nook design and/or software.

Could rooting Android devices like the Nook ever become mainstream?"

Perhaps after the Linux desktop becomes mainstream.

Re:More likely to signal a change in Nook design (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 3 years ago | (#35631092)

I don't see how this is bad for B&N. Unless the hack destroys the DRM of the books, anything that will increase sales of the nook will keep B&N one extra step from bankruptcy.

As far as who will hack it, it may be more than we think. People who have no clue how o install an OS are hacking the iPhone. Of course, a many average users are incapable of following simple instructions, or conceptualizing how a computer works, so they will not be hacking.

Re:More likely to signal a change in Nook design (2)

pscottdv (676889) | more than 3 years ago | (#35631138)

I don't see how this is bad for B&N. Unless the hack destroys the DRM of the books, anything that will increase sales of the nook will keep B&N one extra step from bankruptcy.

You can install the Kindle app on a rooted Nook Color.

Re:More likely to signal a change in Nook design (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35631712)

That's really not that big of a deal. B&N opted to go with what was intended to be the standard for ebooks, as in epub, they knew that people would be buying from other stores. It's mostly Amazon's short sightedness that this isn't already possible.

OTOH, rooting Nook and removing the links to their store would hurt B&N, but I doubt that it's going to be common enough for them to worry about.

The Daily Chimpout (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35630872)

Today, featuring TNB Courtroom chimp-out! [youtube.com]

No, this isn't going to become mainstream (2)

DavidinAla (639952) | more than 3 years ago | (#35630886)

You can also find books and websites about how to build your own car, but hardly anybody does that, statistically speaking. The fact that something CAN be done doesn't necessarily mean that most people want to do it. For a small minority, it's vaguely interesting that it's possible, but the majority just want a product that works. The actual percentage of people who actually turn a Nook into a cheap tablet would be astonishingly small, IMO.

Re:No, this isn't going to become mainstream (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35631726)

That's essentially illegal in most of the world. There's all sorts of bureaucratic stuff you have to go through if you want to drive on public roads. Not to mention the hassle of getting the thing licensed and probably emission tested as well.

I love my Nook Color (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35630906)

I currently own a nook color that I rooted with Eclair (2.1). For me I wanted something in between a phone and a full laptop for when I am sitting around in waiting rooms. It serves this purpose perfectly. I would not give this tablet to anyone who tech illiterate though, as it is still rough around the corners. Given that the hack is only a few months old, I am extremely impressed with its current abilities, especially with its low price tag, and am eager to see how it continues to progress. Some of the cons are that it is not 3G, does not have a camera, and its sensors may be lacking or the hack making them available seems to be lacking. Though the hack does bring some entirely new functionality to the Nook. It was found that the WiFi chip also includes Bluetooth which is turned off in software. It is now available in some of the ROM's and now provides the ability for Bluetooth keyboards and SIP calling.

Overall, I could not be happier with a $200 tablet. It really does everything I need it to do and then some. It has decent battery life and retains all of the standard Nook functionality in addition to the features provided by rooting it. I consider it a great value when compared to the Galaxy tab as I find it difficult rationalizing the missing features are worth an additional $400. Moreover, so far it seems that B&N have been amenable to people rooting their Nook. As they should, since I buy books from B&N that I wouldn't have previously, and am encouraging others to buy their hardware and books because of their attitude towards the hacking community and the versatility of their hardware.

It really seems like one of those rare situations where everyone is winning. Fortunately, B&N doesn't seem to be in a hurry to shoot themselves in the foot with both barrels, a la, Sony, etc.

Re:I love my Nook Color (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35630942)

If rooting devices like the Nook ever becomes mainstream, be prepared for a price jump. It's great that B&N aren't suing people, but they're mostly ignoring it because only a small percentage of people are rooting their Nooks. They sell the hardware at a loss to make it up in eBook purchases, which is why they lock it down in the first place, so that it's still primarily a platform for books first. If the mainstream ever starts buying them to root for real tablet functionality and their book sales drop off, they will jack up the price so they don't lose money overall.

Is it sold at a loss? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35631866)

They sell the hardware at a loss to make it up in eBook purchases

I've been wondering if this is the case. Do you have any citations?

Re:I love my Nook Color (3, Interesting)

basotl (808388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35631040)

Booksellers in Barnes and Noble often seem to point out that it can be rooted to any "geeky" individuals they notice browsing the device.

Ask Slashdot: Ebay Chinise Tablet "EPAD" (1)

bmsleight (710084) | more than 3 years ago | (#35630910)

Rather than a nook, I thinking of buying one of the cheap Android tablets on ebay. VIA 8650 7" Google Android 2.2 etc. Vairous names such as epad-e2. They apparently play flash, youtube etc vidoes. And cost £130. Anyone brought/used/seen one ?

Re:Ask Slashdot: Ebay Chinise Tablet "EPAD" (1)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 3 years ago | (#35630976)

I believe these mostly have resistive touch screens rather than capacitative ones. If you're fine with a stylus ...

Re:Ask Slashdot: Ebay Chinise Tablet "EPAD" (3, Informative)

cstec (521534) | more than 3 years ago | (#35631268)

Actually resistive touch screens work fine with a finger, no stylus necessary. Case in point a Palm Treo, which was designed to be dialed with a finger tip. The stylus gives much finer control so apps were written to leverage that, but that wasn't a requirement and any number of Palm apps were 'finger friendly. For a more recent example, the HTC Sense UI is entirely finger oriented and runs perfectly on WinMo devices like a Touch Pro 2.

Re:Ask Slashdot: Ebay Chinise Tablet "EPAD" (1)

bmsleight (710084) | more than 3 years ago | (#35631270)

Could live with a stylus .. may be worth a punt.

Re:Ask Slashdot: Ebay Chinise Tablet "EPAD" (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 3 years ago | (#35630986)

The standard disclaimer here is that you're getting what you pay for, with those: people usually point to some non-standard store that they've included, and the quality of the hardware itself frequently leaves a lot to be desired. Find a review on a tablet site.

Re:Ask Slashdot: Ebay Chinise Tablet "EPAD" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35631366)

I did this, and I sold it back for 50 euros (having bought it at 90) because I couldn'd stant to look at the thing, and I was ashamed for having bought it in the first place:
- RAM was listed as 256MB, but it was actually 128MB
- Android was listed as 2.2 but it was actually 1.6
- CPU was listed as 1 GHz but it was about 350 MHz
- Market was some Chinese rip-off, the original was not working
The problem was not (or wasn't only) in the eBay listing: for all of these the firmware was hacked to report false informations

I installed a rooted firmware I found and it got better; I'm saying this just to praise the effort of the guy who put together the ROM, but the device actually went up from unuseable to just painful:

- slow. No, seriously, slow as in "you click and for the next minute wonder: did it crash?"
- horrible video (blocky, jerky, pick your choice of visual defect) and audio (volume at max, you couldn't still hear a thing)
- scrolling wasn't exactly smooth
- battery life of two hours at most (just an estimate based on the meter going down, not that I could stand to use it for more than 30 minutes)
- becomes really hot, since it is probably factory-overclocked
- did I say slow?

And just in case you have some money to throw away and want to install a ROM pack, as I did, beware of the fact that there are dozens of variations of these e-pads, mostly incompatible, and you' re going to waste a day finding the right one.

Re:Ask Slashdot: Ebay Chinise Tablet "EPAD" (1)

bmsleight (710084) | more than 3 years ago | (#35631946)

Thanks for the feedback.

Re:Ask Slashdot: Ebay Chinise Tablet "EPAD" (1)

sensei moreh (868829) | more than 3 years ago | (#35631442)

I've got one of the older versions, which runs Android 1.6. It's definitely not fast. I prefer using a stylus with the on-screen keyboard, but otherwise a finger works well. As an added bonus, It also runs Debian (off the micro SD card). Battery life sucks - maybe an hour with wifi on, about 2.5 hrs with wifi off. Bottom line - it works as expected.

Re:Ask Slashdot: Ebay Chinise Tablet "EPAD" (1)

bmsleight (710084) | more than 3 years ago | (#35631498)

Ok - now I am sold. Debian! I know Google is my friend, but any details of which version of debian etc and limitation would be great. Also is the install (of debian) easy ?

Re:Ask Slashdot: Ebay Chinise Tablet "EPAD" (1)

sensei moreh (868829) | more than 3 years ago | (#35631630)

Basically, you copy the image to the microSD card and then boot off that card. I found it to be too slow to be worth using - when I want Linux on the go, I'll just carry my netbook. However, for all the details:http://www.slatedroid.com/index.php?/topic/5837-rom-debian-v03-for-flytouch-sd-bootable/page__hl__debian/ [slatedroid.com]

Re:Ask Slashdot: Ebay Chinise Tablet "EPAD" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35631666)

I have several, pretty good. with some reservations. My favourite is the Telepad 10.1 (aka badpad) available from MP4Nation for just under $200 (I think dealextreme has it down to $180). This one uses the Telechips TCC8902 chipset, runs 2.1, and decodes 1080p without breaking a sweat, runs at a reasonable speed and has a pretty responsive two point touch resistive screen. The battery life blows, but this is great for home use. The remarkable thing is that this tablet is incredibly thin and light.

Keep in mind that the Viewsonic G Tablet is down to $300 for an incredibly well spec'ed unit (Tegra 2 tablet w/ capacitive 1024x600 screen) . Once reflashed this is an incredible tablet.

I also have a Nook Color which is my default tablet, incredibly good for all my needs.

The fun part is that all 3 tablets together cost less than a midrange iPad2.
 

lamest question ever? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35630930)

Could rooting Android devices like the Nook ever become mainstream?

Fuck no. What a stupid question!

Seen it. (1)

Octopuscabbage (1932234) | more than 3 years ago | (#35631226)

This has been on instructables for a really long time...

Slashdot != NPR (1)

SolarCanine (892620) | more than 3 years ago | (#35631306)

> We ran a story about this in December, and I haven't seen a flood of hacked readers anywhere so I doubt that tablet makers have anything to worry about. Because, you know, Slashdot is easily as mainstream as NPR. Just sayin'.

Not only is the nook color a tablet ... (1)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | more than 3 years ago | (#35631412)

It is also one of the best tablets. Currently, outside of the xoom, the only one in the wild that runs Honeycomb.

Most of the development takes place in slatedroid.com and xda-developers.com.

The sad state of Android tablets, is that community firmwares are light-years ahead of factory defaults.

Re:Not only is the nook color a tablet ... (1)

Americano (920576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35631686)

The sad state of Android tablets, is that community firmwares are light-years ahead of factory defaults.

Right, because Motorola and Samsung don't give a shit what happens with the software on your device after you pay for it. There's no revenue for them in providing updates to the latest-and-greatest software, so you can expect them (as a rule) to refuse to provide any upgrades except bare-minimum security support.

When you decouple the software from the hardware maker (like Android), you automatically create incentives for the manufacturer to NOT spend any time improving the software:
1) Any of my hard work upgrading the software and fixing bugs in any of the free software on the device means my competitors can take those changes and include them in their hardware for minimal cost;
2) I care about selling the device - after it's been sold, it becomes a support drain on me, so the focus is to get the software "good enough to make the sale," and then focus on new versions of the hardware.

How many phones out there have been abandoned by the manufacturers, in terms of software upgrades to new Android versions after the sale? It seems like upgrades are the vast exception to the rule, rather than the rule. This same sad scene is likely to play out in the tablet space, as well.

Re:Not only is the nook color a tablet ... (1)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | more than 3 years ago | (#35631846)

I don't agree with your statement that there is no revenue in providing updates.

If somebody offered a very high quality phone, with great hardware (better than the iphone), with upgradeable memory and processor, user-replaceable battery, and some sort of slot to add 3G, and in the future replace that card with 4G/5G etc. and offered 10 years of software upgrades, then that company would have a great selling point, and it would be able to outsell even Apple. Create a phone that you can upgrade, allow us to upgrade or replace screen, battery, processor, memory, eventually the whole motherboard. Bring the clone concept to mobiles, and guarantee future software upgrades.

Also, guaranteeing future software upgrades is INCREDIBLY simple and should cost ZERO DOLLARS to the company. Just release EVERY SINGLE DRIVER under the GPL and push google to commit them to the android kernel. That's it. Do you see computer manufacturers going crazy over supporting future software? No, they just release drivers and software devs take care of the rest.

The problem is that this companies refuse to release source for their drivers, therefore it's impossible to port newer software into their devices.

I have several tablets, and I have managed to run newer Android versions on them. I have a tablet that originally came with 1.5 running Froyo, but it's unusable because we don't have source code for their video acceleration hardware.

Nobody is willing to do the right thing, and because of that they are loosing profits, customers hate them, and apple keeps winning by doing things still marginally right.

Re:Not only is the nook color a tablet ... (1)

kqs (1038910) | more than 3 years ago | (#35631914)

When you decouple the software from the hardware maker (like Android), you automatically create incentives for the manufacturer to NOT spend any time improving the software:

It's not like hardware makers spent any time improving their software before Android. Palm released a few desultory updates in the past for various devices, and I've had a few firmware updates to fix major bugs, but that's it. Amost nobody (except for Apple) releases software updates for devices which add new functionality.

In an ideal world people would consider the upgradeability of hardware when they buy it, but they don't. Until they do, there's no incentive to improve the software.

Nook Color could satiate desire for iPads (2)

schwnj (990042) | more than 3 years ago | (#35631474)

I had been thinking about getting an iPad for a long time. Eventually, decided to hold out for the iPad 2. But one day I was walking through Barnes and Noble, and took a good look at the Nook Color. After reading up on the rooting instructions, I bought the NC for $250, rooted it, and, after a month, my desire for the iPad is gone. I suppose that there will always be people like me who want an iPad but will actually be just as happy with something else. (And the 50% discount from the iPad helps too.) I should also reiterate the fact that there are three flavors of the Nook Color, but not all will suffice as a tablet:

STOCK: Right now, the stock NC has a browser and could serve as a basic tablet for someone. But B&N is soon going to be updating the NC with Froyo and the app market, which will make it much more like a tablet.

ROOTED STOCK: This is the best option as of today. Rooting took me only about 20 minutes, and the process is non-technical/noob friendly. Rooting will get you the market, google apps, push gmail, a new launcher (which will make it look like a true tablet), and softkeys (to replace the missing navigation keys that are on all android phones).

CUSTOM ROM: This has the most promise, but it is not quite ready. Cyanogenmod has nightly builds of CM7 for the NC. As others said above, this will be awesome. I run CM7 on my phone, and I love it. Once it is fully ported to the NC, it will truly be a full-function tablet that can directly compete with the iPad. There are also some custom builds that you can install to a bootable microSD card that run both Froyo and Honeycomb.

The rooting process takes less than 5 minutes (2)

cabbiebot (2027470) | more than 3 years ago | (#35631502)

This is assuming everything is set up. If you hand me a nookcolor out of the box, 5 minutes later I will hand you back an android tablet. One powers down the device, inserts the autonooter'd micro-sd card, plug the device into a power source, and it will automatically boot, go through the process of establishing ADB root access and place superuser (among other things like market, youtube, etc) into /system/app. It will then reboot after about 5 minutes once it's done its magic and voila. Where people get hung up on is burning the autonooter image to the SD card, and its a bit harder to do on Windows since you need to download the free app 'WinImage' to do so, whereas on linux and Mac you simply do the dd command from the terminal. So the actual rooting is extremely fast, its reading up on how to burn the image and then then subsequent steps to establish market access that can take some time. It's stupid simple and laid out very clearly on the nookcolor wiki, though, and the #nookcolor channel on freenode is available for troubleshooting. I have talked with thousands of customers face to face and less than 1% have any idea of what rooting is, and for them the nookcolor is already more than enough tablet for them. Web browser, video playback, pandora, books, magazines, newspapers. But for the few who do mention it and I've vetted as savvy enough to get it, popping out my own NC with CM7, with live wallpapers, market access, all sorts of apps...thats a sale I'm certain to make. Since such a small number of people, respectively, unlock the device, I do not believe B&N will revise the hardware to change the boot order (NC is hardwired to boot off SD, which is why all this is possible). The vast majority of people love the NC just how it is, locked down yet very functional and rave to their friends about it. Couple that with how the dev community is keeping the NC in the press constantly (ie. getting the Cyanogen blessing, bluetooth enabled, overclocked, each of these has gotten it into the blogs), it's a win-win. The only real drawback for B&N would be if people chose to install the Kindle app and not the Nook app. However, after talking with many rooted users, they all seem to understand that they should reward B&N with their business for digital content whenever possible. The last thing anyone wants is for them to regret putting the most open, hackable android device ever out on the market.

You don't need to root it to use as a tablet (2)

kimgkimg (957949) | more than 3 years ago | (#35631624)

The Nook Color will always boot from the microSD card first, so you just need to insert a boot ROM image burned onto a card and it'll just work from that. There's nothing else that needs to be done. This is the easiest route and takes no longer than 10 minutes (most of that time probably waiting for the ISO download and imaging it to the SD card.)

Read that too fast (1)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 3 years ago | (#35631762)

Thought the headline said "Turning your E-Reader into a Cheap Toilet" at first. LOLed.

Mainstream in the same way iPhone unlocking is (1)

Digicrat (973598) | more than 3 years ago | (#35631780)

Rooting Android devices (Nook or otherwise) will never become truly mainstream. The more it's mentioned in the news though, the more this will become mainstream in the iPhone-unlocking sense of the word. The average user knows that it's possible and has a friend, or a friend-of-a-friend that can root it for them, but has neither the inclination or knowledge to root it themselves. The ultimate effect is the same though.

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