In April 2011 I read an article about how to save $10,000 by not buying an IPad. It was an investment article that basically said by avoiding buying a gadget like an IPad and investing the money, 20 years or so down the road you will see that you saved much more than the price of the gadget. That was an interesting article, but what I found much more interesting was that near the end of the article the author mentioned that he was perfectly happy with his “rooted” Barnes and Noble Nook Color book reader instead of the pricey IPad and provided a link pointing to information about “rooting” a B&N Color Nook.
What I found out was that “rooting” meant gaining access to the root directory of the device and altering the firmware to make the book reader have access to the Android marketplace and perform like an Android tablet device. The prospect of having an Android tablet device for less than half the price of an IPad or the more comparable Samsung Galaxy Tab was tempting enough that I rushed to purchase a B&N Color Nook and root it. It required a little work and some confusion but was well worth the effort.
What follows are the notes I took from going through the process of rooting my B&N Color Nook. This is what worked for my Nook, purchased April 2011. There are other sources of information on how to root the device that may be more current, one of them is the Customizing Your Nook Color Facebook page.
- Register with B&N, I think it was the Nook Color Tools app that got me there. The reason for registering with B&N is that this method of turning the Nook into an Android tablet keeps retains most of the original B&N book reader function and allows you to switch back and forth from using the device as a book reader to an Android tablet. Note that the Android market has book-reader apps from both B&N and Amazon, so keeping the original B&N book reader intact is not required to continue using the device as a book reader.
- Identify the Serial Number of the device. The serial number can be found on the box that the Nook came in underneath the bar code. Mine starts with SN20047...
- Identify the firmware by checking settings->device info->about you nook color->software version. Mine shows I have version 1.0.1. This is an important step as the image that needs to be downloaded is dependent on the firmware level.
- Format an SD card with Sdformatter.
- Download the auto-nooter image for 1.0.1 from http://nookdevs.com/NookColor_Rooting. Please read the instructions on that page. They are much more detailed than the notes I have included here.
- Download win32diskimager, unzip, and run the exe. Navigate in the application to the image file, set the drive to SD card, and write the image downloaded in the above step to the SD card.
- Power down the nook.
- Put in the SD card into the Nook. To find where to insert the SD card, turn the Nook so that the display is facing down. There is a cover near the right-hand bottom of the Nook. Remove the cover to insert the SD card.
- Connect nook to computer with the USB cable that came with it.
- The nook will start booting within a minute or so. Note that a minute is a fairly long time, please be patient.
- Remove the SD card before boot completes.
- Set up softkeys as per the instructions found on http://nookdevs.com/NookColor_Rooting.
- Setup the Youtube app.
- Go to android market and install apps, my favorites are:
- Yahoo mail
- Opera browser
- Titanium backup
- Angry birds
- Amazon mp3
- Amazon bookreader (Amazon often charges less for technical publications)
- Cozi calendar
- To use the SD card in the Nook for extra storage, you will have to remove the disk image that was on it. I found that I needed to use Sdformatter again, as the format option from Win 7 would not successfully format the card.