I’ve gotten over the stigma of buying another e-book reader after having the last one stolen from our home last 4th of July. I ended up buying a new Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet. I chose the Nook over the Kindle Fire due to the superior hardware and the declared ease of unlocking the tablet into a full Android tablet. After a few months of himming and hawing, Heather told me to shut up and get the thing. Ha! I'm eternally thankful that I have a wife as good as her.
This particular tablet doesn’t feel cheap. It has a book like texture on the back, and while light, it doesn’t feel brittle as some other portable devices. The screen is very clear and the interface snappy. Most of my decision making process was based on what I would actually use the tablet for. I’d pined over the Asus Transformer Prime for a while, but I eventually had to accept the fact that I wouldn’t get $500 worth of use out of the machine. I don’t travel all that often, and I have constant access to a computer at home and work. Therefore, I didn’t need a GPS nor Voice Chat. Even at the price of the Nook, it was one of the main stopping points for a long time. On the other hand, I was generally disappointed with my last e-book reader purchase that was nearly always sluggish.
Anyways, I have my Nook tablet on all the articles on how easy it was to root. Low and behold, by the time I get one B&N decide that they don’t want their device to be as rootable as before after Amazon locked down their Kindle Fire from the same type of unlocking mechanisms. Luckily there is a forum that has a few dedicated people to keeping the “open” in open source software. After a couple hours of reading through forum posts, I felt confident that I could perform the operation myself. I took some notes while working and felt they should be published, maybe if I need to do it again.
Now some people out there might balk at the idea of downloading unknown software from an individual, but the way I see it, if a person puts himself out there for his software to be used, he runs the risk of identification just by registering on a forum. The fallout of trying to be evil wouldn’t be worth it. Also this solution has been out there for a while, so if there was some malicious intent, I wouldn’t be the first to hit it.
Step 1 – Download the files needed…Easy Enough
Step 2 – Plug in my Nook…Again Easy. What was an added bonus in my mind is that Windows reads the Nook as two separate drives. The internal memory on the Nook and a card reader for the SD card inside:
Step 3 – Use the Imaging software to place the new bootable image on the SD card. There was a piece of software provided in the downloaded file to allow for this. Things weren’t too bad so far, because I can always reformat the SD card and no harm done.
Step 4 – Placed the “Updated.zip” file on the SD card, as instructed. Copy and Paste, baby.
Step 5 – Nook Factory Reset: At least that’s what I thought it must have been. I turned the Nook off and turned it back on while holding down the big “N” button on the bottom. The screen on the tablet just flickered on and off and if I wasn’t paying attention I wouldn’t have seen it.
Step 6 – Load the new Image: As per instructions I removed the SD card, and put it back in. Turning on the Nook, it followed the instructions again, showing the Nook loading screen and then what could only have been a custom loader screen.
Step 7 – Load up software. Navigating through the menu, I found the menu options as described although they weren’t word for word. There was an option to “Install ZIP from SD Card”. This the moment of no return. I push the “N” key to accept this leap. It gave me another chance to back out with 8 answers, 7 of them being “No”. I selected “Yes” and waited.
Step 8 – The updated itself only took a few seconds. It asked for a reboot, which could only be done through the text menu. The power button on the side was inoperable. I told the software to reboot and hoped everything had gone well.
Once it the tablet was back up and running, it was better than I thought it would be! The system still contains all the Barnes & Noble software, including their book library, but now I have the option of removing it. I also have access to Google Play i.e. the Android App store and to the Amazon book store as well. I have the option to sideload any data (apps, books, music, videos, etc.) I want. In essence, I can use the tablet how I want, and not how I’m told to. I’ve already gotten more reading in than normal, have more exposure to the Android market and could play Angry Birds…..if I wanted to.