I bought my Nook Color in November of 2010. For two years the little Barnes and Noble device has admirably served it’s primary purpose as an e-reader, but expectations of an Internet capable device with extended usefulness has fallen woefully short. A recent trip where I traveled over four states and needed the browsing, map and search capabilities was frustrating. I investigated ways to make the Nook Color a more useful device. I am not a computer neophyte but smart phones, tablets and android devices are not within my sphere of experience. This is what I found. With the information I provide you may decide to do exactly what I did.
Root the Nook Color
I’ll make this easy on you. A simple search will reveal a hundred different directions for rooting your Nook Color or you can go here.
My nine year old grandson has no fear when it comes to rooting smartphones or tablets. He thinks this is an innate ability young people absorb through breathing or drinking water. On the other hand he doesn’t suffer consequences like someone who has to pay for the devices he crashes. Mom and Dad pay and/or fix his many…experiments. Remember the commercial with the guy throwing a Wii controller at the TV screen? My grandson has done that. As an older person I hesitate to void a warranty or otherwise run the risk of messing up an e-reader I use every day. Know what you’re doing before you root any device.
Use a bootable SD card
The Nook boots first from the SD card slot before reading the internal ROM. Thus, if you have Android installed on a bootable SD card simply insert it in the slot and turn on the device. Boom…instant Android tablet-almost. Sounds simple but you’ve got to have that bootable SD Card. You can make your own or buy one. I’m cheap so I made a bootable SD card with nookhoney04. Instructions here, much more information here.
First you must have a way to read and write to an SD card. My computers have no SD slot and for some reason the external reader wouldn’t work. I finally put the SD card in the printer and installed nookhoney04 over the network. After several aborted attempts the card finally worked and the Nook booted up in Android. This is when I found out I had to do a LOT more to get access to Google apps. I figured up the hours I’d already spent on this project and looked at what I still needed to do. I briefly considered turning my grandson loose on the project….then sanity returned. Along the way in all the researching I found sites that sell SD cards with everything already installed. I weighed the cost, the time and frustration, and ordered one. Alright, I wimped out, but boy am I glad!
I purchased an SD card from N2acards for $30 with everything installed. I’m not recommending them nor do I have anything to do with the site. Do a search and you can find several sites that sell such cards. I’m happy with what I have. I put the card in the slot, booted up and it worked. This particular card uses Android 4.1, or “Jelly Bean.”
The Android experience on the Nook Color
Barnes and Noble is shooting themselves in the foot by not using the full Android capabilities. Why should they care if I have access to other books? I’m still going to use their services just as much as I always did and now I have a real tablet. Everything works better. Even battery life is better. The browser is much better and I have access to thousands of apps. Aside from the standard apps on the desktop I’ve added Nook, YouTube, Earth, Maps, IMDB, and yes-Amazon Kindle. This is an upgrade well worth the money. Check it out.