The latest entry in my series of articles about rooting your Nook Color will describe how, after you root it, you can configure it to behave exactly like an Android tablet, although much cheaper. To be honest, I just returned from Costco where I found Samsung Galaxy Tab and I was able to to a comparison. While Nook Color is heavier, is thinner and looks way better in my opinion. While it doesn’t have 3G capabilities and GPS, I have an iPhone for those purposes and Nook Color tethering via the iPhone works very well.
To begin, let’s look at the prerequisites: You’ll need to have your Nook Color rooted, side-loading of the apps enabled, Android Market installed and, if you need it, tethering installed. I wrote separate articles for each process:
Update: Our tutorial for rooting Nook Touch is now live as well.
1. If your Nook Color is still at version 1.0.0, follow How to root Nook Color
2. If your Nook Color is at the version 1.0.1, follow How to root Nook Color 1.0.1 using Auto-Nooter
3. Auto-Nooter method will install Android Market by default, it is a good idea to update your Nook and follow the rooting method that uses Auto-Nooter. if you performed the root following Method 1, you’ll need to separately install Android Market.
4. If you need tethering, be warned that all the tethering clients that I have seen (MyWi is one of them) will create an AdHoc network instead of infrastructure. Nook Color’s wpa_supplicant will not see / connect to AdHoc networks so we”ll have to change it. Follow this article for detailed steps.
5. Android Honeycomb 3.0 works now on Nook Color, although not completely. If you want to give it a try, follow our detailed instructions here.
6: Update. Nook Color 1.1 can be now rooted using the new Auto-Nooter 3.0.0
7: If something went wrong, we have a tutorial to reset your nook Color to factory state
8: New: CyanogenMod 7.0 final is now available and brings Android Gingerbread 2.3.3, Flash and video hardware acceleration to your Nook Color. I just upgraded mine and created a detailed tutorial. Give it a try and report your experience.
If you will install Barnes and Noble over the air updates, it will break your root. To disable over the air updates, from the ADB command line, send the following commands:
adb shell mount -o rw,remount -t ext2 /dev/block/mmcblk0p5 /system
adb shell mv /etc/security/otacerts.zip /etc/security/otacerts.zip_DISABLED_OTA_UPDATES
…or just install Root Explorer, navigate to the otacerts.zip file and rename it manually.
OK, now comes the fun part…If you followed the previous steps successfully, you’ll have a rooted Nook with Android Market access. I have readers asking me how to configure the Nook Color to look like in my screenshots. In order to achieve this, you’ll need to install a 3rd party launcher as the stock one is not designed to allow too much freedom. There are two launchers (Home apps) I used: LauncherPro and Zeam. If you want to switch between them, there is a very useful little utility called Home Switcher that will allow you to set the default launcher if multiple ones are installed. I currently use Zeam but both launchers are recommended and you can switch them easily. Both launchers allow finger dragging of the application shortcuts from the Extra screen onto the home screens.
Launcher Pro comes with a nice collection of widgets including a social widget that you can pin on your home screen and have up to date access to your contacts tweets / Facebook activity. Launcher Pro also allows backgrounds and up to three launcher screens that you can switch with a finger swipe. The only problem is that it comes with a default toolbar that you cannot configure. It also comes with up to 3 home screens and settings to setting the number of rows / columns on each home screen, resizes the widgets to fit the screen, etc. One drawback, Launcher Pro does not support landscape orientation.
Zeam doesn’t have as many features as Launcher Pro but is faster and lighter. It comes with up to 7 home screens, settings for number of rows / columns on each home screen, etc. More important for me, Zeam comes with the ability to configure the toolbar allowing you to drag the most used apps. One of the advantages Zeam has over the competition is the support for landscape orientation.
What apps you are using varies based on your individual interests. These are the applications I installed and I can confirm they work properly on Nook Color with full screen support and no issues: (all of them are available in Android Market, most of them are free)
Launcher Pro, Zeam
Kindle (full screen, works perfectly)
Dolphin Browser, Firefox, Skyfire
nsWPlayer, TuneIn Radio, Pandora, YouTube, Last.fm, XiiaLive, Dish Network Remote, TV.com, NPR news, Flixster
Media / Info:
Quickpedia, Google News and Weather, Time Mobile, Engadget, NPR news, NYTimes, USA Today, Wikidroid, FeedR
WeatherBug, Google News and Weather
Social / IM / E-mail Clients:
TweetCaster, Facebook, Yahoo Messenger, Yahoo Mail, K-9 Mail
Home Switcher, SoftKeys (for the applications making use of the hardware buttons that are non existent on Nook Color), Setting Profiles Full to automatically turn on/off WiFi when your screen is on/off. For more info see our article about enabling infrastructure tethering.
What would be our life without games? I included a list of games that work without issues on Nook Color and most take advantage from its gorgeous high resolution screen.
Farm Frenzy, Doodle Jump, Fruit Ninja, Angry Birds, Angry Birds Seasons, Abduction!, Armored Defense, Asphalt 5, Bebbled, Bonsai Blast, Boomex!, Bubble Blast 2, Buka, City mayor, droidkoban, Dungeon Hunter, Flick Defense, Frozen Bubble, grave Defense, Guns’n’Glory, Jewels, Kebab Deluxe, Klondike, LineUp, Mahjong, Mahjong Solitaire, Mechanics Touch, Pinball Ride, Shrimpocalypse, Snow Rally (not full screen), Solitaire, Coast Defense, UniWar, Toyshop Adventures.
I use Beautiful Widgets -> Beautiful Home for clock / weather and Google Search widgets (installed by default). I also use beautiful Widgets -> Beautiful WiFi to quickly turn ON/OFF the WiFi adapter. To add a widget, execute a long press on the desktop, select Add item->Widget.
As usual, let me know if you have any questions and if you know other great games that are fully compatible with Nook Color.