B&N Nook Color spring update 1.2 released, adds Froyo, Flash, Market as promised

If you read our article on Friday, you knew today is the big day and, the rumors were true: Nook Color long awaited update is here and brings a lot of goodies. First of all, Nook Color runs Android Froyo (Android 2.2) and because Froyo supports Flash B&N added Flash as well. Along with the new OS features, an app market is also available, but because Barnes and Noble want to keep the experience coherent, Nook Color did not got the official Google Android Market but the B&N version of it, with applications built around an SDK provided by B&N, again, to keep the user interface and experience coherent with B&N own interface.
Another interesting addition is the beta version of Nook Friends that allows social interaction and book shopping / recommendation and the books for kids got some advanced interactive functionality as well including the addition of some mini-games while they are reading. A new e-mail client supporting Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail and AOL is also included and copy/paste for text fields now works.

A welcome tweak brings landscape support to the native eReader (I really wanted that) and the books can include videos and animations – potentially useful for college materials.
All in all, an excellent update that brings tremendous value to this little tablet which, based on the latest numbers is the second most popular tablet behind iPad 2 with more than 3 million units sold since last year’s launch. While, again no iPad killer, costing less than half of the price of an iPad 2 ($249) is a very useful device, both from a form factor perspective and from a price perspective.
The Nook Color market initially contains only about 124 applications including  Epicurious, Pulse news, My-Cast Weather Radar and even Oprah Mobil plus Angry Birds (I wonder if B&N actually financed the development to get the must have game in store) but the collection is expected to grow fast. Still, no full Android experience and for those seeking that, we still recommend our series of articles about rooting the Nook Color and transform it into a full Android tablet. For everybody else, check B&N website now for the manual download of Nook Color firmware version 1.2. Otherwise, the update will be pushed automatically to your device via WiFi over the following several weeks.

The final question is: If I already have Nook Color, should I root it? It really depends what you want from the device. If you intend to used it mostly for reading, you are probably fine, especially with the new version. If you leaning toward a more hardcore usage, you’ll probably want the full Android experience and even now, that will require rooting it. If you don’t have it yet, it is available from B&N website for $249.

Update: If you plan to update a rooted Nook Color with this version, you might have to restore it to stock firmware first (see how to restore it here), there are reports of various problems if you do not restore first. There is not yet an AutoNooter version for the new Nook Color 1.2 firmware but we’ll keep you updated if anything changes, as always. One thing is sure: The new version will break your root so proceed with caution. Cyanogenmod CM7 still works in a dual boot mode so if you plan to use it like this you are in luck.

via Barnes and Noble