Technology-Headlines

by George Heymann

Rooting the Nook color

by George Heymann

techeadlines@gmail.com

Just last week, I decided to postpone my plans to root my Nook Color e-book reader. That was before several users had reported that the rooting procedure could be reversed — that is, the Nook Color could be returned to a pristine factory state.

Having previously rooted several of my Android phones, that was the last obstacle that needed to be removed for me to make the jump. Unfortunately, rooting the Nook Color is a bit more complicated than the simple one-button root/unroot solutions available for some Android handsets.

Rooting on Android (which is based on Linux) gives you “Super User” (SU) access allowing you complete control over system files. This SU access allows you to add functionality not included or not originally intended by the manufacturer.

The current process for the Nook Color is a multi-step procedure. There are several sites that provide detailed instructions on how to accomplish the rooting. Rather than repeat the information, you can visit this link for step-by-step  instructions.

As always be aware that there is a chance to render your device unusable during the rooting process . I recommend that you review the information thoroughly so you can determine your comfort level with the provided information.

Rooting my Nook went smoothly, my experience deviating only slightly from the posted instructions.

Step 11 reads: “As the reader boots you will see a red splash screen.” But since I never saw a red splash screen at the end of the rooting process, I was a bit apprehensive to power cycle (restart) the device. The rooting takes awhile to complete so be patient.

Once rooted, several new icons are available in the extras folder, including Android Market, Gmail, YouTube and Softkeys. Once I added my Google Account to the Nook, I could see my previously purchased applications list. I selected several to install.

At first, I could not figure out why the installed applications were not showing up in the Nook color application list (extras folder). It turns out the device must be restarted before they show up in the apps list. Interestingly, you can run them immediately from the Android Markets download list. Not ideal, but for now a workable solution.

The majority of applications that I have tried have run smoothly. Since the Nook Color doesn’t have the hardware keys present on most Android handsets  — Home, Back, Menu, Search — you must use Softkeys application to emulate their functionality in software using the virtual keys.

Overall, I’m extremely happy with my decision to root my Nook Color. Rooting provides almost full Android tablet functionality to a relatively inexpensive device. At $249, it is roughly half the price of the lowest priced iPad or Galaxy Tab, retaining its full e-book reader functionality.

If you would like to read more about the Nook Color, please see my review here.

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