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May 05, 2011

A week or so ago, Barnes and Noble released a significant update to the Nook Color, version 1.2. This version offers a number of enhancements, including updates to Android (Froyo), the addition of Flash in the web browser, and a new app store for B & N sanctioned applications (roughly 130 of them - mostly non-free). If you are using a rooted Nook Color, there are a few things you should know before proceeding with an upgrade to 1.2:

  • At this time there is not a good root kit for version 1.2. The kits that are available are still very buggy and/or difficult to use - difficult enough as to prevent me from recommending any or provide instructions.
  • The only real upgrade path at the moment is to restore your Nook Color to a stock (non-rooted) version of the Nook Color software. This means that, while you will be able to use the new features of Nook Color 1.2, you will not have access to Market, Google Applications, or any of the other benefits of a rooted Nook Color.
  • In order to apply the upgrade, ALL DATA must be wiped from the Nook Color. This does not include the SD card, just the internal storage. You will lose any apps you have installed, and any books/magazines/etc you have subscribed to will have to be redownloaded (for free - B & N will not double-charge you).

If you are OK with these conditions, proceed with the following steps. If not, then please be patient - I'm sure a good Nook Color root will be out soon.

Part 1 - Download the files you will need

For this install, we're going to need an application called Rom_Manager and a stock 1.2 zip file that contains the update we want. Download the following files on your computer:

Next, plugin your Nook Color to your computer using the cable provided by Barnes & Noble. The Nook should automatically mount both its internal storage and the installed microSD card under My Computer (Windows), Finder (MacOS), or Nautilus File Manager (Linux). Locate the two files you just downloaded and copy both files to the microSD card on your Nook. The microSD card is fairly easy to identify, it will be the removable device that IS NOT named "media". For example, on a Mac, the microSD card will probably be names "NO NAME" (unless you renamed it somewhere along the way). Once you have copied the files, eject both the Nook (media) and microSD card properly (check your operating system's online help if you don't know how to do this) and unplug the Nook.

Now we need to install a file manager app, so that we can find the files we just downloaded on the Nook. I like OI File Manager for this. On your Nook, tap the up-arrow at the bottom, then Market, then the search button (at the top - looks like a magnifying glass), and search for "OI File Manager". Install the app once you locate it. When this is done, either restart your Nook (hold down the power button and power off, then power back up) or use Advanced Task Killer (see my prior post) to kill the "com.bn.nook.applauncher".

Now that that's complete, your ready to get started installing the software.

Part 2 - Install ClockworkMod Recovery

Note: If you have installed an overclock kernel on your Nook Color according to my prior instructions, skip to step 7

  1. Tap the up-arrow at the bottom, then Extras, and then tap on NookColor Tools
  2. At the top, you will see a checkbox titled "Allow Non-Market Apps. If it isn't already checked, tap to check it. If it is checked, tap to uncheck it, then tap to check it again. Trust me, this sounds silly, but I have seen instances where the box is checked, but the Nook doesn't seem to know it :)
  3. Next, tap the up arrow at the bottom again, and tap Extras, followed by OI File Manager
  4. Locate "ROM_Manager.apk" and tap to install it.
  5. Restart your Nook or kill the launcher app again, so that ROM_Manager will appear in Extras
  6. Tap the up-arrow, then Extras, then ROM_Manager
  7. Tap Flash ClockworkMod Recovery and choose "Nook Color" when prompted to confirm phone model. Note that the version should be 3.0.2.x 
  8. When this is complete, tap Reboot into Recovery

Part 3 - Flash the Stock 1.2 zip file and Wipe All Data

OK, your Nook Color is going to reboot into recovery mode, which will probably be unlike any you have ever seen. While in recovery mode, the touchscreen is not used - instead, we'll use all of the buttons on the Nook to navigate. The volume up/down buttons go up and down in the list, the "n" button selects an item, and the power button goes back to the previous menu. Follow these steps to install the update:

  1. Press the volume down button to select "install zip from sdcard" and press the "n" button to select
  2. Press the volume down button to select "choose zip from sdcard" and press the "n" button to select
  3. Press the volume up/down buttons to select update-nc-stock-1.2-keepcwm-signed.zip from the list, and press the "n" button to select
  4. Choose "Yes" to install, and wait for the install to complete. Will be a few minutes
  5. When done, press the power button to go back to the main menu, select "Wipe data/factory reset", and press the "n" button to select. Choose "Yes" to wipe data, and wait for the process to complete.  Important: You MUST wipe data on your Nook Color, or it will not boot when you restart it, and will require a bunch of extra steps to recover. Trust me: wipe your data.
  6. When done, select "reboot system now", and press the "n" button to reboot. If your Nook Color is unresponsive, hold down the power button until it turns off, then power it up normally.

Once your Nook has restarted, the upgrade will be complete! Note that it will operate as if it were brand new. You will have to re-register with Barnes and Noble and go through the entire setup process.

Keywords: Android, Nook, Nook Color, Root

Posted by Jim Klein | 13 comment(s) | Share This

February 07, 2011

In a prior post I offered a few thoughts on the future of the Nook Color as an awesome Android tablet, and in another I showed you how to root the last version (v1.0.1) of the Nook Color software. In this post, I've updated all the links and instructions for the latest version of the Nook Color software (v1.1), should you happen to have purchased a newer one, or want to start over with the latest version.

Gathering all the pieces you need

The first thing you have to do is track down a Nook Color of your very own. At present, this might be a bit difficult, as most Barnes & Noble stores are sold out, but Wal-mart stores appear to have pretty good stock (at least at the moment). Also, you'll need to pick up a microSD card and an appropriate adapter (like this one) so that you can plug it in to your computer. Most computers and laptops have an SDcard slot (often referred to as a Multi-card reader), but if yours doesn't, be sure to get a USB to SDCard adapter as well (like this one). USB to SDCard adapters may be a little tricky to find in stock at a local store - I've had the best luck at office supply stores like OfficeDepot and OfficeMax. Keep in mind that you'll be using the microSD card to store music, video, and pictures on, so be sure to select one that is of sufficient size. Note that an average, feature length movie (don't worry, I'll tell you just how to encode your own from a DVD below) will require about 800 Megabytes (roughly 0.8 Gigabytes) of space. More ...

Posted by Jim Klein | 25 comment(s) | Share This

January 29, 2011

nookIn my last post, How to turn a Nook Color into an Awesome Android Tablet, I showed you how to take your Nook Color running Barnes & Noble software version 1.0.1 and make it your own. Since then, Barnes & Noble has released a software update to 1.1, which brings pinch-to-zoom to the browser, along with a number of behind-the-scenes improvements to the book reader applications. In this post, I'll take you through the steps required to upgrade your already rooted Nook Color to version 1.1. These instructions only apply to Nook Colors that have been rooted according to my last (older) post. If you have a new Nook Color that is in need of rooting, follow these instructions instead.

Once this upgrade is complete, we'll have everything we need in place to speed up your Nook Color with an 1100MHz kernel, so I'll walk you through those steps as well :)

More ...

Keywords: Android, Nook, Nook Color, Nook Color 1.1 Update, Tablet

Posted by Jim Klein | 41 comment(s) | Share This

January 02, 2011

In my prior post I offered a few thoughts on the future of the Nook Color as an awesome Android tablet. In this one, I'll take it a step further and tell you exactly what I did to make my wife's Nook sing. 

Note: This post is now obsolete and has been updated for the latest version of the Nook Color here

Gathering all the pieces you need

The first thing you have to do is track down a Nook Color of your very own. Here in California, at least, this can be a bit more difficult, as most Barnes & Noble stores are sold out, due to dizzying Christmas sales. Thankfully, there's a little Barnes & Noble partner that nobody knew about this year named Wal-mart, whose stores appear to have pretty good stock (at least at the moment). Also, you'll need to pick up a microSD card and an appropriate adapter (like this one) so that you can plug it in to your computer. Most computers and laptops have an SDcard slot (often referred to as a Multi-card reader), but if yours doesn't, be sure to get a USB to SDCard adapter as well (like this one). USB to SDCard adapters may be a little tricky to find in stock at a local store - I've had the best luck at office supply stores like OfficeDepot and OfficeMax. Keep in mind that you'll be using the microSD card to store music, video, and pictures on, so be sure to select one that is of sufficient size. Note that an average, feature length movie (don't worry, I'll tell you just how to encode your own from a DVD below) will require about 800 Megabytes (roughly 0.8 Gigabytes) of space. More ...

Posted by Jim Klein | 35 comment(s) | Share This

December 31, 2010

nook1As anyone who reads my blog or follows me on Twitter knows, I'm not a particular fan of Apple's iPad. I find it to be too big, too expensive, too locked down, and too beholden to the whims and restrictions (DRM, etc) of one company. They have been largely oversold, with pundits of all sorts positioning them as the holy grail of technological invention, falsely predicting that they will summarily squash less expensive, more capable rival technologies in one fell swoop. And why wouldn't they say such things? After all, tablets combined with tightly-controlled, proprietary ecosystems represent the last, best hope for the "pay-for-play" model of media and content providers who have been decimated by the liberation of information on the web. "These are awesome! You really should buy one!" is really a cover for regaining the ability to control what you see, what you do, and how you consume content and media. The "appification" of otherwise free resources has re-invigorated revenue streams for hundreds (if not thousands) of beleaguered outlets, bent on maintaing outdated business and ownership models. All they have to do is convince you of how cool the device is (and consequently how cool you'll be) and they believe they've got you. Of course, this idea is already showing signs of backfiring. (For more thoughts on this, see my Of Egos and Sharp Sticks post.) More ...

Keywords: Android, iPad, Nook, Nook Color, TabletPCs, Tablets

Posted by Jim Klein | 9 comment(s) | Share This


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