Friday April 18 , 2014

Time to hack/root your nook?

NOOKColor NOTE: There is now a reasonable mechanism to root your NOOKColor.  
Read our article on Easy NOOKColor Rooting.

The remainder of this article covers rooting the nook Wi-Fi and nook 3G devices. 

WARNING - READ THIS FIRST: Barnes and Noble has introduced a new hardware revision which bricks your unit if you install their official 1.0.0 Firmware (A step needed to root). As of right now, Nooks with serial #s starting with 1003 (running firmware 1.5) cannot be rooted, and should NOT be attempted. See nookdevs New_Hardware_Revision for more details before you think of trying this!


What's this "rooting" the nook all about? Rooting is the process by which you can take back control of your nook and get complete system rights as the super user. "root" is the name of the super user in the Unix/Linux-based operating systems (like the Google Android OS on the nook). By taking control of the nook you can install new programs like a web browser and a feed reader! 

The folks at nookdevs.com have come a long way with "rooting the nook" and it's now about as clean of a process as jailbraking an iPhone.  Originally the process required taking your nook apart and some pretty geeky moves. Now, you can take complete control of your nook simply by doing a software update (well, two of them).  If you side-loaded any of the firmware updates for your nook, you already know how to do part of this.  With the latest nookdevs firmware they've even pre-installed some useful applications for you.

So my question to B&N is, "Are you ready to support the nook as a platform for more than reading eBooks?" Based on interviews B&N has given I think the answer to this question is 'yes'.  The rooted version of the nook software keeps the pressure on B&N to open up the platform and shows it is able to run applications quite well.Rootingyournook

Should I root my nook?

That's the question you should consider before you undertake this process. If you are really happy with your nook do you want to mess with it? Anytime you do something like this you take a chance of voiding your B&N warranty or messing up your device. I think this is pretty safe, but I'd advise reading all the warnings on the nookdev site before considering it.  In addition to the risks of losing data or messing up your device, you may be violating the nook terms of use. I can't give you advice on the ethical or technical ramifications of doing this but I can tell you several benefits of trying this for your nook.  

The Applications

The main reason you want to do this is to be able to run other applications.  Here are some of the options.

  • Trok. This application lets you not only browse news feeds but connects to many free book repositories for online browsing.  You can request the books and they are downloaded right into your nook for reading.  This is a must-have app and is one reason to consider rooting your nook.
  • Web Browser.  This isn't a very compelling story yet.  While it works it seems the greyscale rendering of web pages often produces pages that don't quite "fit" and the contrast isn't great for easy viewing.  Personally, I'd prefer my iPhone over what I've seen.
  • My Books.  This is like "My Library" but puts your B&N and your Documents in one list - what a novel idea eh?  It supports the cover flow for all your books but looks buggy to me. It allows you to sort by date of file, author, and title. Unfortunately, it doesn't sort by last read - which the B&N application does only for B&N books. This application would be another great reason to root your nook, but needs some additional work in my opinion.
  • Pandora.  I guess using your nook as a streaming audio application sounds appealing. It's the only application I've seen that's a bit harder to install. Your nook battery would probably last four hours. I'd just use my computer or iPhone.
  • New Launcher. The new launcher application has the old icons, which is good news to some people. It is configurable so you can put just the items you want on your nook menu screen. It looks very well done and is a nice feature B&N should consider.

Free 3G and Books Right?

As the nookdevs site states, if you think you'll get free 3G data for life by purchasing a $259 device your delusional! While rooting the nook could provide a path to do some illegal things like stealing bandwidth and stealing books - you won't get that ability by rooting your nook.  Hats off to the nookdevs group for taking the high-road and not making B&N take action on their tools!

Gotchas

You'll have to restore your data and re-register your nook. It seems this process will certainly cause you to lose your bookmarks, notes, etc.

Getting Started

Many nooktalk users have rooted their nooks and seem quite happy with it. Here's the high-level view of how it works:

  1. Backup Everything on your nook
  2. Install the 1.0 Firmware Software (Original nook Software)
  3. Install the 1.2 Update (the nookdevs version)
  4. Reboot, Re-register, Enjoy

It's just about that simple. The nookdevs Instruction Page is the only resource you need.  You can search youtube for nook related videos to see it in action! 

We've got a forum board dedicated to interesting nook uses - http://nooktalk.net/forum/hacking-the-nook

Comments  

 
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+2 #15 2011-04-21 22:47
I'm sorry, but as a former Kindle user and current Nook user, I have to say web browsing on the Kindle is terribly clunky compared to the Nook. I have quite a few friends with Kindles and only one of them besides me has even been able to figure out how to do it. With the Nook, you just press "Web" and you're on.
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+1 #13 2011-03-04 19:52
uMM...
Issue?
I Just Bought A Nook With A Serial Number Of 1004?
With A Software Of 1.5..
Is This Rootable?
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0 #11 2010-12-08 10:07
I'm confused. I just got a 3G nook and was able to use the built in web browser without being charged. Am I missing something? It's not rooted either, just pulled up the web browser, then google,hotmail, etc.


Quoting Irha:
Quote:
Oh wait, there seems to be a special clause in the amazon legal section:

Quote:
You may be charged a fee for wireless connectivity for your use of other wireless services on your Device, such as Web browsing and downloading of personal files, should you elect to use those services.


Section 2
http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200399690wireless

Baww?

That clause is specific to using their services to make it easy to transfer files over the air (e.g., email files to an address and they get pushed to your kindle).
Quote
 
 
-3 #10 2010-12-04 15:44
Quote:
Oh wait, there seems to be a special clause in the amazon legal section:

Quote:
You may be charged a fee for wireless connectivity for your use of other wireless services on your Device, such as Web browsing and downloading of personal files, should you elect to use those services.


Section 2
http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200399690wireless

Baww?

That clause is specific to using their services to make it easy to transfer files over the air (e.g., email files to an address and they get pushed to your kindle).
Quote
 
 
0 #9 2010-11-30 11:12
Quoting Lars:
Does anybody know if rooting will protect your device from automatically connecting to wireless access points? I would like to make sure nobody can "vanish" any of my .pdf files because I acquired them from some other means besides B&N.com, as I've already heard rumors that legitimate, digital copies of Animal Farm and 1984 were, as it seemed, not included in the next Kindle update . I am deeply concerned about this and want to simply carry around my bus schedules and school texts around with me sans backaches/headaches.

http://www.defectivebydesign.org/topic/kindle


Keep Airplane Mode on and it won't subversively connect.
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0 #8 2010-11-24 14:02
Does anybody know if rooting will protect your device from automatically connecting to wireless access points? I would like to make sure nobody can "vanish" any of my .pdf files because I acquired them from some other means besides B&N.com, as I've already heard rumors that legitimate, digital copies of Animal Farm and 1984 were, as it seemed, not included in the next Kindle update . I am deeply concerned about this and want to simply carry around my bus schedules and school texts around with me sans backaches/headaches.

http://www.defectivebydesign.org/topic/kindle
Quote
 
 
+5 #7 admin 2010-03-21 09:02
Quoting helloooo?:
"if you think you'll get free 3G data for life by purchasing a $259 device your delusional!"

Um.... http://www.amazon.com/

Free Wireless | No Contracts.

For those who don't know, yes the Kindle has a browser and free unlimited 3G access. You can check the news, read and reply to emails, or even go to Gutenberg or google books and download Kindle format books and PDFs directly to your device from the built in web browser.


You totally miss the point. B&N gave free 3G for purchasing books. If you think they will pay for you to stream music all day long on their dime just because you hacked their device I think you are as the nookdevs say, "delusional". If you had Pandora and other apps on the Amazon they aren't going to let you use wireless for free. There is no business model for it. But I guess that's the mentality in this world. "When I bought it the sign said "free wireless" which means I can do whatever I want with the device radio. "

I have no idea what you mean by "lying". I'm just stating how rooting works and what the restrictions are. As an educated consumer I'd recommend you read the TOS for the nook and Kindle.
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