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.
Should I root my nook?
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!
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.
Many nooktalk users have rooted their nooks and seem quite happy with it. Here's the high-level view of how it works:
- Backup Everything on your nook
- Install the 1.0 Firmware Software (Original nook Software)
- Install the 1.2 Update (the nookdevs version)
- 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
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