Barnes & Noble announced the $249 Nook Tablet today, and took aim at Amazon's Kindle Fire at the event. The Nook Tablet is a nice gadget in its own right, but I suspect the refreshed Nook Color ($199) will be a big hit with the hacking crowd. The Nook Color has been a hacker's dream machine since its launch, with the homebrew crowd putting full versions of Android on it. I suspect the same crowd is now raring to get their hands on both the Nook Tablet and Color to get hacking.
I imagine a number of hacks we'll be likely to see before long. These may end up stretching the patience of the folks at B&N.
Putting the full Nook Tablet software on the Nook Color. One of the goals of the homebrew community is getting the best software running on the cheapest hardware possible. The Nook Tablet software announced today is a fork of Android that has specialized software to take advantage of the B&N ecosystem. This has also been expanded to have deep Netflix integration, along with Hulu Plus capability. That's a nice brass ring for the homebrew crowd to grab and put on the cheaper Nook Color.
Putting the Kindle Fire software on the Nook Tablet. This isn't as big a stretch as it first appears. Sure the Kindle Fire is cheaper than the Nook Tablet, ($199 vs. $249), but the hardware is better on the latter. B&N made a big deal today about those hardware differences, more memory, better display, fast processor, so why not put the Fire software on the Nook Tablet? Better yet, imagine a Nook Tablet that dual boots both the B&N and Kindle Fire software bundles. Geek heaven.
Putting custom Android distributions on both the Nook Tablet and Color. This is a given, and we'll start seeing custom ROM solutions for both these tablets within weeks of availability. Good hardware screams for good Android distros, and the homebrew folks will not disappoint.
While B&N has turned its back on the hacking done on the original Nook Color, it might have a different view on this now that content deals with third parties are in the picture. There is also that free support in B&N stores that was announced. Hacked tablets are not going to sit well with B&N dishing out free support. The homebrew crowd will have to develop some bullet-proof methods to reinstall the original Nook software to get that free store support.
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