The first great Android Tablet: Nook Color

The first great Android Tablet: Nook Color

Summary: The first really great Android tablet may already be here: Barnes & Noble's Nook Color.

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Let's get real. There are only two great tablets out there today: Apple's iPad and the iPad 2. Android has always had the potential to be a wonderful tablet operating system, but most Android tablets have been non-starters and, even the best of them, the Samsung Galaxy Tab aren't as good as an iPad. But, the iPad may soon have a serious Android opponent: Barnes & Noble's Nook Color.

I know what you're thinking: The Nook Color!? It's an e-reader, sure you can root the Nook Color into being a full scale Android tablet, but you don't want to hack my e-reader and void my warranty just to get a cheap tablet that might, or might not, work.

Who said anything about rooting it? While rooting a Nook Color is quite easy--watch huskermania's YouTube video on how to do it if you don't believe me--Barnes & Noble will be upgrading the Color Nook to being a real Android tablet in mid-April. In its press release, the book store giant states only that, "NOOK Color will get even better this Spring when a major update to the device's firmware will offer customers access to explore exciting new applications, e-mail and many other requested features." Sources tell me though that the Color Nook will be upgraded from Android 2.1 to Android 2.2 (Froyo), be given Flash video support, and will have its own version of the Google Android Apps Market.

As reported by ZDNet's sister network, CNET, the Home Shopping Network, of all places, has been advertising the Color Nook's forthcoming firmware upgrade. This news comes as no surprise. I've been predicting that it was only a matter of time before the Android Linux-based e-readers, like the Nook and Android's Kindle, were upgraded into tablets.

Now you may be thinking, sure the Nook Color is nice, but how can it compete with an iPad? It only has a 7" display, 8GBs of internal storage, a micro-SD card slot for up to 32GBs of additional storage, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, and an 800MHz ARM Cortex A8-processor. You're right, that's smaller and slower than an iPad and a good deal slower than an iPad 2.

So what? Here's the important point: You can pick up a new Nook Color for $249. The cheapest new iPad2? $499.

I've said it before, I'll say it again, Apple is the Mercedes-Benz, the Rolls-Royce, of computing hardware. That's fine, but it still leaves lots of room for the mid and low-end market users and now, with this update to the Nook Color coming down the road we're finally going to have a compelling, inexpensive Android tablet for the Toyota or Ford "drivers."

See Also:

Nook Color to receive 'major' firmware update, new magazine title

How to hack the $250 Nook Color into a full Android tablet

Microsoft vs. Android

Nook Color, the low cost Android tablet

Topics: Android, Hardware, iPad, Laptops, Mobility, Tablets

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91 comments
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  • RE: The first great Android Tablet: Nook Color

    I would need to have some hands on experience with this "color tablet of a nook" before giving a recommendation or an opinion for this product. The price is certainly attractive.
    kenosha77a
    • RE: The first great Android Tablet: Nook Color

      @kenosha7777 I've been tinkering with my rooted Nook Color and I'm pleased with it. At the same time, atlhough it's about as easy to root as you can get, I know rooting isn't for most people.

      Steven
      sjvn@...
      • RE: The first great Android Tablet: Nook Color

        @sjvn@... Why don't you write a serious review of a rooted Nook color with Froyo? If, as you claim, the B&N update will provide that OS I don't think your review of the rooted Nook and the non-rooted updated Nook would differ too much.
        nomorebs
      • RE: The first great Android Tablet: Nook Color

        @sjvn@...

        I rooted my Nook Color about a week ago. OMG, this thing is awesome. There is no better deal at $250.00 than a rooted Nook Color. So many ways to customize the UI, so many apps available in the Android Market.

        Is it as good as an iPad? Of course not. Is it awesome all the same? Absolutely!

        (p.s. it's super easy to root, and nearly impossible to brick).
        dsf3g
      • RE: The first great Android Tablet: Nook Color

        @sjvn@... In Australia "Rooting" refers to having sex. In Australia we all like rooting. What do you mean by rooting a nook?
        ronnie bell
  • RE: The first great Android Tablet: Nook Color

    First off, I'm a heavy Apple user. Given that, a good low end competitor for the iPads sounds great. Not over promised, not vapourware but just right. Now with the new hardware, would Gingerbread be an option for those that root? Anyone got a guess?
    CanadianTrooper
    • RE: The first great Android Tablet: Nook Color

      @CanadianTrooper You can already toot a Nook to Honeycomb, but between Honeycomb really not be ready for primetime yet and the Nook's hardware not being up to the task, it's not a great combo. 2.2 does well on it though. I haven't tried 2.3 yet, but I've told by people who use it that it works fine for them.

      Steven

      Steven
      sjvn@...
      • RE: The first great Android Tablet: Nook Color

        @sjvn@... 2.3 works great, using a nightly CM7 based ROM called Phiremod (http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=954902). Also overclocked to 1.1Ghz, running stable and snappy. Oh and bluetooth enabled as well :-) There's a really fantastic community of developers at XDA doing excellent work on the Nook Color.
        rambling
      • RE: The first great Android Tablet: Nook Color

        @sjvn@... Agreed. I've been running Honeycomb on my Nook for a week or so. It's cool but not quite there yet. I'm planning on reverting back to Froyo or trying CM7.
        jporter1000
  • RE: The first great Android Tablet: Nook Color

    Better off getting a new iPad 1 at Verizon for $299 with no contract needed, better display, better storage, better playback for video, better selection of tablet apps... not seeing a point to getting a nook. Apple has the better technical service and user experience. Have you tried getting customer service on an electronic device from a bookstore???
    teetee1970
    • RE: The first great Android Tablet: Nook Color

      @teetee1970

      Where are u seeing $299?. Looked at verizon site...cheapest is $529..let me know..i am interested in getting one if it's only 299
      posting4fun
      • RE: The first great Android Tablet: Nook Color

        @posting4fun Just go into a verizon store (not an authorized reseller) and tell them you want one.
        slickjim
    • RE: The first great Android Tablet: Nook Color

      @teetee1970. Try going to one of their 700 locations. Barnes and Noble is the largest bookstore chain in the world.
      Fat Albert 1
      • Don't you read the news??

        @Fat Albert 1 Like Borders, Barnes and Noble is CLOSING a large number of stores.
        wackoae
      • RE: The first great Android Tablet: Nook Color

        @Fat Albert 1 Borders just closed three locations here and left one open... B&N is still open and busy, but just has a single.
        ItsTheBottomLine
      • RE: The first great Android Tablet: Nook Color

        @wackoae ... With eReaders like the Nook, and many others, what do you need a brick & mortar bookstore for anyway. I have purchased many ebooks from B&N... but I think I've only been in their store once in the last 12 months... to buy a Birthday card.
        Fyrewerx
    • RE: The first great Android Tablet: Nook Color

      @teetee1970 I haven't seen an iPad 1 at that price for a while now. In any case, they'll soon all be sold out. Apple's not making any more of them.

      Steven
      sjvn@...
    • RE: The first great Android Tablet: Nook Color

      @teetee1970 There has been a rumor going around for a while that Verizon want to clear the shelves of the first gen iPad and 16G versions is available at Verizon outlets for $299. However, I could not find this deal at the Verizon store I visited yesterday and they knew nothing about it. Have you located an outlet that has the deal?
      tenrun@...
      • RE: The first great Android Tablet: Nook Color

        @tenrun@...

        No - he's just spouting the rumours.
        fairportfan
      • RE: The first great Android Tablet: Nook Color

        @tenrun@... if it is not a real verizon store they probably will not have the deal... I was in an actual Verizon store yesterday and they quoted me those prices but said the 16 gigs were already gone.
        slickjim