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NOOKcolor Teardown

Bill Detwiler cracks open Barnes & Noble's answer to the Apple iPad and Amazon Kindle--the NOOKcolor e-book reader.
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In November 2010, Barnes & Noble began shipping the NOOKcolor e-book reader. The NOOKcolor offers a 7-inch color screen, touch-screen interface, Wi-Fi support, and runs Android 2.1.
Follow along as I crack open the NOOKcolor for a look at the hardware inside.
Check out the 2010 Amazon Kindle and Kindle DX in these cracking open galleries:
Amazon Kindle DX (Graphite) Teardown
Amazon Kindle Graphite (3G+Wi-Fi) 2010 Teardown
Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
Caption by: Bill Detwiler
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Although it runs the Android OS, the NOONcolor isn't a full-fledged tablet, like the iPad or Galaxy Tab, but it offers a lot of bang for the buck. The NOOKcolor retails for $249 (US).

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The NOOKcolor's box folds open. Magnets embedded within the box hold it shut.
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Inside the NOOKcolor's box are the NOOKcolor itself, the power adapter, USB cable, and Quick Start Guide.
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According to the device's documentation, the NOOKcolor will not charge when connected to a computer. You must connect it to a power outlet to charge it.
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The NOOKcolor uses a 5.0V 1.9A power adapter.
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The NOOKcolor uses a USB cable to charge and connect to a computer.
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According to Barnes & Noble, the NOOKcolor measures 8.1 inches high, 5.0 inches wide, and 0.48 inches deep. The device weighs approx. 15.8 ounces.
The LED-backlit, 7-inch (diagonal) color screen delivers a resolution of 1024 x 600 at 169 pixels per inch.
The NOOK symbol on the front of the device serves as the Home button.
Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
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On the back of the NOOKcolor are the speaker grill and the microSD card slot (covered by the light-gray plastic cover on the bottom-right corner).
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Along the top of the NOOKcolor is the 3.5mm headphone jack.
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Along the bottom edge of the NOOKcolor is the Micro-B USB port.
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Along the NOOKcolor's left edge is the power button.
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Along the NOOKcolor's right edge is the volume up/down button.
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Along the bottom edge of the NOOKcolor's front are the Home button (the NOOK symbol) and a curious loop. Perhaps we'll see a wrist strap accessory in the future.
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The NOOKcolor is slightly taller than the original NOOK, but about the same width. As NOOKcolor's entire screen is touch-sensitive, gone is the small color LCD found at the bottom of the original NOOK.
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The speaker has been moved to the back of the NOOKcolor and the headphone jack has been moved to the top. Only the USB port remains along the bottom edge.
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The NOOKcolor has a less beveled, more rounded edge than the original NOOK.
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The two devices are very similar in thickness.
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Under the light gray cover on the back of the NOOKcolor is the microSD card slot. The device can support up to 32GB of expanded memory.
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Two Torx T5 screws are hidden under black stickers beneath the microSD slot cover. You'll need to remove both screws before popping off the back cover.
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With the two external screws removed, you can pop loose the NOOKcolor's back cover. Using a thin metal blade, the can release the small plastic tabs the hold the back cover in place.
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With the back cover removed, we get our first look inside. Like the iPad and Galaxy Tab, much of the space inside the NOOKcolor's case is taken up by the battery.
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Unfortunately, you can't remove the NOOKcolor's battery, or any other component for that matter, without removing the large metal frame that sits atop the display assembly.
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The NOOKcolor's internal metal frame also serves as the device's external edge. It is held to the display assembly with 10 Torx T5 screws.
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After removing the metal frame's 10 Torx T5 screws, you'll need to remove three rubber cushions that cover connectors for the battery, power button, and volume up/down button. The cushions are held in place with adhesive. Using a thin metal blade, you should be able to remove the cushions without tearing them or damaging the connector underneath.
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You'll need to disconnect the battery before removing the metal frame.
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You'll also need to disconnect the volume up/down button.
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Lastly, you'll need to disconnect the power button.
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With the internal screws removed and the cables disconnected, you can separate the display assembly from the metal frame. You could use a thin metal blade or a plastic case opening tool for this task, but I found that my fingernail worked well.
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With the internal metal frame separated from the display assembly, we get our first good look at the NOOKcolor's printed circuit board (PCB). Before going any further with the display assembly, let's finish our examination of the metal frame and remove the battery.
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The NOOKcolor's internal metal frame houses the battery, speaker, power button, and volume up/down button.
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The NOOKcolor's battery is attached to the metal frame with two strips of double-sided tape.
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The NOOKcolor has a 3.7V 400mAh 14.8Wh Li-ion battery. According to CNET's review of the NOOKcolor, you'll get about eight hours of reading on a full charge.
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With the metal frame removed, we can turn our attention to the NOOKcolor's PCB and display assembly. According to the large sticker on the back of the screen, LG made the NOOKcolor's display.
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A single Torx T5 screw holds the PCB to the display assembly. You'll need to remove the screw before removing the PCB.
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Before listing the PCB away from the display assembly you'll need to disconnect the touchscreen connector and display connector. This is the Cypress Semiconductor TMA340 touchscreen controller.
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The touchscreen connector is attached to the NOOKcolor's PCB with a gated connector and a bit of clear tape.
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The large display connector is attached to the NOOKcolor's PCB with a large strip of metallic tape and a pop-off connector.
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With the screw removed and the display and touchscreen controller disconnected, you can begin lifting the PCB away from the NOOKcolor's display assembly. But, don't pull too hard. The Wi-Fi antenna cable is still attached to the assembly. The antenna wire runs under two thin metal plates. You can either disconnect the antenna wire and pull it out from under the plates, or bend the plates up slightly and pull the wire out. I opted for the latter.
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The NOOKcolor uses an LG Display LD070WS1 (SL)(02) to deliver the 1024 x 600 resolution at 169 PPI.
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The NOOKcolor's display appears to be held to the front frame with very strong adhesive. As I didn't want to damage the display, I left the two components attached. We can however, take a closer look at the touchscreen controller and display connector.
Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
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This chip is likely a Cypress Semiconductor TMA340 touchscreen controller. It has the following markings:
8CTM340-48LQI-01 CYP644895 PHI
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Removing the metal tape and translucent blue tape that cover the display connector, we can see the chips underneath and more LG markings.
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The NOOKcolor's LG Display connector has the several markings, including the following:
FPC Assy P/N: 6841L-0191A
Bare FPC P/N: 6850L-0601A
DESIGNED: 2010.10.08
DESC: LD070WS1-SL02 FPC Ver1.4
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Three EMI shields cover most of the interesting chips on the top of the NOOKcolor's PCB.
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As on the top of the PCB, most of the chips on the bottom are also covered with EMI shields.
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Luckily, the EMI shields will pop off the PCB with a little effort.
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This SanDisk SDIN4C1-8G provides the NOOKcolor's 8GB of built-in memory.
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Texas Instruments (TPS65921B) "Integrated Power Management IC with 3 DC/DC's, 4 LDO's, USB HS Transceiver"
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BC0 09K CG6V
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17042 0AA3S
2R2
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Although this chip's marking are partially obscured by the EMI support bracket, it is likely a Texas Instruments audio codec.
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Given the markings on the NOOKcolor's PCB, Foxconn appears to have assembled the device.
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Now, let's look at the chips on the bottom of the NOOKcolor's PCB.
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Given its proximity to the Wi-Fi antenna cable, extra shielding, and the traces from the the antenna connector to it, this chip likely provides the NOOKcolor's Wi-fi support.
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Texas Instruments 08CE7YT LVDS83B
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The NOOKcolor was surprisingly easy to disassemble. It uses standard Torx T5 screws and none of the key components are soldered to the PCB. Despite the ease with witch the NOOKcolor came apart, it really isn't a user-serviceable device.
Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
Caption by: Bill Detwiler

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