The Barnes and Noble Nook Color hides a delicious secret: it’s Android powered. The bad news is that when you buy the Nook Color, you’re not getting a full Android tablet. The version of Android that’s installed on the Nook Color is heavily restricted and modified so you can only read eBooks and run a few other token apps. But the good news is that you can hack it and install a full version of Android on it. The result? A fully functional Android tablet that costs half the price of an out-of-the-box Android tablet.
Of course, I did use the word hack here. While this is by no means illegal, it will void your warranty and could possibly wreck your device permanently. But in reality, the chances of that are slim—if worst comes to worst, you can just do a factory restore on your Nook and everything will go back to normal. The only changes we’ll be doing here have to do with the software. The steps are simple, but not guaranteed. Give ‘em a shot at your own peril.
Purchase the Barnes & Noble Nook Color. This only works with the Nook Color, not previous versions of the Nook. Get it here:
Note: You can get the 3G version, but given that you may be altering the software in such a way that makes it so you can’t link up with your carrier, it might be a good idea to just go with the WiFi version.
Plug in your Nook Color and register it with your Barnes & Noble account. Note: It’s important to do this step first, since you may not be able to complete it after rooting your device.
Format an SD card so it’s completely blank. Do this on your Windows computer.
Download Win32DiskImager. Get it here:
Go into your Nook Color and check the software version. You find this by touching Settings > Device Info > About Your Nook Color. It’ll be listed under “Software version.”
Download auto nooter. Note that there are different versions of auto nooter for different versions of the Nook software. For example, if you have Nook 1.0.1, get the auto-nooter-2.12.25.img.zip file. If you have a different version of Nook, check for the version of auto nooter that goes with your software.
Get auto-nooter here:
In Win32DiskImage, click the Folder icon and open the auto-nooter img file that you unzipped above.
From the Device menu in Win32DiskImage, choose your SD card as the target media.
After the image is written to the SD card, remove it and insert it into your Nook Color.
Power down your Nook Color by holding the power button and then choosing “Power Off.”
Plug your Nook into your computer via USB. Your Nook Color will begin booting up.
Follow the on-screen instructions to finish the process. For later versions of auto nooter, you don’t have to do anything—but earlier versions may require you to unplug the Nook once the first scripts rn.
Once the Nook Color boots again, you can log in with your Google account and begin downloading apps. You’ll still see the usual Nook homescreen, but you can download an alternative homescreen app from the Android Market.