Nook Color: Budget Android tablet in disguise

This guest post was submitted by Aaron Orquia.


Concept Android tablets have been hitting hard and fast the past few months, and there is good reason. The tablet market is just getting started, and there is much untapped potential.

Unfortunately, most of the tablets talked about have so far failed to materialize. As we stand now, the list of tablets you can buy is short, and the list of name brand tablets is even shorter. It really consists only of the Samsung Galaxy Tab, Dell Streak, and the various Archos tablets. However, if you are willing to do a bit of work, you can add one more respectable tablet to that list with the Barnes & Noble Nook Color.

The Nook Color was released by Barnes & Noble as a color e-reader late last year for $250. It did not gain much traction as an ebook reader, but the device was based on Android and came with a surprisingly decent specification list. A brief reminder:

  1. 800 MHz Cortex A8 processor by TI (same as Droid X)
  2. 8GB of built-in memory
  3. 512MB of RAM
  4. PowerVR SGX530 GPU (same as Droid X)
  5. 7-inch 1024×600 Ips display
  6. 3.7 V 4000mAh battery good for around 8 hours of battery life

This hardware has attracted a dedicated developer base. The guys over at XDA have successfully rooted the device and a 2.2 ROM has already been released with a version of CyanogenMod projected for the future. Thanks to the work of these guys, users can now make a highly functional tablet out of their Nook.

Accelerated graphics work, as well as WiFi, the browser, the accelerometer, and sound output. As of now, there are still a few things not quite working properly like Bluetooth, FM Radio, accelerated video playback, and most importantly Google apps. But progress is rapid, and there are dedicated developers fixing things every day. Once CyanogenMod is finally released, the device should be completely functional.

Athough the Nook Color was not released as an Android tablet, between its spec sheet and the army of developers behind it, it has the potential to be a viable tablet option for those looking to find one for under $300. It compares favorably with the likes of the Streak and the Archos tablets, and even puts up a fight against the Tab. As long as you're comfortable with rooting, ROM installation, and some bugs, I think the Nook Color is a solid Android tablet option.

I'm planning to purchase the Nook Color soon and will write a review and tutorial on how to transform the ereader to a competitive Android tablet. Stay tuned!

This guest post was submitted by Aaron Orquia.

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Jenn K. Lee

Jenn K. Lee is the founder of Pocketables. She loves gadgets the way most women love shoes and purses. The pieces in her tech wardrobe that go with everything are currently the Samsung Galaxy Note II, Sony Tablet P, and Nexus 7, but there are still a couple of vintage UMPCs/MIDs in the back of her closet.

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