How to hack your (white) Novel – the easy way

So you want to hack your Novel. Greetings. This is an updated post on how to hack the white Pandigital Novel Tablet. It's dated 15 November, so by the end of the year it will likely be out of date. Use it at your own risk. Update: (18 January) A lot has changed in the past couple months. At this point I don't think you should hack your white Novel. The current firmware for the white Novel is for a standard Android tablet. Basically if your Novel has a menu that looks kinda like the lead picture then you don't need to hack it. I wouldn't bother because I don't think it's worth the effort. You might want to read this instead. Sidenote: If you're wondering why I'm bothering with the new post, it's because I'm still getting hits on the old one. I really didn't expect it to still be getting attention at this late date, and honestly, I thought it would disappear in about a month. I don't like giving out old instructions, and this has been bugging me since September.  

How to Hack your Novel

Update: I've just found another option for hacking your Novel. If you have one of the newer models, you might be able to install the Cruz Reader firmware. You'll have a much better tablet when you're done.

You now have a number of options for hacking your Novel. First, Pandigital have released a bare Android install. I haven't tried it myself yet, so I can't comment on how it works. Second, you could follow my original instructions. There's a fair amount of work involved, but it is an option.

The third option is actually very easy. All you have to do is download a hacked firmware and run through the update process. If you use this option, you will be able to install the necessary button hacks, Home screen, as well as several vital apps like Spare Parts and the Android Market.

Yes, you do get access to the Android Market and yes, it is unauthorized. It also voids your warranty. Use at your own risk.

Since this post is intended for a beginner, I'm going to provide as much detail as I can.

  1. Go to this page on SlateDroid, and download one of the firmware options. I would recommend that you get the one dated 9/24  (ver4). I have ver4, and aside from a few quirks it works okay.
  2. Download the ZIP file, copy it to a SD card, and insert the SD card into your white Novel.
  3. Press and hold the power switch until you have the option to turn off the Novel. Do so.
  4. When you reboot, press and hold the up volume button and the power switch (at the same time)  for 5 seconds. This should trigger the firmware update process.

At this point you should be in the middle of an update. Let it do its job while I point out a couple new features.

  • One of the changes to the Novel is a new taskbar at the top of the screen. On of the new buttons looks like a house. Click on it when you want to switch between the new and original home screens.
  • You have other new icons on the taskbar including volume, back, menu. Also, the taskbar is now persistent; it won't be covered up by apps and menus.
  • You might have trouble when waking the Novel from sleep mode.  It will look like it's frozen, but you actually are in the screen lock mode. Press the up volume button to unlock the screen.
  • Be sure to recalibrate the screen and add your Wifi networks again. They were lost in the firmware update process.

At this point you should have an Android tablet. Enjoy.

About Nate Hoffelder (11467 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: "I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

89 Comments on How to hack your (white) Novel – the easy way

  1. Being that I read it has a Samsung 800mhz processor, I am thinking it might be a serviceable Tablet, especially if you got one cheap enough.

    Would you say for web page browsing it is pretty responsive considering the screen is resistive?

    • I’m still testing it. I’m thinking about writing another review.

      • please do, I want to see a video or review of a hacked PDN

      • I used the ver4 you suggested and I get an error msg when I try to open the market. Tips? If not can you walk me thru adding apps by hand. Im not an idiot but new to all of this. Id like kindle, facebook, and angry birds. lol

        • I didn’t have this trouble, but I did look at how to fix it. First make sure your time and date is correct. Then try using a different google ID.
          Finally, I’m told this should fix it for you.

        • I did a factory reset and the Market then worked. You will lose only the data you put in and any books. But after the reset I went into the market (after putting in all my info data) and it worked fine. I started downloading apps. I hope to find droid version 2.2 soon so I can run java and flash.

  2. I have the white one with the latest update from Pandigital, I am seriously considering the hack, but I don’t know what more I will get, the web browsing is great, the battery life is better than I thought it would be and even though its a resistive touch screen reading and browsing are very easy, I just wish it had a flash player for all websites. If you want to watch videos make sure they are formatted MP4 and are small files anything over 500mb seems to freeze it up. So far any video formatted for PSP or Iphone work just fine.

    • I installed Skyfire so I could watch You Tube. Can’t get Android Market to work, but I use Amazon App to get free stuff.
      My Novel white 7″ is newer and has Android 2.1 on it. Got it for $85.00 tax and shipping included, not bad. Don’t think I would have paid more. Is a fun and handy little device.
      Wish I could use a USB modem, not just WiFi, anyone know a hack or mod for that?

  3. I just purchased the this device and am trying to load this firmware, but it does not seem to recognize the zipped file on the SD card during the reboot. It seems to be reinstalling the same firmware every time .. I get the same result whether the SD card is in or not .. Might the Volume Up button is not registering ? I have S10_09_23_K_PD_INX7E_ENG_6410POP version which seems to be a newer version than the site offers ..

    Any suggestion ?

    • I checked the Pandigital website, and it appears that you’re trying to install the official firmware. You don’t need to do that; it was already running on your Novel.

      • No, I am trying to install the version from the site you sent us to .. and I also tried loading the Cruz firmware .. It is not recognizing it when I restart holding the Up Volume button and power .. I want to be able to install android apps from the apps store

        • Sorry, I misread your comment.

          Let’s cover the basics:
          Did you unZip the ZIP file? (You weren’t supposed to.)
          Is the ZIP file in the root of the SD card?

          • The only thing on the SD card is the ZIP file .. I inserted the SD card to the reader, it detects it. I then powered down the device. Then held the volume up button with the power and it comes on .. I then got the open box icon with the little android guy .. seems like everything is working until it come all the way up and asks for what language I want .. Same Firmware as before ..

          • Well, I’m stumped. It sounds like you’re doing everything right. My only suggestion now is that you start a topic over at SlateDroid.

          • Thanks for the help .. I will do that ..

          • I unzipped the file so now what do I do

  4. Bob Rojas(petes brother) // 24 November, 2010 at 9:30 pm // Reply

    i cant seem to be able to download the files from mediafire. is there anywhere else i can find them at? please help me i just scored a white pandigital novel from kohls for $70 and im anxious to be able to go to the android marketplace!!!!!

    • I don’t maintain those files, sorry. But I asked over here for the guy who made it to upload them elsewhere.

    • Bob Rojas(petes brother) // 24 November, 2010 at 11:04 pm // Reply

      nevermind, the link started working. i tried installing the cruz software, but i had problems with it, i posted a message on your page about the cruz software working on the pandigital.

      • If you didn’t see an error message while trying to flash the firmware then this is probably the battery issue mentioned in the other post’s comments. Charge it and see if that helps.

  5. Ok, so I put the zip file on my SD card, shut the novel down. I power up while holding the volume button. The I just get a picture of the android man with an ! Any tips?

  6. Lee,
    Did you remove the internal SD card first? That’s the only way to get it to boot from the zip file on the external card.

    • I downloaded the TWO zip file for ver4 from the site. put the first n a sd card andout te card in the PD reader. the the volume button down and rebooted. everything went as stated and I have a droid as well as a book reader. Added second supplamenal zip same way rebooted NO PROBLEM. Works great for me. FOLLOW DIRECTIONS CAREFULLY. Get the right zip files from the right place and voila.

    • I did not remove the card and it worked fine. See below.

  7. Tried and tried to get this to work with no luck. Always boots to main screen. Formated new SD card to save zip file to make sure nothing was getting in the way and still no go. Suggestions?

  8. I successfully completed the hack. Looks like all is working properly, however, when i attempt to access the market i am getting a server error? Thoughts?

  9. I did it- it worked great, thanks!

    One question- When I hit the “Home” button, it asked which file to use, the new file or Home. When I clicked it, I must’ve hit the “always use this file” button.

    Now it’s stuck on the Android screen- won’t switch back to the Novel Home when I hit the “Home” button. How do I unlock this so that I can switch back and forth?

    Thanks again!

    • I’m not entirely sure how to fix this problem, but under settings there should be an option for resetting to factory settings. It’s drastic, but that should fix it.

    • I did the same thing and had same problem.
      Solved by putting in sd card with zip file and installing again. worked once again and this time made sure to not set default at all.

    • Do a factory reset. You will lose all data and books but will reset the switch key.

    • launch an app that is one of the included ones (picture gallery or browser comes to mind) and you now be in the original OS. Use the arrow at the bottom to bring up the icons and select Home. There you go.

  10. I am seriously considering this hack. But I wanted to ask some questions before I do anything.
    1. Will this update delete any of my books on my SD card?
    2. Will I be able to read(PDF & epub. format) books?
    3. If at any moment I would like to return to my original pandigital screen,would that be possible(how)?

    Thank you! Apologies for the probably ridiculous questions 😉

    • 1. No.
      2. Yes.
      3. If you want to go back just select the home button on the taskbar and choose the other option (I forget the name).

      • I don’t understand #3 above. If the home button on the taskbar is the house logo at top left of page, it brightens when I press it but nothing happens and I don’t get another option. I don’t know how to get back to the Pandigital screen and can’t access the B&N Noon downloads. BTW, great job!

  11. I am not quit understand what the hack doing. After the hack, press home buttom, then we can reuse the original novel software. what’s the relationship between those two systems?

    • The hack discussed in this post doesn’t replace the existing software. It adds new software. The original software is still on the Novel and you can still use it.

  12. SlateDroid seems to be down any one know where else i can download the Hack?

  13. Kind of off-topic but has anyone checked out the PocketBook IQ (701)? It looks very comparable to the Novel but has most of the bookstores already loaded without going through the hacks. Unfortunately not finding too much info on it as it seems relatively new and maybe has been predominantly sold in Europe.

  14. Thanks for all your help, Nate. I am able to enjoy the PDN as a tablet, downloading from the Market etc. One elusive thing is being able to get my Google Calendar on this device. I have my gmail and contacts syncing but can not figure how to get google calendar (native) app and to sync it. Please Help!

  15. I did the firmware update and hacked into the google android, however I would like to switch back. I did the factory reset but the update is still on there any suggestions?

    • Get one of the new firmware updates from Pandigital and install it. That should overwrite the changes.

      • what is the hack for?
        I am new to all this also i have a Pan E reader 7′ white

        • A lot of Novel owners are unhappy with the performance of the original firmware, so a bunch of hackers started working on their own firmware. The alternate firmwares add new abilities that the original lacked.

  16. This is exactly what I wanted, to be able to keep my Pandigital Novel setup and use the droid apps. Just download the free app and it works perfectly. Personally, I think the SlateDroid update is better actually than the Cruz, for me personally. FYI, I tried the Cruz download first, but went back to my original firmware and then installed the SlateDroid update. Thanks for info on all the hacking options!

  17. Getting mine this weekend, just reviewed Pandigitals open android install instructions. Will try this before a hack. Will write my results about it when I’ve completed it.

  18. Please confirm that it is the model PRD07T10WWH7 that is the jailbreakable one. I just bought the only 7″ white Novel I could find and I will return it if I got the wrong model. Please excuse this beginner’s question. I worked many years in IT but this will be my first attempt at “jailbreaking” something. It looks like fun!

  19. I am trying to undo the hack. I finally got the Cruz tablet to recognize and unzip the renamed Pandigital software. I’m now stuck in that endless loop of opening Pandigital screen, to shutoff, to white screen, to opening screen, etc. I don’t know how to end the loop. I think I’m almost back to undoing the hack! Help please!

    • If you mean that you are trying to undo the Cruz hack and go back to the Novel firmware, then did you flash the Novel firmware twice?

      • No. I’m caught in the shutdown loop and don’t know how to get out. Can’t stop the loop. Tried to flash during the 6 seconds it’s off but no change.

  20. Hi,
    I’m trying to flash off the SD card to go back to the original and I keep getting the Android man with a !.
    Any idea how I can fix this?

    • Did you rename the file? Scroll up to see the correct name.
      Is it on the correct SD card? Put it on both just to be sure.

      Are you sure the download wasn’t corrupted?


  21. Which FW would you suggest?
    The slatedroid FW,Cruz FW or the PDN Open FW?
    I see the Cruz is the best but it seems that if I want to return to my original PDN screen it takes a lot of effort.

    Side note: I also wanted to get your thoughts on the new PDN open firmware. I downloaded it recently & nothing worked for me. The apps didn’t have menus in them(except kindle) so I couldn’t return to the main screen or change fonts. Not sure if I needed to use the volume keys for the menus. I didn’t do the MICROSD remover step, so I think maybe that’s why everything failed?

    thank you!

  22. i hacked pdw to cruz and everything is working great so much smoother only problem i am having is cant acess mystions.
    books to rear any sugge

    • First reboot (always). I don’t recall having this problem, but you might be able to fix it by changing the folder your ebooks are in from ebooks to books (or vice versa). I can’t recall which one Cruz prefers.

      • ty ill try that other than that the cruz app is great

      • hello, i installed the cruz version but i have been sitting at the word cruz coming up, a black screen, then a white screen…it will not allow me to install the second time and it will not turn off…I tried to remove the battery but I don’t know how, please help and thank you

        • The battery is connected with a standard cable. It doesn’t take that much of a tug to remove it. And you can remove the back with a couple small flat head screw drivers. Gently pry the 2 parts of the back apart.

  23. I installed the hack that you recommended but am unable to access the Market. It gives me the error that the server is unavailable. What is the easier fix for this?

  24. Downloaded the nchntr_experience 9_23 version.
    But I’m not quite sure how to return to my original PDN screen. Should I download the 11_19 FW of the PDN site?

  25. After I’ve done the hack is it okay to delete the zip file?

  26. For those with trouble with the market, what I did when I started having the problem was to re-flash to the original ROM, then made sure the new google account I had set up had a valid payment method and the re-flashed the V4 ROM and the market has been working.
    It quite once on me and I just cleared the cache in the market under applications and it was fine.

    • Thank you so much. I finally got it to work after days. I just kept signing onto my google account and updated my payment method. Not sure if that did it, but now it works.

  27. The hack works i am at my second novel hacked and i install all kind of apps from droid.Thanks a lot dude. If you have any questions i can answer let me know

  28. I didi it and it updated except it looks exactly the same and there is no house on the taskbar.

  29. Ummm……is it normal for it to boot to the cruz splash screen and reboot and flash white during updating?

  30. It is Dec 27,. we got a white pandigital novel from toysrus for christmas. Despite all the bad reviews I love it. I suspect reviewers know and expect too much. Once you learn to tap and not press or caress it gets easy. I use a combo of stylus and fingers. Has this author updated the hacking instructions? He said it would be out of date by the end of the year. It is the end of the year. Is it out of date. somebody email me at [email protected] and let me know.

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