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How to hack your (black) Pandigital Novel

A few days ago I posted an updated version of  a guide to hacking the white Novel Android tablet. Since then I've been working on hacking the black Novel, and I'm ready to explain how to hack it.  TBH, I don't think you should. The black Novel runs Android v1.5., which is a rather old version that isn't supported by very many apps. It's also not going to be supported by any new apps, so I think you're better off with some other Android tablet. Update: If you're looking for a the latest firmware update for this tablet, read this post. Much of this post is outdated. But if you have a black Novel, I'll go ahead and walk you through the steps to hack it.

You have 4 options for the black Novel. There are the 2 official firmwares, the barebones Android firmware, and a hacked firmware under development by a couple members of SlateDroid. If you go with the hacked firmware or the barebones firmware you will void your warranty. But your warranty is fine with the official firmwares.

click to embiggen

Sidenote: There's actually a fifth option; you can hack your Novel the hard way. But it's complicated and requires a higher level of technical skill so I won't mention it here.

The black Novel has 2 official firmwares because it is being sold in 2 countries (US and Canada). The original firmware was tied into the B&N ebookstore, and since (for the most part) that store is US only, Pandigital had to work with Kobo for the Canadian release.

Update: Pandigital has released a new US firmware for the black Novel. The new firmware turns the Novel into a regular Android tablet. There's no need to hack it anymore.

click to embiggen

The firmwares are very different. The US firmware is locked down like the white Novel, and it's rather slow. I don't like it, and I said so in my review.

The Canadian firmware, on the other hand, is not locked down. It ships with the standard Android home screen and you have all the basic Android features. This means that you don't have to hack the black Novel, and that's why I recommend this firmware.

But you don't have to take my word for it. Switching between the 2 official firmwares is easy. I did it 4 times in one evening and each one went just fine.

Here are the links to the 4 firmwares I mentioned in this  post:

US firmware

Canadian firmware

barebones firmware


P.S. The Canadian firmware deserves its own review, so I will be posting it elsewhere.

About Nate Hoffelder (10902 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."

143 Comments on How to hack your (black) Pandigital Novel

  1. then have do you switch from one firmware to another

  2. Nate the great // 20 November, 2010 at 5:26 pm //

    The instructions are on the same page as the downloads.

    Copy the DAT file to your SD card.
    Turn off the Novel.
    Insert the SD card.
    Press and hold the power button and up volume button for 5 seconds and then release.

  3. any word on getting android 2.0/2.1/2.2 working on the black canadian reader?

  4. I can’t see that anyone over at Slatedroid has tried. Most are working on the white Novel becuase it has the better hardware.

  5. is that the file from the Canadian firmware

  6. I did the SD copy of the Firmware Candaian and it works
    will I be able to do text-to-speech
    Please give info about apps
    love to here
    whatever I do will it erase if I switch between fireware
    please inform
    thanks again

  7. Is there a way to get the android market on the Canadian version of the software? (on the black version) I would really like to be able to get a notepad on my PDN.
    BTW, thanks for the information about the canadian software, I like it much better than the original one.

  8. Only if someone hacks it.

  9. I bought a black PDN in Canada, however all attempts to flash the firmware (with any firmware) have not worked for me.

    I get the firmware flash screen showing the progress bar displayed to show completion (goes by too fast <2 sec) and the unit goes dead (meaning it does not automatically reboot)

    Restarting the recently flashed PDN shows that the original firmware version: S64N_SLST_KOBO_P1_2010_10_28t
    did not change. This happens no matter what firmware was used to flash the Canadian black PDN.

    Any help would be much appreciated!

  10. trailerparknick // 2 December, 2010 at 11:56 am //

    i had a pdn that wouldnt flash from the sd card or from the autoupdate on the pdn site it ended up being a bad novel i exchanged it and the new one works just like its supposed to

  11. I’m interested in the Novel for running Droid Comic Viewer (or something else for cbr/cbz files). I’m in Canada and can get the PDN Black for $160 at Future Shop; is it worth it? Or should I try to get a White one from eBay? Again, my main goal is just being able to read comics; anything else is a bonus.

  12. Nate the great // 7 December, 2010 at 8:06 pm //

    I would try to get a 9″ Novel. I’m a lot happier with it. But if you can’t get the 9″ then you should go with the white Novel, not black. You have a better chance at getting the app to work.

  13. Is there anyway to get the original operating system back? I’m regretting the android upgrade….

  14. Nate the great // 10 December, 2010 at 7:16 am //

    You should be able to reflash with the US firmware.

  15. I just got the Black Novel that was bought on Black Firday, in the US. Can I change from the US firmware to the Canadian firmware? Is it worth it? And how long would it take?

  16. Yes, you can change. It should only take a few minutes.

  17. And that won’t void any warranty!?

  18. Switching to the Canadian firmware shouldn’t void your warranty, no.

  19. Well, its seems like a better system…and the reviews seem better than the US firmware. Thanks for the advice! We will see how it goes!

  20. Do you have any hacking info for the new 9″ Pandigital? Also, downloading using a Mac?

  21. Nate the great // 14 December, 2010 at 9:59 am //

    You don’t need to hack the 9″ Novel. It’s a tablet.

  22. I have the Canadian version and would like to know how to import epub books from the SD card into the black Canadian 7″ colour reader. I did have a USA version, broke the screen and it had an “Import from SD card” icon…I don’t see how to do this with the Canadian product I recently purchased, I don’t see it in the new software….could you please help.

  23. You should be able to see the ebooks in the Library. If you can’t, make sure your ebooks are in a folder named “ebooks”.

  24. Hi, I just did the Canadian version, and it all went well, but i’m still stuck with the barnes and noble software instead of kobo books. Can you lend any help on this?

  25. Nate the great // 14 December, 2010 at 2:57 pm //

    You should have a Kobo icon on your home screen. Is it not there?

  26. I love this forum.
    I am thinking of getting a Panditigal e- reader –to use as a tablet,great info here guys!!

  27. I just purchased a PDN “7 and i would like to download the android software. the PDN website said if you do you will void your warranty and it won’t operate correctly plus you won’t be able to switch back. Is that true?

  28. Nate the great // 16 December, 2010 at 6:50 am //

    Yes, installing that firmware will void your warranty. But IMO that firmware offered by Pandigital is relatively safe. I wouldn’t worry.

  29. so I’m getting ready to hack my novel and once I do this will I still have my main page that comes with the pdn? how exactly does it work?

  30. Nate, I made sure that the spelling and format of the folder on the SD card was the same as on the internal drive “eBooks” and inserted the card again and restarted the device. No luck. All I see is KOBO or Local for the Libraries……and I finally copied all the books to the internal drive. They are seen from there, in the Local library. They open properly. Photos and Music work properly but the ebooks are not seen on the SD Card. I am wondering if it may have to do with the fact that this card was used in my original USA product? I also used Calibre to bring in the thumbnails and perhaps the Canadian software does not recognize this ? I think I will call the customer service manager…..I have spoken to her before. They are quite nice and try to help, I will let you know what I find out.

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  1. Review: black Pandigital Novel (Canadian firmware) – video
  2. 7" Black Pandigital specific market?

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