New firmware update available for the (black) Pandigital Novel

New firmware update available for the (black) Pandigital Novel e-Reading Software Pandigital recently uploaded a new firmware for the black Novel. It's dated 14 January.

I've downloaded and installed it. It's still based on v1.5 and still uses the B&N ebookstore, but on the plus side the new firmware turned the Novel from an ereader into a tablet.With this firmware you can now install apps without having to hack the Novel. (Of course, you could already do that with the CA firmware.)

Update: If you're looking for a the latest firmware update for this tablet, read this post. Much of this post is outdated.

The update didn't affect any of the apps I already had installed, which is a plus. But it also didn't add much besides the new home screen.

No, I was wrong. It turns out that the update did wipe all the apps I had installed; I didn't notice at first because they got replaced by a set of nearly identical apps! Hehehe They added a file manager, an office suite, and a link to SlideMe. This is actually a very nice start. It's not all the apps you need, but it's an improvement on the CA firmware.

This firmware might not be compatible with your black Novel, so you should first download the update app from Pandigital. I think you should use it to check which firmware is compatible with your particular Novel.

I've heard a few complaints about people having trouble with the update app so I'll give you a direct link to the download section for the updates. Before you visit the link you really should use the update app to find out which firmware is compatible. Don't mess with these files unless you know what you're doing. If you break something it's your own fault.

Curiously enough, I don't see a firmware update for the 9" Novel.

About Nate Hoffelder (9946 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader:He's here to chew bubble gum and fix broken websites, and he is all out of bubble gum. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills at the drop of a hat. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.

65 Comments on New firmware update available for the (black) Pandigital Novel

  1. Does it let you access the Android Marketplace or do you have to side load the apps?

    • You still have to side load the apps.

      • Can I get a pointer on how to “Side Load” the apps? I just purchased a PD Novel 7″ ereader/tablet and would really like to load apps from somewhere other than SlideMe (i.e.: freewarelovers or Amazon app store). Currently, the only apps that will install successfully are those obtained from the SlideMe app catalog.

        • I think the reason they work is because slideme is careful about which apps they let you try. They filter out the apps that you cannot use becuase the black Novel is too old.

          Check out this post for info on how to find and install apps.

          • Thanks. Will do. I tried for 20 minutes to figure out what version Andriod the black reader used before buying it. I know that 1.5 is severely limited and relatively ancient. But none of my Google searches while standing in the store would reveal the Android version. Oh well. I’m pretty sure my wife will love it since Facebook and the Barnes and Knoble apps work.

        • It sucks, don’t install, it almost broke my device, luckily it can still install even 1% of apps! Wait, no, this is all f***ing because of jackbox!!! He turned my black PDN into a stupid white one that has issues…

  2. Well, at least you dont have to go through Kobo website to get to your ebook inventory now(Canadian firmware). Nice. They have a facebook icon on it too.

    The B&N inventory look has changed and there is a Officesuite pro program too. Don’t know what type of program SlideMe is but it’s new.

    The music section actually separates songs by album now. Good.

  3. I might be mistaken and it was on my Canadian firmwire, but I don’t remember seeing the icon for it on my tablet.

  4. I’m a total newbie and unwittingly downloaded the firmware update, based on erroneous info from my library’s ebook info page. I’m wondering if you know whether there are problems with ADE transferring books to the Novel after this update? ADE shows it has loaded onto the Novel, but I get an error message when trying to open from the reader. I can’t for the life of me figure what else could be wrong, but I noticed that I don’t have the Adobe ebooks application icon now, with the update. Any suggestions would be much appreciated!

  5. Hi there,
    I was thinking of updating the firmware on myblack canadian pandigital novel because that is what the manufacturer reccomends. However, I have heard bad things about the update. Once you update the firmware pre-installed apps like the bookstore, adobe applicationa dn es explorer had disappeared. Now I am hesitant. What does the firmware update do exactly, and is it needed?

  6. Hi 100% new to figuring out my Pandigital Novel (Canadian version) Should I do the new up date? What will it do to my e-reader? I’ve just kind of figured out how it works. I don’t really want to do something that might ruin it.
    Also does anyone use Overdrive from their public library to borrow books? When I open my borrowed books they do no display properly. The bottoms and right sides of the pages get cut off and I have no way of scrolling to finish the page. I’ve tried changing the font size and it does not make the page fit the screen.
    Help please!

    • I too have the PD Canadian version I am using FB Reader to read overdrive books as you can format to fit the page.

      Make sure you download FBReaderJ and select ‘FBReaderJ 1.0.5 package for old (Android 1.5) devices’.

      Once you have it dowloaded format your bottom margin to 30, this will compenstate for the home icons along the bottom.

      Just download your overdrive books in epub format to you desktop and drag and drop onto your SD card! And Bingo!!

  7. Not sure if you can help me or not but when I keep updating the firmware from the update they provide on the site, I get an error in the second step saying checking firmware. Is there a way to do it through the device without having to go through a PC?

  8. i downloaded to root , not one of the folders.
    when i try to restart to update, i only see a few lines of text for a second before it starts normally.
    in settings, i see my firmaware as ending with 2010-10-28.

  9. I have the 7 in black pandigital and i have downloaded the update from their webiste several times and nothing has changed. What am i doing wrong?

    • What did you download, exactly? Was it a DAT file?

      If you copied the DAT file over to your black Novel, tried to run the update process, and it didn’t work, then you might not have quite the right firmware. There a couple different versions that don’t want to work with each other even though they can.

      If you have a file named polaris.dat, try looking for another DAT file on the Pandigital website and rename your file. If your file isn’t polaris.dat, try renaming your file to that name. Then try to update the firmware a second time.

      • lol i honestly have no idea. when i went to the website i saw the link for the update and clicked it. I did also see the polaris and tried that to and it didnt work.

      • I also have a US version of the black 7″ Novel and tried to download the android firmware update. But it just downloads the same version of the firmware I have. Polaris_update.dat with a 11-05-2010 date. I looked at the firmware directory you mentioned, but don’t know what is the right firmware for this Novel. Do you know what is the right download for the official Android update for the US version of the black 7″ Novel? Thanks.

  10. The exact same thing is has happened to me. Anyone have a simple solution?

  11. tried to download from web site through pc usb today- feb 21 2011. did not work even though it stated successful download. Called pandigital techie and they state that there seem to be problems and when they are fixed I will have to download it again.
    Also after the download I had to reconfigure my router for it to recognize the tablet.
    yikes…they should have taken the download off the website if they knew there were issues!

  12. Also same deal here “used Pandigital’s exe and IT did its job,then i hit the correct buttons and it showed a update bar, went through its thing and rebooted/nothing new except i was able to use a -support- app ONCE that was there,then it disappeared. -it showed system info-“

    • I downloaded the polaris_update.exe from this link. Copied it to the root of my internal drive on the US black PD novel. Shut down the device. Held the + volume and power button for 5 + seconds and the Novel upgraded to the new version of the Android OS. The reader is contained in the B&N link. Suggest you read the manual that comes included in the upgrade. there are many new features and the reader has been greatly improved. No more swipes for page turns. just tap the screen on the left or right. Problem though…it doesn’t find the previously loaded epub books. so I’ll either need to reload them or figure out what the problem is. Here is the link:

  13. My library does not support the black Pandigital Novel. So maybe that is why there are problems downloading from the libraries on the go site. Found that out the hard way.

  14. Mike how did you figure out which file for you black U.S. Pandigital?
    Does it have the apps included that are shown on the pandigital upgrade page?
    Are you able to sideload the u-tube app?
    Sorry for all the questions, but I need to know.
    Your answer would be appreciated.

  15. Hey Mike one more question is yours the QVC 4 gig or the standard 2 gig sold at everyplace else, and is the update you posted the QVC update?
    Thanks again

    • Ron,
      I have the 2 GB Black novel I bought at Ebay. I determined that link for the polaris_update was the correct one through some google searches and process of elimination of the other links on that site.

      The KOBO one must be for Canada (that comes with the Kobo ereader), and the dates on many others didn’t match up with the recent official Android update from PD. The previous one was called Polaris_update.dat so I figured the one in the link I used must be the correct one. I don’t know if this is different or the same as the QVC one. The only difference I know with the QVC one is that it had a 4GB card instead of 2GB, but there maybe something else. Maybe Pandigital has their update software installer working now, so you can skip this guesswork.

      The update has the apps shown on the pandigital page, plus others on the expanded screen. I was able to download several additional apps from the SLIDE application that took me to a large android marketplace. However some apps wouldn’t install because it saw my PD Novel as a Android 1.5 OS and the app needed 1.6 or 2.1 etc. The adobe flash install would not install and said my OS was not compatible. I believe it needed Android 2.1 or 2.2. Thats the drawback to this PD Novel. The OS is pretty low-end. (I see that K-Mart has a Coby tablet with Android 2.1 on sale Sunday for $149. That might be worth looking at.) But I have to admit the ereader on this upgrade is very nice. The page turning is good, and it recognizes the book metadata so it shows the book cover for all books, including those copied over from the libray through Adobe digital editions or copied over through Calibre.

      If you know how to get flash video to play on this PD novel I would appreciate it.


  16. I believe the only video that the black will do is you-tube 1.3. Or so I’ve read on the forums.

  17. Mike I took a look at the Pandigital firmware site and you are obviously correct that has to be the new firmware.
    What I would like to know though is how you were able to determine that was the upgrade was for the black as opposed to the white Pandigital.
    Black 1.5-White 2.-Android.
    Since you put it on your black and it worked you obviously picked correctly.

    • I guessed. I did a previous update to a 11-05-2010 version and the file the update software downloaded was called polaris_update.dat. The file in the folder I linked to was also called polaris_update.dat. I assumed (hoped) it was the right one. An earlier white pandigital update may have used a differently named dat file or a zip file. I don’t know.

      FYI…if you download the dat file and use winrar or winzip to open the file on your pc you will see the individual files contained inside. One of the files will be named the firmware version. If you are looking for a previous version of the firmware, that is one way to find it. It appears PD places earlier version of the firmware in archive folders. Download some of the other firmware update dat or zip files and look inside to see if you can find what you’re looking for.

      All this may be moot if Pandigital has their update software working again.

      I am by no means an expert on this. I can only speak to what worked for me. Good luck.

  18. I purchased the PD White in late Dec. Got frustrated since I wanted to download apps. In Late Jan I downloaded the Open Android platforn from the PD website. It does work but not really well. Now I see a better Upgrade on their website but It doesn’t recognize the Open Android system and I can’t download the new upgrade from the PD website. Any suggestions how I can recover the original system so I can UPgrade the system?

    • Sue, Please see my response above to Ron. By downloading and opening on your PC some dat or zip files you may be able to find the firmware version you are looking for. To update the black model, the dat file was downloaded to the pc, copied to the root of the PD_novel flash drive and the novel rebooted with the Vol+ and power keys. Possibly the white Novel is the same.

  19. So, I have the Pandigital Novel, Black, and I have a Mac as well. I downloaded the polaris_update.dat and I can’t put it on my Novel when I plug it in. Am I doing something wrong here, or do I just have really bad luck.

  20. It says that there isn’t enough space.

    • The black novel only starts with 2GB of space. This polaris_update is about 53MB. So depending on what you already have on your novel there may not be enough space. If you have videos, or pictures, or many e-books loaded, you may need to temporarily move some of them to your mac. Try to give yourself at least enough space for the polaris_update.dat file and an additional 50MB for any temp files during the actual update. The more space you allow the better. After the update you can move your vids, pics, or books back to the Novel. I’d remove any additional SD card as well, if you have one. I’ve had trouble on reboots when the SD card is in the external slot.

  21. I have the 7 inch black. my trouble began when I dowloaded the canadian vesion. I want to go back but the PD site is not working now and today they said at least another week or two. I tried to put the polaris.dat in the root but nothing happens……any ideas?


  22. How about renaming the Polaris dat to the Canadian file name only with a later date to make the Pandigital think it is just a newer update.

  23. After completing all steps my pandigital novel black 7″ still looks and acts like it did prior to the update. I don’t know why it is not looking like the new tablet page shown and there is none of the features that the update boasts. What do I need to do?

    • Jeannie,
      Mine did the same thing when using the pandigital website’s update program. it just downloaded the same version of the old firmware, and reinstalled it with no change. But after I downloaded the polaris_update.exe file from the mirror link (see an earlier post of mine) and copied it to my novel through the USB connection and updated to that version, then I got the Android OS that you see the pictures of. I have been running it for the past week and it has worked perfectly. Much better than the old firmware and there are many apps that can be installed – if you’re into that sort of thing. Please see an earlier post of mine (Feb 25, 2011 at 3:22 pm) for the mirror site to the polaris_update.dat file you can download. THIS IS FOR THE US VERSION ONLY. I don’t know the exact download for the Candian version. Hope that helps.

      • Two days fighting to upgrade my black Pandigital till I came to this Forum and learned about the suggestion to choose a different option to the one that the upgrading program chooses, get the option polaris_update instead of the long name, as I did and finally the Pandigital was transformed all for the better, thank you guys.

  24. Mike, Jeannie
    The updater on the pandigital site is up and running.
    It will give you two options one for the op64 long filename and the other for polaris-update.dat.
    I chose the OP file and updated to exactly what I had.
    I then went back and chose the Polaris file and it updated to the OP new file.

  25. Mike or anyone. How do you remove an app apk. once it is installed.
    Is their an uninstaller apk that will work with Android 1.5?
    Help appreciated.

    • Ron, click the ES File Explorer icon and when it opens up click the wrench icon on the right hand side of the lower tool bar (to the right of the Home icon). when you click that a pop up menu will appear and on that menu click the Manager icon. the Manager window will show up, choose App Manager. after you do that, the Manager will show you all the apps installed on your novel… select the one you want to uninstall by putting your finger on it and holding it there until a selection menu pops up… one of the available options is ‘uninstall’…

    • This will also work: from the wallpaper front screen click the wrench, settings, Applications, Manage Applications, and from the list of apps, select the app and select uninstall.

  26. When I try the update and get to the second step I get a long error dialog saying that I am getting a Proxy Authorization error. The update process fails to go any further.

  27. took for ever to get it to update hope i did it right finally had to turn it off after it reset its self and then hold buttons down but i had loaded both on the system first then deleted them and retried it with i believe the right one

  28. Hi, new pandigital novel 7″ user here and I have updated the firmware like it suggested on a note included in the box, however, I do not see the new SlideMe option at all nor the Office Suite.

    What am I doing wrong? Or is it just that mine is not compatible for those options?

    Getting frustrated!

    • There are actually a bunch of different firmwares for the black Novel, and you might have one that has a different upgrade path.

      Also, you might not have the “black” Novel. Does your Novel have 2 speakers on the bottom edge? That is actually the “white” Novel, only with a black shell.

      It’s frustrating, i know, but that’s Pandigital for you.

  29. Just got off the phone with Pandigital. So far it hasn’t worked but might be a solution for some. I was told to go through explorer on the PC, and navigate to the PD_Novel volume. Delete everything except the folder that says digital-adobe. There is a problem with the installer that it skips the part about selecting the correct upgrade, and picks up the old one. You are supposed to get a choice, and that is where you would select the Polaris_update.dat file. I’ve tried it now, and it didn’t fix the issue. Still defaults back to the 11-23-10 version. Note that if you delete everything including those folders you delete everything that you may have put on the novel. Pictures, videos, music, etc. Books can be redownloaded if you have saved them through B&N, etc.

  30. My black novel 7.0 was updated the version 03-01-11 after three times trial according to PAN. And I installed some apk of android, now it even support Chinese and Italian and other languages. But the the OS is still android 1.5. It’s too old to install any new apk and the speed is so slow. Is there any way to update the OS version ?I have just asked for this the PAN.

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