Sony Reader Wifi Hacked – Now Runs Kindle, ezPDF, and more (video)

It looks like I jumped the gun yesterday when I announced a new hack for the Sony Reader. Last night the developer released a new version of the hack which added a bunch of new functionality. Most importantly, the update finally let me install new apps.

It's been just over a week since the first proof of concept video,  and I'd say that we now have a hack that's finally ready for the end user. I've installed various versions of the hack 3 or 4 times this weekend and all the installs went off without a hitch.

The hack doesn't come with much (but now that I can install apps that 's no longer a problem). All it has at the moment is ADW Launcher, CoolReader, Dropbox, as well as a few things that we can't use (phone, camera, etc).

If there's an app you'd like me to try, please ask.

I now have the Kindle Android app running on my PRS-T1, and I got it from the Amazon Appstore. The app turns the page a little slower than my K4, but it does run. I've sent several ebooks to the T1 and I even downloaded a library book. The T1's page turn buttons don't work with the Kindle app, but the rest of the app works just like it should (bookmarks, highlights, etc).

I also tried Angry Birds (just because it's there). I could download it from Amazon but I couldn't install it. This might be due to the space  limitations; I'm told there's a limit on how much space the T1 will provide for apps.

The install process is pretty simple. I feel comfortable in suggesting that you try it and it looks relatively foolproof.

  1. Download and unzip the hack from here. Look for one that says "package installer"; that's what you'll need in order to install apps.
  2. Plug your T1 into your PC and put it in USB mode.
  3. Find the folder for the hack and double click on flash_reader.bat. Read the prompts on the screen and respond.
  4. Let the T1 sit until the software finishes installing. If successful, your T1 will reboot.

If it doesn't work, you can ask for help here. BTW, if you have already hacked the T1 then you might need to install the restore firmware first. That will remove any remaining parts of the hack.  If you don't install the restore then the broken parts might hang around.

Okay, now that the initial joy of hacking the T1 has worn off, I'm beginning to see it in a different light. Yes, this is a $150 Android tablet with a funky screen, but so is the Nook Touch. And the Nook Touch is actually a better option because you can get it for $80 - or just over half the price of the Sony Reader PRS-T1. True, that's the refurb price, but it comes with the same warranty and it's only $80.

On the other hand, I am liking the buttons on the T1 as well as the general appearance. It's a sleek looking tablet.

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Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
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.

96 Comments

  1. […] Update: There’s been a few major changes in the past day or so. I can now install apps. […]

    Reply
  2. JJ23 October, 2011

    I’m waiting for my T1 to arrive. I’ve read about a bunch of problems with page flipping, have you heard anything yet?
    http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=153031

    http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/forum-replies.cfm?t=1773427

    Reply
  3. fjtorres23 October, 2011

    Any luck with Audible and Overdrive?

    This hack will come in handy when the T1 starts getting discounted in january.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder23 October, 2011

      Thanks for the suggestion!

      Audible installed and ran just fine, but with Overdrive I had a little trouble with their website.

      Reply
      1. fjtorres23 October, 2011

        Well, since the Sony and Kindle readers do library books, too, it’s no biggie.
        But audible is something no epub reader can do but Kindles can so it’s a win.
        Now to wait for the T1 to start getting discounted. 😉
        (Or Sony to wise up and do an android 950.)

        Reply
  4. Tyler23 October, 2011

    How about the Kobo app?

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder23 October, 2011

      I cannot see it in the Amazon Appstore and the copy on Freeware Lovers will not install.

      Reply
      1. fjtorres23 October, 2011

        Try a search for, ahem, Nook.
        It should offer up Kobo and Aldiko. 😀

        Reply
        1. Nate Hoffelder23 October, 2011

          No. The Amazon Appstore won’t show apps if they’re not compatible. That’s why I didn’t find them. Sorry if I wasn’t clear.

          Reply
          1. fjtorres23 October, 2011

            Ah. I’ve found the appstore app search to be…unreliable. Which is odd for Amazon. The web-based store will show everything, regardless of compatibility, though.

            Reply
        2. fjtorres23 October, 2011

          Uh, it used to.
          Now its offering up an AA app.
          Kobo is here, though:
          http://www.amazon.com/Kobo-Inc-eBooks/dp/B004SIEZ8I/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=mobile-apps&qid=1319422330&sr=1-1

          Reply
          1. Nate Hoffelder23 October, 2011

            I’ve noticed that when I visit via the Amazon appstore client I am not shown apps that aren’t compatible with the device I’m holding at the moment.

            Reply
  5. Mike Cane23 October, 2011

    Graffiti for Android. GO!

    And you just HAD to put Dragon Tattoo on it, didn’t you? To twist the knife!

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder23 October, 2011

      It installed and it runs. But I’m not sure how to get it to pop up somewhere useful.

      Reply
      1. Mike Cane24 October, 2011

        How can you say it runs if you can’t get it to pop up?

        As for useful, just as a bloody test, create a note in a book and write with G instead of the KB. Can that be done?

        Reply
  6. […] Update: And now you can hack the T1. […]

    Reply
  7. […] it’s a relatively easy mod as The Digital Reader notes it’s relatively foolproof. Just download the installer to the reader and give it time to do […]

    Reply
  8. […] by hacking the tablet you can install alternate eBook apps including the Amazon Kindle app. Nate at The Digital Reader also tested Audible, an audio book app, and found that it […]

    Reply
  9. […] Launcher, CoolReader, ezPDF e Dropbox. Per altri dettagli e la procedura per l’hack visitate the-digital-reader.com. Ricordo che Sony Reader PRS-T è in prevendita italiana a 199 euro con disponibilità reale […]

    Reply
  10. cookie24 October, 2011

    We are readers people. I would only be interested if it ran Instafectch, Google Reader, Gmail, Read it later, Aldiko, USA Today, Opera Mobile

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder26 October, 2011

      The apps don’t work (I’m told), but Gmail and Google reader are surprisingly useful in the browser. No, really, it’s better on the Sony Reader Wifi than on most Android tablets. That’s weird, I know, but it’s true.

      Instafetch installed and opened just fine. I got the app from freeware lovers.

      Aldiko 2.0 did not install, but Aldiko v1.2 did. I don’t think it’s usable; it wants to scroll the page turn and I find the extra flashing to be annoying.

      I cannot see an app for read it later.

      USA Today installed and launched just fine.

      Reply
      1. fjtorres6 November, 2011

        Just noticed this.
        Did you try to set the Aldiko page turn to zero seconds?

        Reply
        1. Nate Hoffelder6 November, 2011

          The lowest I can set it to is 0.2 second.

          Reply
          1. fjtorres6 November, 2011

            Really? I’m running 1.2.13 which goes all the way to zero.
            Let me see if I can figure out which apk I used.

            Reply
          2. fjtorres6 November, 2011

            Found 14.
            Check your mail. Hope it works.

            Reply
            1. Nate Hoffelder6 November, 2011

              That fixed it. Thanks.

          3. fjtorres6 November, 2011

            Good to know, really.
            At the discounted price the hacked T1 is an interesting option for a webpad/reader.

            Reply
      2. klodeko20 November, 2011

        Hi. Did you tried to add Evernote?

        Reply
        1. Nate Hoffelder20 November, 2011

          Yep. It installed and launched okay.

          Reply
          1. Klodeko20 November, 2011

            Great ! Congratulations from France!

            Reply
  11. […] all-dancing tablet-come-e-Reader like the Kindle Fire or the Nook Color. But, as the folks at The Digital Reader have found out, it does run Android, and with a little hacking, you can bring this out front and […]

    Reply
  12. sinha25 October, 2011

    please try out Vudroid ….the .djvu reader!…want to see how it works on prs t1..

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder25 October, 2011

      It loads, but I don’t have any books to try.

      Reply
  13. JuanMa25 October, 2011

    I just tried one .djvu on my T1 and it works fine, but you should notice that the e-ink display flicks a lot when scrolling http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4BDeGXiTvGg

    Reply
    1. Mike Cane25 October, 2011

      Sony did something funky with their screen redraw that’s unlike what other eInk devices do. It looks like they’re controlling refresh by smaller regions, which accounts for all the damn flashing. That needs to be redone.

      Reply
      1. sinha26 October, 2011

        thank u Juan..I checked your video..yeah it should’ve been painful..I hope the flickering issues get corrected it future hacks..

        by the way does the hardware keys work in the app vudroid??
        if yes then the use of them might have lesser flickering…

        Reply
    2. Steve26 October, 2011

      Can you please try ebookdroid with the djvu document. You can download it here: http://code.google.com/p/ebookdroid/ its free.

      Vudroid has been discontinued

      Reply
  14. steve26 October, 2011

    Hi can you try “Ebookdroid” for the djvu file. Vudroid has been discontinued and the author started a new project called “Ebookdroid” and it renders pages much faster.

    Reply
  15. JuanMa26 October, 2011

    Sorry, Ebookdroid failed during the instalation. I’ll report the logcat

    Vudroid scrolls half page with the hardware button. Works fine

    Reply
  16. […] I have to say it's pretty sweet. Here are some instructions and a list of apps that I've tried: Sony Reader Hacked – Now Runs Kindle, ezPDF, and more (video) – The Digital Reader The Digital Reader blog – your best news on ebooks and e-readers Appazonia – a free app […]

    Reply
  17. Stefano30 October, 2011

    Hi, could you please try the Scholarley app (Mendeley app for academic pdf reading)?

    Thanks a lot.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder30 October, 2011

      My hacked Sony Reader Wifi doesn’t have access to the Android Market, and I cannot find the app on a site that looks trustworthy.

      Reply
      1. Ingo Lembcke5 November, 2011

        I tried one andorid market app but it did not install. Amazon Store installed but is no use, as I am in Germany and the store says not available in your country.
        Weird thing this morning, Reader was off, battery empty. WLAN was turned off, I read a book in bed, am reasonably sure that I send it to sleep (which it would have gone after 10min. anyway). Battery display not checked, but showed full sometime in the evening. My guess is, that it was some android app running in the background (?).

        Reply
  18. […] You can also find the just released Sony Reader Wifi for the same price. It has a slightly smaller screen but the Sony Reader Wifi is also running Android. You can even hack it and install Android apps. […]

    Reply
    1. guest19 January, 2012

      Anything for PRS900?

      Reply
      1. R0tten13 September, 2012

        I Second this request…. Anything for the PRS-900? Thank you…

        Reply
  19. […] it’s a relatively easy mod as The Digital Reader notes it’s relatively foolproof. Just download the installer to the reader and give it time to do its […]

    Reply
  20. […] found this post first and you would like instructions on how to isntall the hack, you can find it here. I also have a fair list of apps that I’ve tried, and notes for which ones […]

    Reply
  21. […] my competition, I like my hacked Sony Reader Wifi. It’s both one of my favorite ebook readers as well as a favorite Android tablet. It’s […]

    Reply
  22. Thoimas Arthur15 November, 2011

    I want to get my mother-in-law the Kindle Fire this Xmas. All she will do is read books. I have thousands of books in epub format and I want to load some of them on the KiFire for her use. It seems very hazy about Amazon allowing you to install Aldiko on the Fire. I know it is in the Amazon App Store but I don’t think that means it will work on the Fire. If I can’t load my epubs on the Fire for MIL I don’t think I want the Fire. Does anyone know the answer to this question. Please, if you don’t know don’t post a reply just to see your name in print. Accurate answers, please, it is getting close to Xmas and I got to buy something.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder15 November, 2011

      The Nook app is already running on the Kindle Fire. (Gizmodo posted that this morning.) I’d say that the the reading apps will also work okay.

      Reply
    2. fjtorres15 November, 2011

      Yes, you will be able to install Aldiko, Coolreader3, Overdrive, or even Kobo or Nook on the FIRE.
      http://blog.laptopmag.com/how-to-sideload-apps-on-the-kindle-fire?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+LaptopMagazineNews+%28LAPTOP+Magazine+-+The+Pulse+of+Mobile+Technology%29
      Mostly it’s a matter of getting your hands on the installation apk file.

      Reply
  23. Eduardo19 November, 2011

    I wold like to know if you can install a program that can be used as a writing tool like taking notes with the stylus?

    By the way does the sony reeader come witha app to take notes with the sylus or it just to take notes on books and pdf’s?

    Reply
  24. Samson26 November, 2011

    I guess whispersync works with the kindle app?

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder26 November, 2011

      It does for the ebooks you buy from Amazon yes.

      Reply
      1. Samson27 November, 2011

        Thanks!

        Does the android kindel app/the sony ereader with hack support all the formats the kindle does? like HTML, DOC, DOCX, TXT and so on?

        thanks again. your blog is really helpful!

        Reply
        1. Nate Hoffelder27 November, 2011

          The Kindle Android app only supports the one Kindle format.

          Reply
  25. fjtorres26 November, 2011

    Just remembered: does the native reading app do dual-column landscape?
    It might need a very small font size to kick in.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder26 November, 2011

      I’m not sure the native app does landscape, much less a 2 column mode. The screen isn’t wide enough to need the second column.

      Reply
      1. fjtorres26 November, 2011

        Just checking; I’ve heard conflicting reports about the earlier models.

        It’s mostly a matter of taste but at small font sizes (the kind I grew used to on my Dell PDA) 6in screens can do dual column landscape nicely and the Sony paging buttons are (to me) awkwardly placed for portrait but perfect for landscape. (Which is something cooreader 3 does well.)
        I’m still debating which reader to get for hacking: Sony or Nook STR. Nook is cheaper but lacks audio and B&N seems determined to block hacking.
        I thought the native app might tip the balance.
        Oh, well; it’s not as if I really need either. 🙂
        (I do wish somebody would sell a decently priced eink android tablet.)

        Reply
        1. cookie26 November, 2011

          “I’m still debating”

          My recommendation is that you wait 6 to 12 months. Something better is bound to come along.

          Reply
          1. fjtorres27 November, 2011

            Yup. That’s how it usually works.
            Plus, waiting costs nothing. 😉

            Reply
  26. Eduardo27 November, 2011

    I wold like to know if you can install a program that can be used as a writing tool like taking notes with the stylus?

    By the way does the sony reeader come witha app to take notes with the sylus or it just to take notes on books and pdf’s?

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder27 November, 2011

      The original Sony apps include a sketchpad/note taking app.

      Reply
  27. Bertram9 December, 2011

    I am not very used to these things. I have installed the ADWLauncher EX and Zeam Launcher. But how exactly do I get the Kindle App? I do not see any instruction for that anywhere.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder9 December, 2011

      I first installed the Amazon Appstore and then got the app from there.

      But you can also search for the app on Freeware Lovers and download it direct to your Sony Reader Wifi.

      Reply
  28. frank11 December, 2011

    I installed and tested the hack and it works; then I anhacked the Prs to restore the original firmware.Now I find only 207 MB free space on the internal memory of the device to store books.I have now charged 10 ebooks and one audiobook .Any idea to empty the disk?

    Reply
  29. Michael18 December, 2011

    Hi, Nate,

    Did you by any chance try the app “Moon+ Reader” on your Sony PRS-T1? Does it work, and would there be sufficient space to add a dictionary? Many thanks!

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder18 December, 2011

      The one I tried did not want to install. Then again I’ve added and removed so many apps that I probably caused the difficulty. And I’m not sure if there is room for a dictionary. There’s not much space for apps. If you’re talking about a stand alone app, then no. But if he dictionary is an ebook, then there’s probably room.

      Reply
      1. Michael18 December, 2011

        Thanks!

        Reply
  30. […] It turns out that there’s a hidden screen refresh mode. Instead of the entire screen refreshing at once, the new mode allows for partial screen refreshes.  This isn’t going to be all that useful to a stock Sony Reader Wifi, but I would hope that you have already hacked your device. […]

    Reply
  31. J16 January, 2012

    Please try these:
    Do they work on rooted prs-t1?
    readability and spool – do they work

    http://www.readability.com/

    .

    https://getspool.com/

    Can i use them on T1 ?

    If you use the Kindle app, can you use the send to kindle function?

    Thank you!
    J

    Reply
  32. J16 January, 2012

    Oh and this:

    Reply
  33. m19 January, 2012

    would love to know if “Full Wifi” https://market.android.com/details?id=com.sharkmob.FullWifi&hl=en works

    Reply
  34. […] been some time since I last posted about hacking the Sony Reader and a lot has changed since then. I left off at simply doing the basic hack, but other Sony Reader […]

    Reply
  35. […] been some time since I last posted about hacking the Sony Reader and a lot has changed since then. I left off at simply doing the basic hack, but other Sony Reader […]

    Reply
  36. Kelvin Wellington25 January, 2012

    I’ve just got a T1 and find your hacking efforts just great. There’s a couple of Amazon android apps for analyzing WiFi:
    http://www.amazon.com/farproc-Wi-Fi-Analyzer/dp/B004EBZX6W/ref=pd_sim_mas_1
    http://www.amazon.com/Amped-Wireless-Wi-Fi-Analytics-Tool/dp/B006C9BKC0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=mobile-apps&qid=1327543518&sr=1-1
    They look useful. I’m interested whether they will work on your hacked T1?

    Reply
  37. Pete7 February, 2012

    about EzPDF – So when you installed ezPDF did it zoom and scroll and pan as well as the standard prerooted sony reader? Were you able to scribble, highlight and annotate the PDF file. Were you able to then export the PDF file to you PC with the highlight, notes and scribbles intact? THANKS

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder7 February, 2012

      That was couple firmware updates back. No, I didn’t test that extensively.

      Reply
  38. Pete7 February, 2012

    has anyone used ezPDF and tried to save the files with annotations or highlights or scribbles? PLEASE. (am an not a pushy person, just desperate. honest.)

    And when you say “That was couple firmware updates back.” does that mean you loose the root and all the apps when you do a firm ware update. So if i mess something up in the rooting I can always update firmware and the seller will not know i did anything (void the warranty)?

    Reply
  39. Chris J28 February, 2012

    Got it at Fry’s for $79. Easy purchase at that price!

    So how do you do this hack without a PC?

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder28 February, 2012

      No idea, sorry.

      Reply
    2. fjtorres29 February, 2012

      Any PC?
      Or just a Windows PC?
      You need a PC, of some kind, but there are (non-trivial) ways to make it work from Linux or Macs.

      Reply
  40. David Anthony29 February, 2012

    Hi, can you tell me please if it can run the “writepad” app for android ?
    Thanks

    Reply
  41. Nick2 March, 2012

    First of all, Nate, ladies, & gents, thanks for being my inspiration to trying this stuff out. Having my Kindle books on my T1 (used minimal-root, Amazon App Store, and Kindle App) has been a slick experience. My question- how do I get back to the hotness mode if for some reason my Reader now shows “No notifications” where ADW Launch used to live on my menu??

    Reply
    1. Nick4 March, 2012

      Decided to try the “Recovering from a failed firmware recovery, or Root-Service Restoration” instructions found at http://www.the-ebook.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=21458 … here’s hoping! 🙂

      Reply
  42. Merri2 April, 2012

    Does this hack still work? Is it hard to set minimal-root?

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder2 April, 2012

      It should still work, yes.

      Reply
  43. […] Sony (NYSE: SNE) Reader hacked to run…Kindle (The Digital Reader) If you like this story, please share […]

    Reply
  44. Bani Adam5 July, 2012

    Hello,
    Is it possible to install iQuran and Quran Android which is on Google Market?
    Thanks

    Reply
  45. Dave5 October, 2012

    I have rooted my T1. I have no clue how to download apps though. Most of the apps dont really work. I just wanted a calculator and calender and the kindle ereader app. ?No clue how to get the amazon store thing though

    Reply
    1. fjtorres5 October, 2012

      If you can get the apk onto a microSD card you can use the file manager to install the apps.
      No, all apps don’t run.
      There are a couple different ways to hack it and depending on the one you use there may not be room for the newer Kindle apps, which are pretty big.
      I do know that the 3.2.0.35 version of Kindle *will* install and run well even with the tightest configuration.
      You can get the Amazon store by having Amazon email it to you and downloading it with the browser. (Or sideloading the apk via USB or SD card. )

      Reply
    2. John9 January, 2014

      I have the same problem.

      Reply
  46. DT23 February, 2013

    So I have a T1 and I’m interested in trying this hack – but can I switch back and forth between the hacked system and the sony normal one, or does it open only as the hacked one?

    Also how do you get the restore firmware?

    Also does the akido reader app work with epubs of other languages like Chinese or Japanese?

    Thanks

    Reply
  47. Kathleen21 November, 2013

    I have firmware 1.0.05.11130 on my unhacked sony t1. Can I use the minimal root set with this firmware? This is the one developed by boroda .

    Reply
  48. Kyle28 May, 2014

    The amazon appstore won’t install (got apk from google search). Any suggestions on how you did this?

    Reply

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