Nook Tablet Now Runs Kindle, Aldiko, & More – No Hack Required

  Earlier today I was griping about how Amazon had quietly made it difficult to install competing reading apps; today I get to dance for joy because I've learned how to install third party apps on the Nook Tablet.

A reader tipped me to the secret (Thanks, Geert). There's a thread over on the XDA-Forums where someone discovered a loophole in the Nook Tablet firmware.

Update: This trick is dependent on a loophole which B&N closed some time back. These instructions no longer work.

You probably think that the Nook Tablet  is like the Nook Color and that it cannot install apps. But it turns out that's not completely true. Barnes & Noble left us one way that we can do it, and that is this: You can download apps via the web browser. I've done so, and right now I have the Amazon Appstore, Kindle, Aldiko, Kobo and other apps installed on my Nook Tablet .

It's a tricky process and it fails almost as often as it succeeds. But it does work, and when it works it give you access to a lot more apps than the ones sold by B&N. (They don't have very many free ones in their app store.) Let me tell you how to do it.

How T0

First things first. You'll need to change a setting to allow for installing third party apps. So far as I can tell you can't actually do that without first trying to download an app because I think the setting is hidden from normal view.

There are a number of apps you could go get but here's one I know will work.

Go to Freeware Lovers and download the latest Aldiko app. When you try to install it you will be prompted to go change the setting. Do it.

Next click on the tiny icon in the bottom left corner of your Nook Touch screen. (It's your download queue.) Select Aldiko and install it again. Open it.

Now let me give you a way to find the apps. Aldiko and the other 3rd party apps won't show up with the ones from B&N, so you'll need to install a new home screen or launcher in order to find them again. But there is also a shortcut that will tide you over until you get that launcher.

Click on the "n", and select search. Type in the name of the apps you've installed. They will show up in the search. Click on them and you can run them. Open one.

Now go to the home screen, and then open the search again. Note that the app you searched for is listed. You can open it by clicking on it - no search required.

Update: You might also want to install a replacement home screen. I posted instructions over here.

Hit & Miss

I haven't been able to install all the apps I wanted, unfortunately. I have the Amazon Appstore installed, but the latest Kindle app did not work. Fortunately I was able to back track to a 1.x version. I then installed the latest version (from the Appstore) on top and it works.

I also wasn't able to install Angry Birds. But I have installed a number of other games and apps and I am slowly working my way through my Amazon Appstore account.

All in all, I'm pleased. I wasn't thrilled with how few free apps B&N carried and I am not going to buy apps a second time (or even a first time, for most of them). B&N has almost no free apps and that was one way that the Kindle Fire beat the Nook Tablet.  Now that has changed.

Also, the ability to install 3rd party apps was one of the other ways that the KF beat the NT; now it's no longer true.

This has drastically changed my opinion of the Nook Tablet. I wasn't happy with it when I took it out of the box but now i can do so much more with it. This one trick has moved the NT from the Discard category to the Maybe category. That's how happy I am.

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.

56 Comments

  1. Syn16 November, 2011

    Nice, I wish that trick worked with Nook Color. Maybe once the new update comes…

    Reply
  2. Pimpin Pimpin16 November, 2011

    Also the lastest version of android markets apk,,,can that be installed?
    The latest version is 3.3.11

    Heres a link to the download: scroll to bottom of article and it gives you the download link.

    LINK: http://www.addictivetips.com/mobile/android-market-3-3-11-adds-automatic-wifi-only-app-updates-more/

    Reply
    1. cookie17 November, 2011

      I doubt it or we would already know about it. Why not install it yourself and let us know???????????????

      Reply
      1. Pimpin Pimpin17 November, 2011

        Cause im at wrk at not by my tablet,,,but in an hour I will test it, figured someone reading could test it now…lol… 🙂

        Reply
        1. cookie17 November, 2011

          LOL. okay. You were fishing.

          Reply
  3. Syn16 November, 2011

    Nate which has the display? Fire or NT?

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder16 November, 2011

      Huh? I’m not sure what you’re asking.

      Reply
  4. Pimpin Pimpin16 November, 2011

    For the latest in Android app downloads, try installing these app stores – Getjar, Appoke and Soc.io Mall.

    Reply
  5. burger flipper17 November, 2011

    I suspect this door is gonna slam shut with the first update.

    Really regrettable they decided to make modding difficult this time

    Reply
  6. Syn17 November, 2011

    Nate,
    Oops sorry, which has the better display. The Fire or the Nook Tablet. B&N made a big deal over the screen so I was curious which looked better side by side to you?

    Reply
    1. Pimpin Pimpin17 November, 2011

      Nook Display is better, I have nook tablet and the display is awesome!!!
      But reviewers have all said that the display is better too, when compared side by side with kindle fire. lol

      Reply
  7. Ryan17 November, 2011

    I folowed the step, but wasn’t prompted to change any settings.. When I click on the notifications, Iget a pop up box asking me to complete action using either the app installer or package installer.. neither works…

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder17 November, 2011

      Not all the apps can be installed.

      Are you trying to install Aldiko? That should have worked.

      Try the Amazon appstore: amazon.com/app-email

      Reply
      1. Ryan17 November, 2011

        Feel like an idiot… was trying to use an Aldiko file that didn’t download correctly… this might take the sting off of the rooting issue

        Reply
  8. Tyler17 November, 2011

    I tried both the aldiko and the TGPS_launcher apps and neither bring up the settings window. I get app installer and package installer as my options. App installer just says unable to install and package installer comes up with Parse error.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder17 November, 2011

      Shoot.

      You might have an updated firmware where B&N closed the loophole.

      Reply
      1. Tyler17 November, 2011

        Mine says it is version 1.4.0

        Reply
        1. Nate Hoffelder17 November, 2011

          So does mine.

          Reply
        2. WETSU17 November, 2011

          Mine is running version 1.4.0 and will not sideload any apps either. 🙁

          Anyone have any suggestions?

          Reply
    2. allen18 September, 2012
      Reply
      1. Nate Hoffelder18 September, 2012

        Yes, but the hidden menu is no longer accessible.

        Reply
  9. BevQB17 November, 2011

    Yeah Nate! Now, if you could check one more app for me, I just might take a second look at this one. Can you try to install Overdrive to see if public library epubs and audio books can be loaded onto the Nook Tab? Although I apologize if that is already built into it- I didn’t find that info on their site.

    “…the latest Kindle app did not work. Fortunately I was able to back track to a 1.x version.”
    On Amazon? Or did you have to search elsewhere for the older version?

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder17 November, 2011

      The OverDrive Media Console installed. I had to get it from the Overdrive website, of course.

      I got the earlier version of Kindle from Freeware lovers. I downloaded it directly to the NT.

      Reply
  10. […] Update: I found a way to install 3rd party apps. Now the NT is much more […]

    Reply
  11. […] RSS ← Nook Tablet Now Runs Kindle, Aldiko, & More – No Hack Required […]

    Reply
  12. Robert Kent17 November, 2011

    What’s a good 7″ tablet that includes the full Android experience, no rooting necessary?

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder17 November, 2011

      One of the premium ones: Samsung, HTC Flyer, etc.

      Reply
  13. Mike Cane17 November, 2011

    How’s the speed of the Tablet? Noticeably faster than the Fire launching/running these apps?

    Reply
  14. john18 November, 2011

    so has anyone else reading here been able to load up third party apps on the nook tablet yet? seen here are two failures and the original success, so that’s
    2-1 against. any final verdict?

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder18 November, 2011

      There’sall the people on XDA Forums who have managed it.

      Reply
    2. Nate Hoffelder18 November, 2011

      As well as a bunch of bloggers.

      Reply
  15. Sam18 November, 2011

    Just follow that XDA developers forum. Thats how I installed Gmail, Youtube, Amazon Video Client ( without the prime member account just watching the Trailers 😉 ) Go Launcher, Facebook, G+ etc.,

    Reply
    1. WETSU21 November, 2011

      I wasn’t able to get it to work by just downloading any apk, I finally got it to work after downloading this apk and following the instructions from the poster that I found on XDA’s forum.
      Open the following page in your web browser:
      http://61.145.124.93/soft/3GHeart/golauncher/v2.65/GO_Launcher_EX_V2.65.apk

      When it has finished downloading it will ask you how you want to handle the file — Click the second option.

      Bam! Go Launcher is installed. But, it will seem like it is not always there. The easiest way I have found (and thanks to someone on this forum) is just to do a serch for “Launcher” and the results should list “Go Launcher”. Click that and you are back into Go Launcher.

      Now to get a file manager installed.

      I prefer “ES File Manager”, but if you want something else, just find the APK and you should be golden.

      Once again, When it has finished downloading it will ask you how you want to handle the file — Click the second option.

      Now you can go through your entire NT directories and install APKs (note that not all of them will work. I would install MX Player, YouTube, browser of choice)

      If you want the Amazon AppStore (and I would recommend that you do)
      https://www.amazon.com/appstorelanding

      I am sure there are some other bits of information floating out there, but this should at least get you started.

      Thanks to everyone on this forum for helping me out in some way!

      Reply
      1. Nate Hoffelder21 November, 2011

        One, why did you repeat pretty much everything I wrote above?

        And 2, that’s not a good source for Go Launcher. It takes forever to download. I think it’s better to get it from the Amazon Appstore.

        Reply
        1. WETSU21 November, 2011

          I am sorry, I didn’t mean to re-post what you had posted already. It was just that I tried your links and for some reason, it didn’t work for me (could be user error on my part). So when I found the exact steps that did work for me and I saw that other people on here were having problems, I just wanted to post the steps with links that worked for me.

          Reply
  16. […] did this on purpose; it makes escaping the garden that much harder. Yes, there’s now a way to install apps via the web browser, but that was also designed to support the walled garden.  That loophole acts as a safety valve. […]

    Reply
  17. Martin27 November, 2011

    You “weren’t going to pay” a 2nd or a 1st time??? If nobody pays for anything, we won’t have any good games. Already everything is spiraling towards crap now that games cost $0.99 etc.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder27 November, 2011

      There are a lot of types of apps and games that can usually be found for free everywhere but but B&N. I didn’t create the pricing situation but I am pointing out that B&N is the exception to the rule. Also, no one is forced to release a game for free.

      Reply
  18. […] you recall the loophole that lets us install apps on the Nook Tablet?  According to one source, the NC was supposed to get this same loophole in the […]

    Reply
  19. Caroline19 December, 2011

    How might I delete the amazon appstore app or just an app I get from it, that I decide I don’t want anymore??? There is an app I tried to install, but it got stuck at the “reinstall” point and I don’t think it’s going to work. Can I get rid of it?
    However, it did work, and the important thing is that I got angry birds 🙂
    all I did was click the 3rd link on WETSU’s comment and changed settings.

    Reply
  20. […] ago I was all excited about the Nook Tablet and how there was a loophole in the code that let you install third party apps. Today B&N punctured that balloon with the latest Nook Tablet […]

    Reply
  21. Juan26 December, 2011

    Thanx for this thread! As a result I noodled around with my new Nook Tab and am now running multiple apps plus Launcher Pro as my default home. I installed Button Savior so I can toggle between Nook Home and Launcher Pro. I am also able to see all myapps without doing a search! My NT looks and feels like a fully rooted tablet wthout voiding my warranty. Thanx again for this great thread!

    Reply
  22. Robyn B9 February, 2012

    Since I can’t add apps to the newest Nook Tablet, do I have any other options to add Kindle?

    Reply
  23. Steve Nordquist20 February, 2012

    [email protected] seems a little obtuse for finding the app request/suggestion box, but it and the 800 number are there. No wait! Use the Thread, Luke!

    The general entry being

    What do you do on Amazon if you don’t want to start an affiliate store?

    Perhaps a look in the Barnes & Noble ‘archive and unarchive’ notes in the app developer side would alleviate the pain of seeing free apps for $3 (maybe Roxio will will let me shoot the second live-action Paranoia Agent movie based on the ‘moopy’ episode if they got a cut…) at the B&N store.
    https://nookdeveloper.barnesandnoble.com/
    onnook.org

    Reply
  24. Jon12 March, 2012

    I dislike how all of the apps cost soomuch on the nook tablet though i cant beileve that angry birds is at least 2.99… wayy to expensive on my ipad almost all versions are free or 3.99at MOST!

    Reply
  25. Jake2 December, 2012

    did B&N close the loophole on this being able to happen? I just found this page and I tried downloading the Alkido app and the Amazon App store and both of them said that it can’t be done and does not give me the option to allow open source apps.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder2 December, 2012

      They closed the loophole, yes.

      Reply
  26. Lauretta65 December, 2012

    Ok after reading all of the above… for us tech dumbos…your telling me that I can not get Kindle books on my Nook Tablet. Then how and where do I get the app to download library books on my nook tablet. The library was not very helpful. Dumb Right? Sorry just OLD and need plain language and not computer speak.

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder5 December, 2012

      There’s now an OverDrive app for the Nook Tablet which you can download from the Nook App Store.

      Reply
  27. tonyo13 December, 2012

    I need a way to download the amazon kindle app on the Nook please. Anyone?

    Reply
    1. buryoner25 December, 2012

      but u must root!

      Reply
  28. kodomo28 April, 2013

    Um will this completely change my nook? And will it mes sup my nook. Like could you change it back to normal ifyou dont want to have thethird party apps? Just wondering. Also is there a huge risk?

    Reply
    1. Nate Hoffelder28 April, 2013

      This trick is dependent on a loophole which B&N closed some time back. These instructions no longer work.

      Reply
  29. Works with HD/HD+ natively!21 May, 2013

    Hd/HD+ have Google Play now! So now you can add competitor apps. 🙂 I want to see how long it takes for people to realize this and watch the salses Kindle go down and the sales on Nooks go up. Hopefully no one gets mad and says this is unfair and cause B&N to remove this feature.

    Reply
  30. reyna isabel arredondo inzunza2 October, 2015

    como lo descargo el whatsapp en estas tableth

    Reply

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