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Nook Tablet Rooted, Android Market Installed

Last week I reported that the Nook Tablet had DRM built into the bootloader which was going to make it hard to hack. That’s still true, but it hasn’t stopped anyone from hacking the tablet.

A new hack was posted over at XDA Forums today. One hacker has figured out how to temporarily gain root access and install Android Market. It’s not a permanent solution, unfortunately; it doesn’t solve the problem of the locked bootloader and if you reboot the Nook Tablet you’ll need to do it all over again. But it’s a start.

Update: The root is now permanent. I’m going to wipe the rest of the post and start from scratch.

There’s a fair amount of work involved, and it’s far more than I usually bother with. To be honest, I never install a hack unless and until it takes a minimum of effort. There are simply too many gadgets in the world and life is too short to spend too much time hacking any single device.

And now it’s easy enough for me to do it. It’s down to just a few steps. Following the instructions here, you need to download the Zip file and the APK install file.

Unfortunately for me, I’ve already returned my Nook Tablet. So instead I have to post the following video:

While this is a great first step, it still won’t get around the fact that the is locked down by a signed bootloader. It’s still going to take a fair amount more work before we can see a hacked firmware. Also, I fully expect B&N to break this hack with the next firmware update for the Nook Tablet. remember, it’s their tablet, not yours.

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cookie November 20, 2011 um 2:41 pm

Why would anyone bother rooting a tablet if it is going to disappear upon reboot? (Rhetorical)

So, the Kindle Fire did not have a locked bootloader?

burger flipper November 20, 2011 um 3:49 pm

kindle fire bootloader is not locked.

cookie November 20, 2011 um 4:11 pm

Can’t say I am surprise. If I root the Kindle Fire, I still am likely to buy media content from the Amazon. If I root the Nook Tablet, I probably won’t buy media content from Barnes and Noble.

Logan Kennelly November 20, 2011 um 7:59 pm

Well, it looks like a rooted Kindle Fire won’t allow you access to at least some of Amazon content (although there are always ways around that).

I have to ask, though: what reason would you have for not wanting to buy from Barnes & Noble?

I know everybody has their own reasons, but B&N books, at least, have a more customer-friendly DRM in a better format.

cookie November 20, 2011 um 8:59 pm

"what reason would you have for not wanting to buy from Barnes & Noble?"

1. I already own an E-ink Reader from and sort of locked into their store.
2. account which I use to receive my instapaper content each day automatically. Not available with Barnes and Noble products
3. $2 a month NY Time headline newspaper "blog" subscription not available from Barnes and Noble.
4. My experience is the ebook content is priced equal or below Barnes and Noble.
5. Already an shopper for physical goods , so convenient to shop in Kindle newstand as well.
6. For now, better foreign dictionary support with Kindles (at least e-ink)
7. Nice being able to store personal documents in’s cloud. Can’t with Barnes and Noble.

I would think the issue you pointed out with the Kindle will be resolved.

P.P.S. I probably won’t buy a Kindle Fire since it doesn’t have enough features for my tastes. I want to be able to do at least video chats with any tablet I buy, so at least a front-facing camera and a microphone.

fjtorres November 21, 2011 um 6:05 am

I’m getting the impression that Nook Tablet was originally intended to replace, not supplement, NookColor and that it’s "Tablet-ness" is, like its "Cloud" sheer PR hype.
Philosophically its a locked, walled-garden ereader-plus, rather than the open android tablet they want people to believe it is.
Which is counterproductive: its not a bad product…as long as you understand it is *not* designed for open tablet use. Like Fire, it is designed to sell you content.
Fire just has more content to sell…

At this point I don’t think it matters all that much if it gets rooted or hacked or whatever because it is clear B&N is committed to closing any and all loopholes that can be used to open it up.

Either use it as shipped or look for something else.
(Ditto for Fire.)
Unless you actively enjoy fighting with your toys. 😉

Nate Hoffelder November 21, 2011 um 7:04 am

That’s what it feels like to me. It’s not quite as locked down but it is the same small walled garden.

cookie November 21, 2011 um 3:11 pm

"At this point I don’t think it matters all that much if it gets rooted or hacked or whatever because it is clear B&N is committed to closing any and all loopholes that can be used to open it up."

But if it gets rooted and a ROM gets created for it, then B&N can’t do anything to close the loopholes. It will be a retooled generic Android tablet at that point.

fjtorres November 21, 2011 um 8:35 pm

An expensive retooled generic tablet.
Hobbyists might go for it but the general public isn’t going to care about alternate ROMs.
The whole point of iPad and Fire is that the hardware is secondary to the user experience; their value to buyers lies in what Apple and Amazon bring to the table to *add* value.
What reflashing Nooks says is that B&N is bringing *negative* value to their hardware.
Again, why bother?

Geert Meijer November 21, 2011 um 7:03 am

Both the Nook Tablet and the Kindle Fire are a locked, walled-garden ereader-plus.
B&N has never said the Nook Tablet would be an open Android tablet.
I do not understand why some people seem to think that B&N has some kind of obligation to supply them with an easy to root tablet.
B&N is this business to sell their content, just like Amazon, and both readers are aimed at making buying that content as easy as possible.

Nate Hoffelder November 21, 2011 um 7:53 am

The Kindle Fire is not nearly as locked down as the NT. I’d ay that the KF is as open as most budget tablets (but with better specs).

fjtorres November 21, 2011 um 8:40 pm

B&N said at launch that the NT *would* be more open than Fire.
It clearly isn’t.
Amazon on the other hand said they expected Fire to get rooted and that they weren’t going to help it but they werenn’t going to waste time and effort trying to block it.
It all comes down to whether you believe side-loading arbitrary (compatible) android apps adds value to the walled garden.
Amazon does.
B&N clearly doesn’t and just as clearly they intend to fight it every step of the way. They’re entitled to do this.
Just as we are entitled to call them on it.

"You pays your money and you takes your chances."

Peter November 22, 2011 um 12:24 pm

"open" has many meanings.

In context, Barnes and Noble was referring to being more "open" from the perspective of third party developers such as Netflix and Hulu, since they would not be competing with them, they let the developer choose their own price, and they are willing to actually integrate third party services into the device. This should help them build out the "official" ecosystem.

It’s actually the opposite of "open" from the consumer perspective in this case. Allowing customers root the device or side load content simply gives developers a reason to not care if they are in the official market or not.

Plus, BKS is already addressing the rooter market with the "refurb" nook colors- whatever they’re selling for now.

Ubuntu Now Running on the Nook Tablet – The Digital Reader December 22, 2011 um 7:31 pm

[…] not a whole lot has happened it after that first few weeks. It got rooted fairly quickly, with a full Android market coming soon after. And we discovered that you can install apps, but a few days ago B&N took that away. Well, […]

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