December 16, 2009, 11:47 PM — It was just Monday that we reported that Android hackers rooted the Barnes & Noble Nook for the first time, and already we're seeing apps show up. I suggested the first thing we'd see was a browser, but it turns out I was wrong. The first app (that I've heard of, at least) is Pandora, the popular and rather awesome streaming music site that just announced that it passed 40 million registered users this month. [Update: Though a browser apparently wasn't far behind.]
So on the face of it, this is great news. Nothing like a bit of relaxing background music to accompany your reading, right? But there's a fly in the ointment here. A post at Gizmodo implies that the Pandora app works not over Wifi, but via the AT&T 3G connection that lets you buy a book on the Nook anytime, anywhere. Suffice to say that streaming music is going to use a lot more bandwidth than buying a book, and AT&T isn't going to be pleased. They'll no doubt lean heavily on Barnes & Noble to make the Nook more hack-proof in order to conserve their bandwidth (understandably, I suppose).
Now there's lots of caveats to this story. First of all, it may just be flat out wrong. I can't find confirmation that Pandora is using 3G and I don't have a Nook to test with. [Update: Please check the comments. Someone identifying themselves as robbiet480 from nookDevs says that Gizmodo did in fact get it wrong. So for now this is more an intellectual exercise than a real problem.] Second, for now at least, rooting the Nook and running apps is still very much a geek experience; you have to void your warranty, crack open the casing of the Nook, and have a linux machine with a microSD reader just to do the rooting, and then you have to install and run apps from a command line [details here]. Not something the average Nook user is going to be doing. Third, Pandora over 3G (on normal Android devices) isn't as slick as Pandora over Wifi. Depending on your coverage, it can take a long time to start streaming when the app first starts or when changing channels. So presumably the ideal is to get the Pandora working over Wifi on the Nook, and that's how most people will use it.