How to clean your LCD, root a Nook, load Linux on a netbook

Have some geeky fun and turn your e-book reader into an Android tablet

By Rick Broida, PC World |  Software, Barnes & Noble Nook, Linux

For example, not long ago I bought the Barnes & Noble Nook Color, a 7-inch e-reader that beat the upcoming Amazon Kindle Fire to market by a full year. Although it was pretty slick right out of the box, I wanted to test its acumen as a full-blown Android tablet. This is possible thanks to a process called rooting, which effectively means breaking into the operating system so you can mess around with it--or replace it. I did some research, and although rooting didn't seem that complicated, I did find it a little intimidating. The last thing I wanted to do was brick my Nook, to render it nonfunctional owing to some glitch or screw-up.

Thankfully, I found an easy alternative. A couple of enterprising developers have created special microSD cards especially for the Nook Color, cards that allow you to dual-boot the Nook OS and a specialized version of Android. In other words, you just pop one of these cards into the Nook's microSD slot, and presto: instant Android.

The real beauty of this is that it's a semi-permanent solution. If you don't want the Android environment any longer, just turn off the Nook, pop out the card, and reboot. Presto: You're back to the Nook OS. (Actually, you don't even have to take the card out, as you can choose the OS you want from a boot menu.) That means you're not voiding your warranty, unlike when you root the Nook.

I've tested a couple of these Nook Color cards, and they're both fantastic. The first, N2A, supplies CyanogenMod, a very popular Android ROM stocked with lots of great apps, including Amazon Kindle (so you're not locked into reading Barnes & Noble e-books), Angry Birds, and Words with Friends. Of course, you can always fire up Android Market and install more.

I also tried a card from Root My Nook Color, which offers a choice of three Android ROMs: CyanogenMod, MIUI, and PhireMod. Mine came with MIUI running an iPhone/iPad theme (one of many available), and dang if my Nook didn't look like a baby iPad. Really, really cool.

Prices start at around $35 for an 8GB card; both shops offer a 16GB version for around $50, and N2A sells a 32GB card for $90. Bear in mind this is something you can do yourself, using your own much, much cheaper microSD cards (Newegg, for example, has a couple 16GB cards for under $20)--but it's a hassle, especially if you don't know what you're doing. The pre-made Android cards offer plug-and-play simplicity--and the results are just plain awesome.

Want to Revive an Old Netbook? Try Lubuntu


Originally published on PC World |  Click here to read the original story.
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