If this isn't the droid I'm looking for, which one is?
November 28, 2011 9:01 PM   Subscribe

Black Friday gave me a deal on a Nook Color that was too good to pass up. I'd like to dual boot Android on it using the SD slot and make it a functional tablet, but there's so many Android flavors out there... which one should I use?

As mentioned, I managed to pull in a brand new Nook Color on Black Friday for ridiculous-cheap, and while I would have probably preferred an iPad, I cannot afford one, so the price made my decision for me.

Primarily, I need it to read a ton of pdfs for school, and I understand RepliGo Reader for Android will even let me highlight and annotate them, which is what I want (what I really really want) but is, for some reason incredibly hard to do with most device software.

But the question is: which Android should I put on it? As a non-tech type person, I wanted to do it as easily as possible, preferably with the SD slot, and the N2A option seemed to be the easiest way, but from what I can gather, it's quite the premium on the price of the SD card, and it's running some form of Gingerbread (?) and casual asking around said should be looking for Honeycomb? but isn't there a FroYo and whatnot, and some past MeFi advice has said cyan-something... it's all a bit confusing.

No matter what I do, I don't want to void the warranty, but I think this tabletification is still a possibility. So I turn to the Hive Mind for advice. Is it worth it just to pay the extra dough for the commercially available easiness of N2A?

As always, my thanks in advance!
posted by indiebass to Technology (12 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I also have a Nook Color set up to dual boot, and I can't say enough good things about Cyanogen Mod. It's a remarkably solid ROM, and the installation is fairly easy.

I followed directions along the lines of this. It was relatively simple, and the only risk is that you're going to bork your SD card and have to reformat it. No warranty voiding, and if you want the standard Nook back, you just pop out the SD and you're back at the start.

I use my Nook almost exclusively as a tablet at this point, and it's fantastic--well worth the relatively minimal time investment to get it up and running.
posted by MeghanC at 9:33 PM on November 28, 2011

Cyanogenmod is great, posting from it now. Rooting is a waste of time as new ota updates will break your rooted nook. Afterwards you can install the nook app if you want Barnes and Noble content. Cyanogenmod will even find the hidden Bluetooth chip and let you use a headset to listen.
posted by benzenedream at 11:25 PM on November 28, 2011

Best answer: Froyo = Android 2.2
Gingerbread = Android 2.3, which CyanogenMod currently is (CM7)
Honeycomb = Android 3.0, specially for tablets but google never released the source so you can't install it on anything that didn't come with it.
Ice Cream Sandwich = Android 4.0. Brings the tablet specific bits from Honeycomb back into the fold and has had the source released. It's only just come out though. The next CynanogenMod will use this and be called CM9.

Install CM7 now and keep an eye out for CM9 in a few months.
posted by markr at 4:15 AM on November 29, 2011

Best answer: Nthing CyanogenMod 7, and eventually CM9 (CM8 was Honeycomb, see markr's explanation) which will be better for tablets. I have it installed on a microSD card in my NC and it's wonderful. It's full Android with the bonus that if I ever need to have a stock device--which in my case would be either for tech support or to sell it--I just turn it off and pop out the microSD.

Don't bother with pre-bought cards unless you and/or a trusted geek of your choice think you're not able to follow the directions MeghanC linked to. I should note that the versions of CM7 and Google Apps that are linked to there are out-of-date, and the latest can be found here. Also, stick with Sandisk microSD cards, there have been many many tests run on different cards from different companies, and the winner of both reads and writes has usually been Sandisk. I bought one of these based on recommendations from XDA to replace a Transcend, and it did end up being noticeably less laggy.
posted by zombieflanders at 5:07 AM on November 29, 2011

Response by poster: You guys are amazing! (as always)

I should probably come clean: I thought all those names for the Androids were, like, different forked versions, or something like that. And given that I have no experience at all with android, I should be able to pick it up pretty quickly (I hope!)?

As I may have mentioned, I am not a tech-y person, but I'm willing to give it a go with the instructions linked to here. The worst outcome would be I'd have a new microSD card to use just as a regular card.

One final question: zombieflanders links to a 16 Gb card... would I lose anything by jumping up to a 32 Gb of the same kind? Or am I incorrect in assuming that bigger is always better?
posted by indiebass at 6:04 AM on November 29, 2011

Bigger is fine, but try to keep it as fast as possible. Linked was a class 4, I'd get at least a class 6, or even a 10.

Honestly, I recommend just flashing CM7 to the internal memory. It's not terribly difficult, it will run MUCH faster, and personally, I had no use at all for the stock OS. You can always restore the stock software later if you wish.
posted by utsutsu at 6:56 AM on November 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

I should probably come clean: I thought all those names for the Androids were, like, different forked versions, or something like that.

I suppose it is not completely obvious, but many open source packages such as Android and Ubuntu use names like this for release versions. Notice the first letters of Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, and Ice Cream Sandwich are sequential. Of course, Honeycomb breaks what one would expect in regards to upgrades, since it is tablet-only.
posted by mysterpigg at 7:43 AM on November 29, 2011

Best answer: Follow zombieflanders advice on the card, not "faster" in class rating. There is a very specific type of block write / read speed that affects the system performance for running CM7 on the NC. I use a 32 GB Sandisk Class 4 card that doesn't have quite the speed test ratings as some of the other cards people recommend, but it runs just fine. Do not get a Class 6 or Class 10, unless someone with experience on XDA Forums has specifically recommended it. Unfortunately the cards can also be affected by different manufacturing processes, but the Sandisk Class 4 is a fairly safe bet.

Running CM7 on two NC's, one for me and one for my wife. Love it, and get more use out of it every day. As the nightlies improve, more things keep opening up also - no more Market issues, I can install HBO Go and Netflix without messy workarounds. I wanted to run on microSD instead of on the internal memory for warranty purposes, which was a good idea. Had one power button flake out on a refurbished model after a month. Popped the card out, and was replaced without question.
posted by shinynewnick at 8:40 AM on November 29, 2011

On e additional advantage of dual-booting -- the native book reader does a better job with the Nook Color screen than any of the third-party readers or the downloadable Nook reader for Android. I boot without the Cyanogen card if I am just going to be reading.
posted by rtimmel at 12:17 PM on November 29, 2011

Response by poster: Mysterpigg: aaahhhhh.... it make sense, once you point it out. =) Thank you!

Shinynewnick: I think I remember reading somewhere that the lower class microSDs were preferable to the faster classes. As things look now, I'll most likely purchase a 32 Gb Sandisk Class 4, because it seems to work for most folks AND because I've never once in my life said: "Oh, I wish this device had less memory!"

Other question, then... if there are updates to the CM7 Android, can I update them within the tablet environment (over, say, wi-fi)? or would I need to download the update to the SD card on my computer and pop it back in?
posted by indiebass at 12:20 PM on November 29, 2011

I'm not sure on updating within the tablet. For myself, I pull the card and put on a new nightly about once a month, installed on top of existing. 10 minutes and relatively painless. Other random advice is to install the Amazon App Store, the free app of the day is occasionally worthwhile. Typing this on my CM7 Nook Color, split tablet keyboard helps as well.
posted by shinynewnick at 9:09 PM on December 4, 2011

I believe you can do updates over wifi with ClockworkMod, but from what I've read it can be more bother than it's worth installing and using CWM. The method I used just involves downloading a ZIP file of CM7 (either official updates or nightly beta-type files), copying it to the SD card, putting it back in the Nook, and rebooting it via an alternate (but simple) boot method. It updates all the core OS files, leaves most if not all of my settings and apps untouched, and leaves my breath minty fresh.

Well, two outta three ain't bad.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:36 PM on December 6, 2011

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