Since 1997, you’ve been coming to BarnesandNoble.com to discuss everything from Stephen King to writing to Harry Potter. You’ve made our site more than a place to discover your next book: you’ve made it a community. But like all things internet, BN.com is growing and changing. We've said goodbye to our community message boards—but that doesn’t mean we won’t still be a place for adventurous readers to connect and discover.

Now, you can explore the most exciting new titles (and remember the classics) at the Barnes & Noble Book Blog. Check out conversations with authors like Jeff VanderMeer and Gary Shteyngart at the B&N Review, and browse write-ups of the best in literary fiction. Come to our Facebook page to weigh in on what it means to be a book nerd. Browse digital deals on the NOOK blog, tweet about books with us,or self-publish your latest novella with NOOK Press. And for those of you looking for support for your NOOK, the NOOK Support Forums will still be here.

We will continue to provide you with books that make you turn pages well past midnight, discover new worlds, and reunite with old friends. And we hope that you’ll continue to tell us how you’re doing, what you’re reading, and what books mean to you.

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Inspired Contributor
withfeeling
Posts: 756
Registered: ‎11-16-2010
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Re: Is it an eReader or is it a Tablet?

Yes. It's amazing what you can do with a weakly powered USB host, a Y-cable, and a battery-powered USB charger.:smileyvery-happy:

 

At the moment, B&N owns the high-quality screen market for a reasonably priced, reasonable weight tablet with no contract. For how long, who knows.

Mark_OB1
Posts: 1,580
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Re: Is it an eReader or is it a Tablet?

 


chelle_belle wrote:

In regards to BN supporting third party apps...why is this a Concern?? Nobody, or close to it, Does! Call Microsoft and see what happens or having wireless internet issues? AT&T will tell you to unplug that router you bought that was not issued/approved by them ETC!

 

That is correct.  However by providing their curated B&N App Store, they achieve two things: a) each app has a vendor who has taken the time to test and tweak it for quality use on the NC platform, and b) they have someone responsible they can point users to if a problem arises.  The third thing being, of course, that B&N would have checked it out first, and made sure there were no obvious problems.

 

Opening things up completely would no more obligate B&N to provide support for the apps, but it would mean that if a problem arose on the NC, and NC users were directed by B&N to the originator to complain, they could simply be told, "We don't support the NC".  That's a user experience I suspect B&N wants to avoid.

 

On another note: I am glad they are monitoring/approving apps that way I know it will, most likely, work as intended.
Agreed, and I think this will give the platform more credibility and fewer complaints.
Well if this comes out wonky, I apologize...I'm on the NC!
Actually, it came out great.  I'm sure I couldn't do as well on my NC.
- Mark

 

Wordsmith
melouria
Posts: 413
Registered: ‎12-28-2010

Re: Is it an eReader or is it a Tablet?

This topic thread has been interesting to read.  For me, if I had wanted just an ereader I would have bought the classic Nook.  But knowing that I could, for just a little more money, have something more than a basic ereader, I opted for the Nookcolor.  

 

As far as B&N worrying about people not purchasing books because they are spending all their time playing with the other features, I personally have purchased more books since having the NC than ever before.  I have read less, of course, because I am surfing the web (reading these Boards for hints & tips/info), playing crossword puzzles and watching movies, but I am building my libary with books that I look forward to reading.  

 

Now, if I just had a calendar, an app for taking notes, control over the images in the gallery, a better PDF reader, and a few more games...Solitaire, scrabble, word search, Angry Birds anyone ?...well, I would be a happy camper.  I am trying to be patient and wait for the upcoming update from B&N because I would prefer having apps that they have tested, approved, and support.  I really do not want to root it so I hope B&N doesn't force me! :smileyhappy:

 

Okay, I feel like I'm rambling now so I am out of here.

 

 

Mark_OB1
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Re: Is it an eReader or is it a Tablet?

mogulman wrote:

> The NC is a great eReader today.  No need to worry about adding tons of features... <

 

It depends on what it takes to be a "great eReader".  If all it requires is quality support of a single format, then with ePub, I think I would agree with you.  They've done a very nice job there.

 

However, if being a great eReader means that it should be able to do as well with other formats, then I'd have to say that the NC is (currently) NOT a great eReader.  It certainly has the potential to be, but everything other than ePub has a lot of room for improvement.

 

For example, from their ePub format, take away automatic bookmarking, that remembers where you left off reading in each book.  Take away the ability to add your own bookmarks.  Take away the ability to highlight, annotate, and search.  Take away the cover views.  Etc.  Now, how great an eReader is the NC?  :smileysad:

 

That's the situation we currently have with everything other than ePub, at the moment.

 

- Mark

 

Distinguished Bibliophile
deemure
Posts: 3,933
Registered: ‎12-28-2009

Re: Is it an eReader or is it a Tablet?

[ Edited ]

I think that as it is most people think of tablets and know they can get apps for reading ebooks on them, but...

The apps are not as fully functional as the native devices from the booksellers in question.  Or, they do not function in quite the same way.

 

The nook app as it is does not support enhanced content books, nor will it read NOOKcolor specific magazines, nor will it read the new brand of kid's books.  What the future holds, I do not know.

 

The other consideration when rolling out something like this doesn't have to do with what a company like BN must support tech wise.  We can debate that BN could disclaim any support for third party apps, but the real world works quite differently.  They have an open helpline to CS.  The average buyer of the nook and NOOKcolor is probably also about average in understanding technology.

 

BN straddles the line between the iPad almost fully closed system and the PC, fully open, you are on your own system.  Both have strengths and weaknesses.  One is all controlling and limits you, but can save you from making an irretrievable error.  The other won't keep you from making mistakes, but will allow you full customization.  Help is sporadic and often denied, because well, you are on your own.

 

The NOOKcolor if allowed to roam free would result in much higher CS call volumes and result in a change in the way CS now works.  This also would result in angrier customers who can't get help because they installed Bob's Program for Hacking Wall Street Computers for Fun on their NOOKcolor and the device is dead.  The customer would be angry if told the only thing they can do is re-flash their device, causing them to lose files they have saved to it.  You've read the posts and know some people can't even figure out how to turn it on-no offense, it is what it is.

 

Some things would be great to have, but as has been said any retailer must consider first the demographics of the audience they now have, and be prepared for the demographics that they may get.

"I still believe in spite of everything that people are good at heart." Anne Frank.
Distinguished Bibliophile
phoneboy
Posts: 1,904
Registered: ‎12-04-2010
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Re: Is it an eReader or is it a Tablet?


deemure wrote:

I think that as it is most people think of tablets and know they can get apps for reading ebooks on them, but...

The apps are not as fully functional as the native devices from the booksellers in question.  Or, they do not function in quite the same way.

 

The nook app as it is does not support enhanced content books, nor will it read NOOKcolor specific magazines, nor will it read the new brand of kid's books.  What the future holds, I do not know.

 

The other consideration when rolling out something like this doesn't have to do with what a company like BN must support tech wise.  We can debate that BN could disclaim any support for third party apps, but the real world works quite differently.  They have an open helpline to CS.  The average buyer of the nook and NOOKcolor is probably also about average in understanding technology.

 

BN straddles the line between the iPad almost fully closed system and the PC, fully open, you are on your own system.  Both have strengths and weaknesses.  One is all controlling and limits you, but can save you from making an irretrievable error.  The other won't keep you from making mistakes, but will allow you full customization.  Help is sporadic and often denied, because well, you are on your own.

 

The NOOKcolor if allowed to roam free would result in much higher CS call volumes and result in a change in the way CS now works.  This also would result in angrier customers who can't get help because they installed Bob's Program for Hacking Wall Street Computers for Fun on their NOOKcolor and the device is dead.  The customer would be angry if told the only thing they can do is re-flash their device, causing them to lose files they have saved to it.  You've read the posts and know some people can't even figure out how to turn it on-no offense, it is what it is.

 

Some things would be great to have, but as has been said any retailer must consider first the demographics of the audience they now have, and be prepared for the demographics that they may get.


Well said

 

I still want the Holodeck.  :smileyhappy:

Don 't interfere with somethin' that ain't bothering you none. ~Unknown
Inspired Wordsmith
yocalif
Posts: 817
Registered: ‎01-03-2011

Re: Is it an eReader or is it a Tablet?

It is unfortunate that many in this thread miss the obvious as posted by the OP.  I doubt very many of you still watch a Tube TV, most have either Plasma or LCD/LEDs.  How many would buy a cell phone that only allows you to manually dial a number, or would you go for a cell ph with contact directory, calculator, mp3, plus a dozen other features.  The OPs point is all technology continues to evolve, and right now tablets and personal connected gadgets are the hot items.  The fact is 1 year from now if you had to choose between a dedicated ereader that is limited to only reading, vs a tablet with exact same screen, reading ability/features, price, PLUS all the things a tablet promises, your are going to buy a tablet.  If you say otherwise you are being intellicually dishonest, very few choose lesser features/function, everyone wants to get more for their money.

 

The reason it is important for B&N to make the smart move, if a competing or multiple competing tablets arrive with same ereader capabilities + tablet function/features priced competitively with NC, buyers will choose the tablet, and as a result NOT be married to B&N for ebook purchasing.  In the end YOU LOSE because if sales falls off, then R&D both hardware and software for your Nookcolor units falls off too.  Who has ever bought a computer game and if the game was not a hit with huge sales, within 6 months game support and updates died.  I think B&N did not develop this product based on B&N's specs, they bought it just like you are buying it, paying contractors to provide the hardware, software, however support right now seems to be from B&N.

 

Excellent post OP...   I also wrote a similar conclusion here

intellectually
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deemure
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Re: Is it an eReader or is it a Tablet?

[ Edited ]

I don't think many are dismissing out of hand the tablet idea, but are saying that it all depends on use, an individual's use.  And it depends on the target audience.  BN has to have an infrastructure in place to fully support such a device if it becomes a full tablet.  And often the decision to offer such support comes as the use is more defined, demand is more obvious.

 

For many of us, cost and current devices owned are deciding factors.  I still have a large screen analog tv.  It still works.  It also weighs a lot.  I am not jumping into the HD tv market to replace this as yet.  We have a smaller HD tv in one of the bedrooms, but that's it.  I also want to see how 3d tv and all that shakes out.

 

I am writing this on an XP computer that I got for $85 after my other one bit the dust.  We have a Vista laptop and a Windows 7 one as well, but I do tend to go to this for a lot of things.  I'm not thinking of running out to get a tablet, because I have the functionality I need if not the awesomeness of the interface.

 

For many in the ereading crowd, there is a reticence to move even from e-ink to the NOOKcolor for various reasons-glare, eyestrain, and other such reasons.  It's about the reading more than the gimmickry or even real functionality of a tablet.  They also want to see if a color e-ink device will suit them more.

 

As for the NOOKcolor itself-the choice may be made based upon functions that exist for ereading apps.  The NOOKcolor and the iPad are the only ones at this time to embrace enhanced content.  Other tablets do not have native ereading (built in) functions, but must use apps.  BN is a bookseller with a segue to tech to read and thus sell, books.  Their core audience reads or attempts to.  Whatever the NOOKcolor morphs into may well happen in baby steps or giant leaps based upon what their reading audience wants and needs.

 

Others waiting on tablets may well move on, sure.  Tablets are tantalizing, interesting, maybe will be less expensive, get better screens, offer upgraded functions and not just glitzy, shiny, newness.  But, unless things greatly change, retailers such as BN decide to do the full tablet, it is not compelling for me as an ereader to have a device that does not consider my reading experience first, and values other tech aspects more.

 

By the way, I have an iPhone.  I actually long for the days when I owned a phone that would effortlessly make a call.  Sometimes you just want a phone to be a phone.

"I still believe in spite of everything that people are good at heart." Anne Frank.
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phoneboy
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Re: Is it an eReader or is it a Tablet?

My 2 cents: The Ereader market is growing. As it grows more and more computer illiterates(not a put down) will be looking to buy one. The added features of the Nook color are worth the extra $50 -$100 for this target audience.  Would a full open Tablet with the same quality  and price take a big piece of this market? Maybe. Depends on how it is promoted. If your looking for an Ereader then you will most likley not be exposed to alot of Tablet marketing. People that are not comfortable with tech will shy away from open market. As well they should.

 

Is B&Ns direction a mistake. depends on what they want to do in this market. as stated in a prv post. Open devices are going to have a whole lot more issues that cause the avg ereader consumer grief. Tech support would be in deeper than they are now. This site is just a small sample. Think what it would be if this were an open device.  JMHO

Don 't interfere with somethin' that ain't bothering you none. ~Unknown
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yocalif
Posts: 817
Registered: ‎01-03-2011

Re: Is it an eReader or is it a Tablet?

"deemure", I genuinely appreciate your point of view, I have read about a dozen of your posts they are always well thought out.  However I disagree with the notion that B&N is better off offering a specialized product for digital books or digital reading media.

 

It is fun to try and envision what might happen though..

 

Many are refering to the Kindle and e-ink like it is the standard for ereader.  Again just like the Nook and B&N, the Kindle and e-ink serve one purpose, to tie customers to Amazon for digital reading media.  E-ink is a gimmic, yeah it is an advanced screen technology making it easier on the eyes to read, and thus the ereader sounds appealing because many didn't want to read their favorite novel looking at a computer screen.  But look what is happening even Kindle owners are in the first wave of Nookcolor purchasers, they had no problem jumping from e-ink to a color LCD display that also was designed specifically for reading.  Thus B&N is the current winner in the ereader war with the best current color ereader technology.

 

Is it possible that the emerging ebook/ereader market is too new to actually say what the standard is?  Consider back in the 70s, there were about a half dozen computer companies making computers each with their own proprietary OS, including Apple.  That went on for a couple of years and then IBM decides to go after the desktop computer business, with an open architecture design and an OS "DOS" that allowed others to develop new applications.  The standard was set by IBM & Microsoft, the desktop computer became accessible to the masses, with lots of applications at an affordable price.  Adobe launches about the same time and introduces software for laser printers and was an early player in the Desktop Publishing revolution.  Did Adobe try to create its own OS for the PC or Apple?  No! The OS battles were over, two players were left Microsoft and Apple.  Adobe focused on developing the best desktop publishing applications offering the best features/function and best GUI.  Did it matter that the PC also played music, ran a spreadsheet, did word processing?

 

B&N can achieve everything they want by running as a app layer instead of tinkering with the Android OS.  In fact most of the Nookcolor functions are just an app layer.  That is why it is puzzling why B&N has crippled the Nookcolor.  I have thought it was mainly due to potential security issues, but it is just as likely that B&N sees another revenue stream by offering NC apps.  B&N's biggest challenge is how to make digital book / ereader converts out of the millions who currently don't own any kind of digital ereader.  That is where opening NC to allow owners to operate the NC as a tablet, still maintaining all the great ereader features and functions.  So insteading of paying $400 to $600 for another brands tablet, B&N's Nookcolor could be ready with full tablet capabilities PLUS the BEST ereader capabilities at a bargain price of $250.

 

To keep the ereader-digital book faithful happy, the Nookcolor could easily offer two booting modes, one auto loads Nookcolor as we use it today, the other mode would load up Android and allow the user to decide how he wants to use his android Nookcolor platform tailored to serve his needs.

 

The OP of this thread points out there is a shrinking window of opportunity, unless B&N sticks with what it does best and understands - books,  and leave the OS business to Google.  Otherwise B&N maybe staring at lost customers/sales due to sharp competitors tablets with faster cpus, full android capabilites and screens equal or better than the current NC.

 

My sis asked for recommendations recently on HDTVs, she had no plans of buying 3D.  However due to circumstance because Best Buy botched a potential sale the manager offered her a price with huge price reduction to compensate, for the highest rated 3D tv, which happends to also have the best rated 2D pic.  Sis didn't waste anytime saying yes.  Consumers always want more bang for their buck.  Back in the early 80s Honda put a huge dent in US auto sales, not only was the quality superior, but most of the options were included, all this at an affordable price.  Result Honda Accords was the car of the year 5 straight years.

 

B&N, has a winner, can they stay out in front?

 

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deemure
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Re: Is it an eReader or is it a Tablet?

 


yocalif wrote:

"deemure", I genuinely appreciate your point of view, I have read about a dozen of your posts they are always well thought out.  However I disagree with the notion that B&N is better off offering a specialized product for digital books or digital reading media.

 

 


 

 

It might have seemed like I meant that, but I didn't.  Really, I didn't.  Not so thought out as you might think, eh?:smileysurprised:

 

I just think that with the demographics of BN's average customer being more attuned to books than tech, but moving toward a fusion of both, BN is wise to guide them and wise not to bite off more than they can chew as well.

 

I've read a lot of threads, kindle and nook, saying e-ink is akin to the second coming.  Within the group are true believers as well as those that will not change, just because.

 

I do embrace new technology, but I want to be sure of a reason for it.  I wouldn't buy an iPad, just because for many of the same reasons I wouldn't resist change, just because.

 

To be completely honest and fair here, for a great many people e-ink fills all the need they envision they will have.  I see the pros and cons of both types of devices.

 

For others, the NOOKcolor fills a need in the same way, as well as a laptop does for other needs.

 

Since tablets that will come out soon will not be the polished, fully realized tools they could be, I do think what I currently own fills my needs.

 

If they do come out with one that can best combine a native ereading experience along with convenient size, great screen and graphics, full featured forms of useful programs like pdf readers, Office programs, and so on, then yes, I'd be hard-pressed not to consider it.

 

We don't know for a fact that BN has no plans to open up the NOOKcolor to make further use of what it really is now.

 

I know it may seem puzzling that the NC is crippled, but consider the "problems" real or imagined that people have now and BN must grow to deal with such things.

 

One example you give is IBM, but the advantages IBM had were that it already had staff in place to deal with a burgeoning customer base-they were more able to deal with inevitable questions, and IBMs were somewhat familiar to the initial customer base.  They had been using versions of them at work for a long time before the home units came out.  Of course they did move fairly quickly to adapt to their changing users.

 

I agree this is what BN needs to take hold of and may have to help shape actually.  Sometimes you deal with what the customer wants and sometimes you tell them what they will want.  Keep evolving, but don't forget to dance with the one that brung ya.  In a very real way that is what many American companies are doing lately.  They are ignoring those that made them what they are.  It's a tricky business.

 

BN will most likely be faced with this choice: bring the ereaders along for the ride and move at a pace comfortable for them or move to quickly and risk alienating them.  Consider the many aggrieved buyers of nooks that complained that BN had upgraded the nook right after they bought one when the NOOKcolor came out.  No amount of explanation could convince some that the NC was an altogether different device.  This is what they must deal with.

 

"I still believe in spite of everything that people are good at heart." Anne Frank.
Mark_OB1
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Re: Is it an eReader or is it a Tablet?

[ Edited ]

deemure commented:

We don't know for a fact that BN has no plans to open up the NOOKcolor to make further use of what it really is now.  I know it may seem puzzling that the NC is crippled, ... <

 

I wouldn't say crippled, rather temporarily impaired.  :smileywink:  We already do know, for a fact, that B&N does have plans to open up the NC, and make more capabilities and options available.  They've already committed to opening a B&N App Store, and while they're encouraging mostly apps that enhance the reading experience, they haven't indicated yet that they will be excluding other options.  So eventually there will be lots of additional functionality available.

 

However, their primary goal is to ensure a quality user experience, which means that providing a curated marketplace with apps that have been tested on the actual NC, and tweaked or polished to operate best there (when necessary) is their path to achieving that.  Rather than simply opening things up to everything in the wide-open Android space, which may work poorly (or not at all) on the NC, and with potentially 0 support.  It also means that if a B&N customer has a problem with one of those curated apps, B&N has somewhere reliable they can direct them for assistance.  Those thinking that somehow B&N will be providing tech support for all the apps in their store are misguided, because there's no way that would be possible.

 

Of course, the problem is that the store isn't here yet, and won't be for several more months.  During that interim period, things are certainly limited, and for some looking beyond ePub books, which are already well supported, they may feel crippled by those limitations.  While others may be perfectly happy with what they already have.

 

- Mark

 

Contributor
bnbcar
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎12-29-2010
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Re: Is it an eReader or is it a Tablet?

The e-Ink market is not going anywhere, but I do hope that e-Ink devices continue to get cheaper. If I could have a nook for under $100 for casual reading, along with my Nook Color, it would be great. e-Ink has a place now and it will still have a place in the future as long as the price of the technology continues to steadily drop.

 

An interesting thing about the B&N NC SDK is that, at least currently, it is almost completely made up of the vanilla Android 2.1 SDK as provided by Google. Of course it can't be utilized yet, but what it does mean is that we are running a mostly vanilla version of Android 2.1 (which also explains why rooting is so easy, Google hates blocking root).

 

I think the future of hybrid devices like the NC that are not used only for reading books and newspapers, where digital media (audio, video and pictures) has a greater focus is in more openness and less customizing. I think it would be awesome if the NC ran a vanilla build of Android that was updated by Google, but I don't think that will ever happen :smileyhappy:

Inspired Wordsmith
yocalif
Posts: 817
Registered: ‎01-03-2011

Re: Is it an eReader or is it a Tablet?

All good points.  Sometimes manufactures/developers don't know their own market, they design a product, it sells and they miss where the real sales for their product is, slow down production due to sales, and eventually are over taken by a competitor who fills the market gap missed by the original mfg/developer.  This happened with IBM, who lead the way with their open architecture desktop computer, however their focus was business PCs based on IBM previous history and products and corp culture.  Compaq came along and literally drove IBM out by selling the same product for less and offering more bang for buck, Compaq didn't survive the PC achieving huge sales at commodity level pricing.  IBM's business partner Microsoft didn't miss though, their OS was going to be on any IBM compatible PC no matter who made it and who bought it.

 

The good thing is that we are the winner.  When I first read about the Kindle, I thought that would be great, my wife is an avid reader.  However the lack of color, all those buttons, and being tied to Amazon, and the original pricing was not attractive enough to make a purchase.  The Nookcolor comes along with enough technology features and function, at an easy entry price point, it was a no brainer.  The wife loves it, I love it, further I want MORE.  More capabilities, filling the need of book reader, news reader, multiple media types viewer, web browser, email reader, personal organzier, music player, etc.   Of course I am attracted to tech gadgets that make sense.  I owned and used for a couple of years a "Cambridge Z88" , the first real laptop before the word laptop was even being used.  Later I carried the "Rex" organzier.  The price, size and potential functionality/features of an open Nookcolor Android platform is like a dream come true, for a gadget freak like myself.

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Mosier42
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Registered: ‎01-01-2010
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Re: Is it an eReader or is it a Tablet?

I don't exactly remember the phrasing but I believe B&N said more along the lines that they were going to offer apps that readers would be interested in. That's quite a bit different than apps that enhance reading. In fact, IMO if they were limiting the NC to a reading only device why would hey have even added video capability, why not cripple that as well. More than likely thy will launch a very limited app store that will not have all the bells and whistles, but I will be a bit surprised if they don't include media tablet like functions with it.
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Mosier42
Posts: 225
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Re: Is it an eReader or is it a Tablet?

In regards to Android 2.1 and the NC OS, I understand it he current NC UI is more like a loked in app within Android 2.1. I haven't rooted, so if someone can correct me please do, but I believe rooted NC essentially let's you boot 2.1 with the option of opening the NC UI when you want to.
Inspired Contributor
withfeeling
Posts: 756
Registered: ‎11-16-2010

Re: Is it an eReader or is it a Tablet?

Basically, an unrooted Nook Color is Android 2.1 with the B&N Library set as the default "Launcher". Also, the ability to install new applications has been disabled. Rooting the NC mostly just adds the ability to add new apps (which requires "root" access to the NC, hence the name "rooted").

 

One way to use a rooted NC is just to add more apps, which then show up in the Extras drawer. Those apps, of course, can do lots of other stuff.

 

Most of us with rooted Nooks have replaced the Library as default launcher with another, like Launcher Pro, or Zeam. That just add a little more flexibility to the interface, but not a lot of real additional function.

 

I'm simplifying a bit, but that's the basic story.