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Rooting Your NOOKcolor with a Bootable microSD Card

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The original rooting method for the NOOKcolor required altering the NOOKcolor stock firmware. But now you can root your NOOKcolor without touching that firmware at all by creating a bootable microSD card. Patrick Kanouse, author of the bestselling The NOOK Book: Everything You Need to Know for the NOOK, NOOKcolor, and NOOKstudy, shows how this rooting method provides more flexibility and less worrying that you will somehow mess up the NOOKcolor.
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Barnes and Noble’s NOOKcolor was released on November 19, 2010. Within a couple of weeks, it had been rooted and adapted to becoming a tablet. The NOOKcolor uses Google’s Android operating system. Choosing Android makes business sense because it’s an open-source operating system, and B&N didn’t have to pay a small fortune to use it. However, the most exciting thing about Android for you is that it lets you easily root the NOOKcolor and add new features.

The idea of rooting your NOOKcolor may seem daunting or way too technical. However, I can assure you that rooting the NOOKcolor to get basic Android Market apps installed is super-easy, only requiring a bit of prep work and a few steps. This minimal effort (can be done inside a half-hour) is well worth the benefits, for you are turning your NOOKcolor into a tablet (albeit without a microphone or camera), with access to the Android market amongst other benefits.

An Introduction to Rooting Your NOOKcolor

B&N locked down Android on your NOOKcolor to prevent you from accessing some of Android’s capabilities. However, by following a process called rooting your NOOKcolor, you can open up these capabilities to make your NOOKcolor more powerful and useful.

Following are just a few of the things you can do after you root your NOOKcolor:

  • Add additional games.
  • Use alternative browsers, PDF readers, and media players.
  • Add calculator and note-taking apps.
  • Access the Android Market.

These are just a few examples of the power unleashed by rooting your NOOKcolor.

Before we go any further, I want to describe the various types of rooting available and the rooting method I will describe in this chapter. There are two types of rooting:

  • Internal Flash: In this rooting method, you alter the memory on the NOOKcolor itself. In other words, you alter the basic software on the NOOKcolor.
  • microSD: In this rooting method, you insert a microSD card in the NOOKcolor and when you power up, the NOOKcolor uses the microSD card to operate, thus leaving untouched the stock software on the NOOKcolor.

I am going to show you the microSD rooting method. I am doing this for a few reasons:

  • Leaving the basic NOOKcolor software intact: One of the pros about using a microSD card root is that you do not void your warranty with B&N, and the likelihood of “bricking” your NOOKcolor is nil.
  • Easy to swap between regular NOOKcolor software and your root: Want to read NOOKbooks using the stock NOOKcolor software? No problem. Power off. Remove the microSD card. Power on. You are now using the stock software. But wait, I want to go use Evernote that I got at the Android Market. No problem. Power off. Insert the microSD card. Power on. You are now running a rooted NOOKcolor.
  • B&N NOOKcolor software updates: Whenever B&N updates the software on the NOOKcolor, you can update. If you use an Internal Flash rooting method, you have to wait for the people who develop the rooting methods to update their files. Consequently, you often have to reset your NOOKcolor to factory settings. Using the microSD card means you never have to reset to factory settings to use features beyond the NOOKcolor.

The con of using the microSD card root is that the system can perform somewhat slower because it is running off the microSD card.

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