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E-book reader: To root or not to root?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / January 6, 2012 7:46 AM PST
E-book reader: To root or not to root?

My wife has an e-book reader (Pandigital Novel) and I have been seeing
a lot of information about rooting it to an unlocked Android-enabled tablet.
A friend has a Barnes & Noble Nook and we have come to the same
question: what are the advantages and disadvantages of rooting? Are there
any risks and does it void the manufacturer warranty? Both the Novel
and the Nook have a fairly good set of native apps. Are there any
Android apps that would compel me to root? Thanks for your insight.

- Submitted by: Mark T.
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Root the reader
by kirrk2579 / January 6, 2012 10:11 AM PST

Definately upgrade/root your Pandigital Novel Reader. I bought one last year for my wife and although nice as it was I rooted it shortly after buying it. I used online mods from the web blogs. It worked fine and the android market etc was all there to be used. After Pandigital officialy released a droid firmware upgrade I did use that one and have since. Well worth the the effort and is easy to do. Go to the pandigital web site and follow links to the upgrade and just follow directions. Have fun!

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To Root or Not to Root: That Is the Question
by 293,692,076,921 / January 13, 2012 10:03 AM PST
In reply to: Root the reader

Whether or not you should root the device depends on what you are doing/plan on doing with it. If you either have software such as Titanium Backup and/or Root Explorer installed or you plan on installing them, then you must root the device. The only other advantage to rooting the device that I can think of (at at least, at the moment) is that that affords you the opportunity to change settings (most notably the ROM) as you see fit. I am not sure that the ROM can be changed on the device prior to it being rooted, however.

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question re following Pandig root advice on their website?
by jmmailin / January 15, 2012 2:58 AM PST
In reply to: Root the reader

I don't recall the errors/problems I experienced using the instructions on the Pandigital web site for the update, but something prompted me to call customer support - which took a long time to get through to - but was very courteous and helpful - who instructed me to NOT follow the instructions posted online and to follow the ones she would email to me. They were distinctly different though no complicated - and the update worked flawlessly for me with those alternative instructions. I take it you used them as-is? (I have the white 7" novo - which apparently differs in some respects other than color).

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Pandigital Novel White
by CrisMSSW / April 21, 2013 12:03 PM PDT

I am debating on rooting my pandigital novel white... I called customer service regarding the update who said that they couldn't help since pandigital went bankrupt. Do you still have the email on how to update? I have read that if you do the update then there is no need to root -- correct?
Thanks in advance for the help!

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Pandigital E-reader
by russ133 / January 6, 2012 10:11 AM PST

You didn't say which one that you have. My daughter just bought a 9 inch e-reader multi-media. She too couldn't get the android marked on it. So I went to a couple of stores and they said you couldn't get the market unless you root it somehow. Anyway, I checked youtube to find how to do this. I watched a video on how to do this. The big mistake that I made was the video didn't say that it was a 7 inch. I was " assuming " that it wouldn't make any difference. Long story short the firm ware update locked the unit up so now you can't even turn it on. I called Pandigital today to see if they could help me. They told me that it wouldn't be covered under warranty and that they said that the unit couldn't get the android marked but could get some apps from otherplaces that would work. Too late for me. Sad
So if you root it or put some kind of update on your machine, make sure that it is for " your " same model and size.

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Yes he did.
by ongep / January 13, 2012 9:59 AM PST
In reply to: Pandigital E-reader

Yes he did, Pandigital Novel.

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PanDigital Novel Black running Android 2.1(Eclair)
by thegoodideaman / January 13, 2012 2:07 PM PST
In reply to: Pandigital E-reader
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E-book reader: To root or not to root?
by corkypad / January 6, 2012 11:20 AM PST

Hi Mark,

If your friend's Barnes & Noble Nook is the "Nook Color" model then rooting it would only have advantages with no disadvantage that I can think of.... I bought a factory refurbished Nook Color for $119.00 about a month ago after reading several columns written by Rick Broida (The Cheapskate) and am very satisfied with its rooted performance.

The manufacturer's warranty will not be voided because Android Gingerbread and Honeycomb will be loaded via a micro SD card. If you remove the card, it will boot to the original Nook OS. I am on "Triple Boot" which means I have the option of booting to the original Nook OS, Gingerbread or Honeycomb.

You have several options of doing it:

A. Buy an 8, 16, or 32 GB bootable micro SD card pre-loaded with Android 2.3X Gingerbread or CyanogenMod 7.1.0. These cards cost between $30.00 to $80.00;Hope this helps.

B. This will cost you between $6.00 to $10.00 and you can find them on eBay - you will be paying for the convenience of having the instructions and links to downloads sites emailed to you;

C. Free - do your own research and have fun learning more about how Android works.

Please note that you can now find pre-loaded cards for less than $30.00 when I checked a few moments ago....

If you want some more clarity on A, B, & C above - "Google" How to Root a Nook Color....

Hope this helps.


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Don't Root, use SD card on Nook Color
by rmazzeo / January 6, 2012 12:32 PM PST

I know nothing about the Pandigital, but I do have a Nook Color. I read all about rooting & it made me salivate, being a techie & all. In the end, I decided to do CM7 on a Micro SD card for my Nook, rather than root it. I set up Android Gingerbread 2.3 on the SD card with my PC, placed it in the Nook SD slot, & now I have an eReader/tablet! I leave the card in, because you have the option to just turn it on & boot into Android, or press a key as it starts & boot into the Nook interface - best of both worlds.
With the choices in tablets these days, I just felt that the Nook Color (which I got for $139, refurb) was the best way to purchase both - an eReader that could boot into a real tablet if I felt like it. So far, I'm really happy. My wife has the Amazon Kindle Fire tablet, & she complains that it's slow, but I have no complaints with the Nook. It boots reasonably quickly, runs apps just fine (I have all kinds of FREE apps on it - weather, news, facebook, both the nook & amazon reader apps, browsers, etc.) & it is pretty snappy on the internet. No complaints here.
Bottom line is, the Pandigital is not the best one to root (the white one is the best to own, based on what I've read), so unless you are technically astute, you probably shouldn't try it on this one. If, however, you like to dabble & are going to buy an eReader anyway, go with the Nook Color. Find the best price you can (refurbs work just fine), buy a SanDisk 8Gb Micro SD card (it seems the unit is picky about the type of SD card it will work with, everything I've read & personal experience points to the SanDisk), search for CM7 for Nook Color, & start playing. At this point you already have a really good eReader, & if you screw up the first time on the SD card (like I did, & I've been doing tech for 18 years!), you just have to redo it on the card until it works (took me 2 tries all told) - meanwhile, your Nook is still fully functional as an eReader, its warranty is good, & once you get it working as an Android tablet, you can play to your heart's content without worry of bricking the reader itself!
Hope this helps...

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(NT) How di I get a CM7 for my Nook Color?
by OldNole1972 / January 13, 2012 10:35 AM PST
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How to get Cyanogen 7 mod for the original Color Nook
by Filbert60 / January 14, 2012 5:00 AM PST

I rooted my Color Nook using the N2A card with the mod already installed. You can purchase the card from Amazon. Once you receive the card, per the instructions, shut the Nook off, remove any micro SD card that you may have already in place. Insert the N2A card into the SD card slot on the back next to the corner loop, turn on the Nook and follow the set up procedure instructions to boot to the Mod. If you need warranty service on your Nook, just turn the Nook off and remove the N2A card to return the Nook to its original setup.

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Generally a Class4 SanDisk Card is what you want.
by NinjaDogg / January 13, 2012 12:05 PM PST

Generally a Class4 (Yes, Class FOUR) SanDisk (specifically) is a good card to use for running the Android OS from a memory card.

You'll want to run a free benchmark program called CrystalDiskMark to test the 4k RANDOM WRITE speed of the card you end up getting. You'll want speeds of 1.0M/s or greater. Otherwise, the operating system just won't run well, and you'll complain of either slowness or errors. Don't rely just on the class rating, that's just for writing files in order, which doesn't happen when using an OS.

I highly suggest running the benchmark because I bought a 32GB SanDisk Class4, but it has VERY BAD 4k Random Write speeds, which caused all the errors I was experiencing running Android from the SD Card on my Nook Color.

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I wanna do this! Help me find a preloaded card.....
by cmcann / January 14, 2012 1:45 AM PST

How do I find a preloaded card with the Android 2.3X Gingerbread or CyanogenMod 7.1.0. I would prefer not to purchase on do I know it's trustworthy? Also, I have a Mac, so would probably be working though that....I get the impression that it really isn't rooting if you use a SDCard? I am ssooooo new to this so please I apologize for the blips and bloopers I make!

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You can create...
by a583620 / January 14, 2012 3:22 AM PST
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Purchase an N2A card from Amazon
by Filbert60 / January 14, 2012 5:05 AM PST

To cmcann,

You can purchase a preloaded N2A card with the Cyanogen Mod from Amazon. I used one on my original Color Nook (not the new Nook tablet) and it works great!

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Agree-another non-rooted, Cyanogenmod 7 Nook Color here
by wistlo / January 14, 2012 7:07 AM PST

I got my mother-in-law a Nook from me for Christmas. She powered it up, looked at the friendly wake up software, and then she opened another present - a dime-sized SD card that I had preconfigured with CM7.

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I installed the N2A card
by gibson_girl_77859 / January 15, 2012 11:15 AM PST

I installed the N2A card in my Nook Color and I think I followed all the steps correctly including logging on to Android etc. I turned my Nook Color off and now it will not turn back on. I removed the card but still no luck in coming back on. The Nook is completely charged. Any ideas to get it started would be appreciated.

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Try this
by liam1306 / January 16, 2012 5:20 AM PST

Hold the power button and the + volume button down at the same time.

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root nook color
by keeferj / January 20, 2012 12:31 PM PST

How to I find the gingerbread 2.3 ? What site?

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It's not "rooting" if you use an SD card...
by rmazzeo / January 6, 2012 12:39 PM PST

Just so you're aware, the term "rooting" refers to actually modifying the eMMC on the NC, which will void the warranty on the NC unless you can recover it - there are various tutorials on recovering a "bricked" Nook as well. If you are using the Micro SD card method, you are not "rooting" the device. I explained the same thing to the writer before I read your post.
I recommend that he not "root" the NC if he chooses that model, which, in my humble estimation, is the best choice for having both an eReader/tablet in one cost-effective device. I think that he should use the SD card method, which is easier, safer & works just fine in my experience.

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the term "rooting" refers to actually modifying the eMMC
by sea.bass / January 6, 2012 7:19 PM PST

I found this thread whilst trying to find out what rooting meant. i think I have got the gist of it now, and that what is described tells one how to turn a cheap e-book device into a much more powerful tablet.

The advice "Just so you're aware, the term "rooting" refers to actually modifying the eMMC" (eMMC???) did however remind me of the famous TV commentary on a snooker match: "And he is now aiming to pot the green ball, which for those of you without a colour television is the ball behind the pink ball"

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A good analogy
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / January 6, 2012 7:47 PM PST

And I remember that TV commentary, although whether I remember the original or a playback later I can't be sure!

I'm still not sure what 'Rooting' means. I haven't seen a definition in this thread yet, but will be checking back.

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A definition of rooting (and eMMC)
by sea.bass / January 6, 2012 9:23 PM PST
In reply to: A good analogy

A kind of definition of rooting is given on but it helps if you know what it is before you read it

And of course I could have looked up eMMC on wiki. Apparently is not for full-sized snooker tables:

<i>eMMC describes an architecture consisting of
an embedded storage solution with MMC interface, flash memory and
controller, all in a small ball grid array (BGA)</i>

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Sorry about the tech-speak...
by rmazzeo / January 13, 2012 9:40 AM PST

The "eMMC" is the Embedded Multimedia Card that the Nook Color boots up to - in other words, the brains of the unit other than the CPU. In my description, I forgot to lose the acronyms - sorry. But if you modify the internal card that the NC boots from, you effectively trash your warranty unless you can recover it to its working state before you modified it. But what I was actually trying to say was that it's much better for someone who is not too technical to use the SD card modification rather than mess with the internal hardware & possibly brick the unit. The CM7/SD card instructions are really easy to follow & there is nothing to lose. If you mess it up the first 10 times, your ereader is still in factory condition.

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It's not "rooting" if you use an SD card
by corkypad / January 7, 2012 3:47 AM PST

Hi rmazzeo,

I am fully aware what the term "rooting" means but I want to make my response as simple as possible in case Mark's friend wants to do it the easy way.

In my response to Mark's query here's what I wrote:

For option "A" & "B" there is really no actual
rooting involved. I know that by going via option "C", Mark's friend
would eventually encounter an article that would explain what "rooting"
really means.

I had used Rick Broida's, The Cheapskate on (see links below) as reference where he mentions that he prefers the micro SD card sold by "Root My Nook Color" which of course does not involve rooting in the strict sense of the word.

"Rick Broida, a technology writer for more than 20 years, is the author of more than a dozen books" writes as simply as possible and did not explain the specifics of "rooting" in the four links below because he knows that if a reader wants to know more he/she can always use Google.

I am sure Rick knows what "rooting" really means but for the sake of simplicity, here's an example of two consecutive paragraphs he wrote:

"Of course, half (or perhaps three-quarters) the fun of owning a Nook Color is transforming it into a full-bore
tablet, which you can do on your own or with an N2ACard or Root My Nook Color card. (They're both awesome, though I have to admit a preference for the $30 MIUI version of the latter, which gives your Nook an
iPad-style makeover.)"

opens the door to infinitely more apps, including Kindle and Kobo
(meaning you're no longer locked into reading books only from Barnes
& Noble). The $199 Kindle Fire, on the flip side, probably won't let
you run the Nook app."$119-shipped/?tag=mncol;txt$139-shipped/?tag=txt;title$149.99/?tag=txt;title$169-shipped/?tag=mncol;txt

Thank you for taking the time in explaining the true meaning of "rooting" to Marks friend.


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Yeah, I nitpick sometimes...
by rmazzeo / January 13, 2012 9:58 AM PST

...gets me in trouble with my wife once in a while!
Part of my business is to train end users on PC usage, & I hear so many incorrect terms, acronyms, trains of thought, etc., that I just get carried away once in a while - I wasn't trying to be snarky, just trying to bring a certain accuracy to term usage. I'll try to tone it down a bit...

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by djrobsd / January 7, 2012 5:22 AM PST

No matter what tablet you have, rooting it so you have access to other application stores and markets is a no brainer. It can be a little complex at first figuring out how to do it, but there are a lot of good videos and tutorials on Youtube. Make sure you follow the one EXACTLY for your tablet, they are not all the same, so if you have a Nook Tablet, don't follow the instructions for "Nook Color" because the "Nook Color" and "Nook Tablet" are two different devices.

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Dangers of having root
by ronsherman / January 13, 2012 9:54 AM PST

Just don't do a rm -fr from the root directory, with root. As I once did.

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rooting touchpad
by wallen1619 / January 13, 2012 11:57 AM PST

Yes do u have the instructions to do this. My sister can't find it to root mine & her touchpad.

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To root for the sake of rooting is not a good idea
by pllam / January 8, 2012 9:01 PM PST

I purchased a Novel after reading the reviews and blogs about rooting. My intention was to root the device, however Pandigital upgraded the software just prior to my purchase and I decided there was no need to root it since it now does everything I wanted it to do. As for the nook, my wife has one and you can root that device using the removable memory chip leaving the original OS in place. I take the chip out and it's a Nook, put the chip in and it's rooted. Once I completed the process I discovered all the fun was gone.

The moral of the story is, if you simply need to have something that rooting will let you do fine, but I found it's a few hours of work (rooting plus fooling about) that in the long run got me nothing in return.

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