Android 4.4 KitKat now available for Nook owners

For as little as $9.99, you can breathe new life into an old Nook tablet. Of course, there's always the free DIY option.

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
2 min read
N2A Cards

Is your Nook tablet feeling a little long in the tooth? Before you ditch it in favor of something newer, consider your upgrade options.

Specifically, your OS upgrade options. It may surprise you to learn that almost any Barnes & Noble Nook tablet can run the latest version of the Android operating system, 4.4 KitKat.

That's thanks to N2A Cards, which offers both downloadable and MicroSD versions of its plug-and-play Android deployment for Nook tablets. The company just announced the availability of KitKat for the Nook Color, Nook Tablet, Nook HD, and Nook HD+. (For the moment, competitors AndroidForNook and Root My Nook offer only 4.2 Jelly Bean.)

For those unfamiliar with it, N2A Cards provides a bootable microSD card (yours or theirs) containing Android. Barnes & Noble's tablets are fairly unique in their ability to dual-boot this way, meaning your Nook OS (and any books or media you've purchased) remains intact if you decide to switch back to it later on.

The instant-download version (which requires you to supply your own memory card) costs $19.99, while preloaded cards start at $29.99. If you're already an N2A customer, you can get the KitKat update for $9.99.

Of course, savvy users will rightly point out that it's possible to "roll your own" bootable Nook-to-Android card, your only cost being some time and the card itself. If you have the skills, more power to you.

Personally, I think $20 is a pretty cheap upgrade for a tablet that might otherwise feel a little old and worn out, especially given its plug-and-play simplicity. I've tested pretty much all of N2A Cards' products, and they all worked like a charm. Your thoughts?