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Nook Color Is Now a $250 Honeycomb Tablet 105

Posted by timothy
from the sorry-son-no-warranty-past-this-point dept.
Barnes & Noble markets the Nook Color as an e-reader with tablet functionality handily built in, but that designation undersells it a bit — it's just as easy to see it as an Android tablet with a 7" multitouch display and a Cortex A8 processor that happens to have strong book-reading features. Compared to the current big name in 7" Android tablets, Samsung's Galaxy Tab, it's quite underspec'd (no camera or GPS receiver, Wi-Fi but no 3G), but it also costs only $250. A few days ago, Android hackers managed to put Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) onto the Color, though in a mostly crippled state. Now Liliputing points out that they've enabled hardware acceleration, too. Pretty neat that one of the cheapest capacitive-screen tablets you can get handles an operating system that a few weeks back was expected to require heavier iron. As comments at Engadget point out, it's not the very smoothest performance, but this is an early build by enthusiasts, and doesn't look too shabby. The developer's announcement of the port points out that this is a work in progress: "What is not working... pretty much everything else, no accelerometer, no wlan, no sound. Haven't started working on those things yet."
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Nook Color Is Now a $250 Honeycomb Tablet

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  • by Speare (84249) on Sunday January 30, 2011 @12:38PM (#35049248) Homepage Journal

    I have no interest in paying separate 3G fees or contracts, and I already have an Android phone. So I thought the NOOKcolor would be a great way of playing some games and reading some free e-books on long airplane flights.

    I bought one, and within an hour had it rooted, replaced the sucky built-in "Home" activity with LauncherPro [appbrain.com], replaced the sucky built-in soft keyboard with Smart Keyboard Pro [appbrain.com], and re-mapped the hardware volume buttons into the missing hardware MENU and BACK buttons. (You can do the last part with a "Soft Keys" service, but I prefer the hardware keys.) It plays Angry Birds and even X Plane 9 Mobile very well. The orientation sensor seems to be a bit weaker, tipping acts more like a 20-sided die vs a sphere.

    In fact, since I have very little interest in paying the same price for electronic books that cannot be copied, shared, or transferred like real books, I have been returning to the classics - authors that have enriched the public domain after their years of exclusivity. I find the free FBReader [appbrain.com] to have a better interface than the built-in Barnes and Noble book reading interface.

    Many other games have not yet fixed their assumptions about maximum screen pixel dimensions, so they have hit-testing or background art scaling problems. Those will get fixed over time. Some apps or games like Alchemy Classic [appbrain.com] work better with more real estate, and some apps or games like my own Qwiz - Hiragana [appbrain.com] make use of the bigger screen with larger print or graphic elements.

  • by Dr. Crash (237179) on Sunday January 30, 2011 @12:51PM (#35049320)

    I've played extensively with a Nook Color.... and dispite a luscious color screen, it's none too speedy even doing what it's supposed to be doing, being a bookreader. Pages stutter as they cross the page; the update rate is not only well below 10 Hz but it's also irregular.

    I can only fear what it might be like running something "that should have more CPU available".

    That said, for $250, who cares? :)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 30, 2011 @01:38PM (#35049490)

    Another problem I'm finding with ebooks (purchased through Amazon) is that in several cases they're nothing but bad OCR jobs. It pisses me off no end to pay 9 bucks for an ebook only to find words hyphenated in the middle of a line, number '1' instead of 'I', and even strange special characters being substituted for letters. When publishers decide to actually put in some effort to get their product at least as correct as their print versions, then I might see the point of paying for them. I've got plenty of Project Gutenberg ebooks and even pirated ebooks from torrents that were more professionally and conscientiously produced. Simply having an intern run the book through a scanner (as has been obvious in some books) and not even bothering to correct the text does not justify charging a damn thing.

  • Re:So... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Miamicanes (730264) on Sunday January 30, 2011 @03:10PM (#35049946)

    Check eBay, it's littered with sub-600MHz Android tablets with barely enough flash to hold 1.6, barely enough ram to boot, no Android Market, and likely to spend most of their lives as... digital picture frames, because most users aren't masochistic enough to suffer with them for more than a few days once the novelty wears off.

    Don't write them off, though. They might be useless as general-purpose Android devices, but they're cheap enough to use as single-purpose devices (home theater remotes, family photo albums, home automation controllers, interactive cookbooks, etc) whose ultimate use just happens to have not been carved in stone (etched in silicon?) at the factory.

    Nevertheless, if you really want a general-purpose Android tablet to play with NOW, don't touch ANYTHING that doesn't ship with 2.1 or better, have a 1GHz or faster CPU, enough battery life to actively use for 3-4 hours, and still have enough of a charge after laying ("off") on a table or sofa cushion for a day or two to use for 5-10 minutes before you HAVE to put it back on the charger. Try to find one that has 1280x800 or better resolution, because that's the magic point where you can almost read two O'Reilly-sized pages side by side from a pdf file. Not coincidentally, demanding better than 480x800 ALSO happens to weed out most of the tablets that are too slow/limited to be worth bothering with right now.

    Oh, and just to warn everyone... don't buy a Galaxy Tab unless you're absolutely delighted with it as it exists RIGHT NOW, because Samsung has already fucked millions of customers who made the mistake of buying a Captivate, Vibrant, Epic4G, Fascinate, or Mesmerize. Maybe it's Samsung's fault, maybe it's the carriers' fault, but either way, if you buy a Galaxy Tab, it's coming from Sprint, Verizon, AT&T, Verizon, or some regional carrier. If they don't even care enough about their millions of PHONE customers to upgrade them to Froyo and fix the goddamn dysfunctional GPS, does anyone really think they're going to pay more attention to a few hundred thousand tablet purchasers?

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