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Cyanogenmod 7.1 on Nook Color

So… I’ve been using my Nook Color primarily as a PDF reader, using the stock Barnes & Noble OS… Rooted, of course, and with the Marked added, and so forth. Recently, it began feeling sluggish and a bit unpredictable, so I was contemplating just doing a complete wipe/factory restore and restore the original OS and then re-rooting it. Apparently, the process is now much smoother and the market installed by the manual nooter is apparently much more up-to-date than it was when I first rooted the device. That really appealed to me, since one of the things that had really begun bothering me was the limited number of apps available to me through the Market.

I’ve bought an Android replacement for my iPod Touch, a Samsung Galaxy S Wifi 4.0 (yes, the name sucks), and have gotten used to having the full-on, smooth Android experience, and a fully functional Market. So, casually browsing for ways to do a complete wipe/reset, I stumbled upon the Cyanogen mod. It’s basically Android 2.3, modded a bit for extra functionality. And the latest version for the Nook apparently enables the Bluetooth chip. I’ve been thinking about going all-out Android in the past, but I’ve always been hesitant to get rid of the last remnants of the Barnes & Noble stuff.

This time, I realized that I don’t really use that B&N stuff anyway. A limited Library function, an even more limited App store, a reader with the ability to decode Apple’s crazy DRM – and a book store I can’t even purchase stuff from since I’m in Sweden? Well, after giving it some thought I realized giving up these things for a fully-functional Market would be no great sacrifice. I use Aldiko to read E-books and RepliGo Reader to read PDF’s anyway, and I try my very best to stay the hell away from Adobe’s DRM.

So, Cyanogenmod 7.1 it was.These were my steps:

1) Downloaded the zip files from here. Put them on an SD card.

2) Since I already had Clockworkmod recovery installed (there are lots of guides that explain how to do this…), I just needed to boot into it. I enabled debugging on the Nook, connected it to my Ubuntu-powered PC, then used the command “adb reboot recovery” in a terminal window. This only works, of course, it you’ve got the android SDK up and running. Otherwise, you can apparently get the same result by getting 8 failed reboots…

3) Formatted the /system, /data and /cache partitions, and cleared the Dalvik cache.

4) Installed all three zip files from the SD card (cyanogenmod, gapps and the video gtalk).

There, all done!

And I must say, I’m impressed. I had a few snags in the beginning, with the tablet locking up during the initial registration process, but that was soon fixed with a few reboots. As soon as I was done, the tablet began downloading and installing all the software I have on my Galaxy Wifi… Which was kind of strange, but certainly welcome since it meant I didn’t have to hunt down those apps manually. There were a few that made little or no sense on the Nook Color (which lacks, for instance, a camera) but they were of course easily uninstalled.

The device actually feels brand-new. Snappy, modern, nice. The only problems I have now are hardware-related; the usb connector is behaving a bit wonky – but my Nook Color really feels like a fully-featured tablet now. Bluetooth, USB-mounting of both internal and external flash memory, a non-crippled Market.

All in all, I’m pretty satisfied with my decision.

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