04
Mar
nook ripoff

I have a Nook Color and I have had loads of fun modding it. From basic rooting to Froyo, CM7, and Honeycomb, there are several options available now for those wanting to transform it from a tablet-esque eReader into a $250 entry level Android tablet. These operations range from simple to somewhat advanced, so I understand that some people are going to be a little intimidated by the prospect of hacking an expensive device. Naturally some might rather ask a more experienced tinkerer to do the job for them, and not risk messing something up. I get that. However, do I think paying upwards of $80 for an SD card that runs the port of the Honeycomb SDK preview is a wise decision? Wow - no way. That is exactly what is happening every day on eBay.

People have the right to buy or sell whatever they want (subject to their respective locales' laws), but the fact that people are paying this much for a pre-loaded SD card baffles me. See, the nice thing about the internet is that there are instructions for things like this that pretty much anyone with a few minutes of time and the ability to read can follow.

In fact, since I'm such a nice guy, I am going to lay out the instructions for those on PCs to make your very own Honeycomb-running SD card for the Nook right here and right now:

  1. Download nookhoney04.img.zip
  2. Unzip the image onto your computer using WinRAR
  3. Get an SD card, at least 4GB. Using an SD card reader, insert it into your computer.
  4. download WinImage, and under 'Disk' choose "Restore Virtual Image to Physical Drive." Choose your SD card reader's drive. Change the files shown at the bottom to "all files" and select the file.

You now have an SD card that will boot into Honeycomb on your Nook Color. You know, one of those $80 Honeycomb for NC SD cards.

Of course this four-step tutorial doesn't include Mac instructions or directions for installing the market and Google apps, but a quick search should give you what you need (at first glance I stumbled upon this site which seems to give solid instructions for all of this).

nook ripoff

If you want to get taken to the cleaners, who am I to stop you? Getting bamboozled is your right and I respect your decision to exercise that freedom. My only humble request is that you please research at least a little bit first to see if those four steps above are worth paying $80 to have somebody else do.

Thank you - we now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

Will Shanklin
Will's typical, run-of-the-mill story is that of 'classically-trained actor turned Android smartphone and tablet writer.' If you catch him quoting Shakespeare, it's not because he misses it, but because he desperately wants his Masters in drama to count towards something.

Sir William dwelleth in the fair haven
Chicago; with his fair maid'n Jess and his
trusty cur, Ziggy.
  • Simon Belmont

    Sadly, someone form a forum I belong to fell pray to this scam with his B&N Nook Color. He only paid $50, but still, a total rip off.

    Seriously, half the fun of owning an Android device, is the hacking, tweaking, and tinkering you can and SHOULD do. Why would I ever want to pay to let someone else do that for me?

  • K. Bouterse

    I feel your pain as a fellow Custom Rom enthusiast but don't hate on the ebay opportunist. For some people any type of system modification would be too much, including your modest 4 steps above.
    Obviously there is a market for these hassle free solutions, isheep are the proof of that.
    Do appreciate the heads up on scams this blog is spitting out all last week!

  • polo.79

    Yeah dude, don't hate on someone makin some money off this "smartphone world". if you're annoyed with it now, wait a couple years. The market for this will only get bigger.

    • Will Shanklin

      lol I'm not hating - simply asking those who are considering paying for this to ask if they can follow those four steps. If they can't, then by all means...

      • rudyy

        It might be some can follow your four steps, but would be completely lost if they messed it up. I would not pay $80, or $20, but would fear bricking a device I need. Thanks for the steps, though.

  • http://twitter.com/benmarvin Ben Marvin

    I would venture a guess that anyone that reads this blog probably isn't that stupid. And they're probably smart enough to know how to put Honeycomb on the Nook Color themselves.

    On the other hand, if you're smart enough to do it yourself, don't let your friends and family pay $80 for it. Instead offer to show them how to do it for $25. ;)

    • Jimmy Turc

      Ben I'd gladly pay you $25 to show me how to get Honeycomb and the Market on my Nook.

      • http://www.toysdiva.com PixelSlave

        If you are ok with flashing the internal memory, then use the eMMC zip. It will only take you 10 minutes, and it includes the Market app also.

        This is what you will get as a result:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HVSCuP2Zg20

        Once again, YES, the Market app is included. All you need to do after you boot into HC, is to supply your Wifi setting and your Google account.

        • Aristotle

          I think he is deliberately saying his Nook and not his Nook Color, which would be quite a trick indeed.

  • Steven

    I have a friend who buys me a steak dinner to run a virus scan and windows update (I do this on my own to make my job easier) for them.

    Some people just HATE this stuff and actively refuse to learn it.

  • http://www.toysdiva.com PixelSlave

    Personally, I wouldn't pay for it. However, I want to tell you all that, I've tried the SD approach. I actually spent over 100 dollars on multiple SD cards, some recommended by the great folks in the XDA forum, but NONE of them let me boot into Honeycomb on my Nook Color, and I spent over a week on trying to make it work. The procedure may be easy, but getting the right card seems to be related to your luck, not your skills.
    So, if someone disparately want to install HC into his Nook Color using SD ONLY, $80 may be worth it.
    ME, I ended up flashing the Internal Memory, which only took me 10 minutes (MAX) -- I should have done it the first time, which would save me from buying those SD cards and wasting me so much time.

    • http://blacktowersystems.com psywiped

      First format the card with the nook color then format it to fat32 with your computer for some reason the bootloader doesn't like the format the nook color uses.

  • http://dangerismymiddlename.com Paul Danger Kile

    This just illustrates how out of touch the manufacturers-and-carriers are. People expect to get OS upgrades for their computers and are willing to pay well for it. Calling these things phones and ereaders causes people to continuously accept the status quote. These are Linux workstations, and should be treated as such.

  • Rick Metaspherz

    Re: Paul Danger Kile
    Don't tell me to treat my Linuxdroid device as a workstation. To me it's a toy. The word 'work' should have nothing to do with it. If you assume that everyone should treat their toy as a workstation then you're the status quo (not 'quote' btw) that me and thousands of others are trying to avoid. I'm not interested in SDKs, hacking to prove I'm clever, or developing apps for fun and profit. I just want to use my NC to have fun reading, surfing the Interwebs and playing a few games.
    That's precisely what the majority buy this amazing toy for. Only a small minority actually use it for other than what it's intended: a cross between an e-reader and a tablet. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the Devs and hackers that want to improve the NC for the betterment of the masses. Most of them aren't browbeating me to join their ranks. They do it for fun, certainly. But the rest of us would rather not muck around with the rooting proceedures risking to brick our favorite new toy. While I want to explore the possibilities of Honeycomb or Froyo on my NC the SD card seems the best approach at this time. Maybe later I'll explore the other possibilities but bullying me into 'work' isn't the way to win my support or legions of fans.

  • http://dangerismymiddlename.com Paul Danger Kile

    Rick, New versions of the OS benefit everyone. Here's an example: there is a dangerous trojan-malware thing out there now that allows the author to steal your private information. You can get protected if you get an upgrade. Even as a casual user this is important: even if you don't care to know the gory details.

    Some carriers expect you to get your upgrade when you buy a new phone aut contract renewal time. That was OK when phones were phones, but these aren't.

    Imagine if we purchased one of those laptops with a 3G modem at Verizon, and they made it so that the only we could upgrade Windows is to wait a couple of years and buy a new laptop. That's what they are doing.

  • Mike

    I was just wondering if this has the working market app. The guy on ebay sells one for $60 without it and $80 with it. If it doesnt how would i get it installed too. thanks

    • gar-bear

      just pay him 80 i did so worth it!!!!!!!!!!!

      • gar-bear

        And the info he gives is way cool he will work with you if you have trouble with any thing just look at his feedback!!!!!! alot of people out there are rip off this guy aint one thats for sure!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Say What?

        are U the same guy that is selling the $80 preloaded micro sd card on ebay??? why do you have such a hard on for this seller? and such a negative attitude? the guy is only trying to save people money. just because you are too lazy or dumb to figure it out yourself, that's your issue. if you feel great about getting taken for 80.00 for a simple task, more power to you!!

  • GeekDad

    Nice post. I am completely new to the Nook but technically competent since I'm a seasoned engineer. Can this image run solely from an SD card so I don't void the warranty? Other mods I've seen modify the device and void the warranty.

    As for the SD card, can anyone advise which ones have been verified to work and which ones don't? I've read that a Class 6 is required but they're not all the same. Kingston rates their cards conservatively and comes with a lifetime warranty.

    Keep up the good work!

    • http://www.toysdiva.com PixelSlave

      I wouldn't worry too much about voiding the warranty. The Nook Color will always attempt to boot from the SD first. So, you can just flash back to the stock Nook ROM if you need to bring it back to service (that is, if you can still boot it up.)
      As for the SD card. I can tell you from my personal experience that it depends more on your luck than your skill or the card. Someone in XDA mentioned that a Patriots 16GB Class 10 work. I tried but it didn't work. Some other people said any fast SanDisk +4Gb work, I also tried but have no luck.
      In general, I think you should look for a fast SanDisk, 'cause most people recommend it, but there's no guarantee it will work.
      The eMMC zip, however, always works.

      • GeekDad

        Thanks for the reply. So is this image bootable and completely self contained (i.e. if SD card is installed it runs Android Honeycomb from the card, if I remove SD card, it reverts back to the vanilla Nook)?

        Thnx

        • http://www.toysdiva.com PixelSlave

          Yes. That is, if you can find a SD card that works with the HC image.

  • Mike

    This all seems very easy but installing market gets me alittle confused

    • Gar-bear

      Thats why he charges $80 he has got a much Better way then this!!! trust Me i know!! there is no comand prompt you get 2 sd cards and go!!!

  • Jimmy Turc

    I have been trying this for 2 days and an so confused. I do everything then get to "under ‘Disk’ choose "Restore Virtual Image to Physical Drive." Choose your SD card reader’s drive. Change the files shown at the bottom to "all files" and select the file." Where is the DISK option?

    • http://www.toysdiva.com PixelSlave

      He meant the "Disk" menu.

      Also, make sure you launch WinImage as an administrator if you are on Windows 7 (or may be Vista.)

  • Ray

    Took most of the afternoon but I got it done.
    Trick seems to center around getting the micro SD card in the slot on the PC just so.
    Thanks for the directions

  • http://web.mac.com/steve_hoge Steve Hoge

    "... simply asking those who are considering paying for this to ask if they can follow those four steps. If they can’t, then by all means…"

    Heck, your "four steps" don't even mention what OS your host machine should be running! Windows, MacOS or Linux? Will it work for grandma running her old XP rig without SP1?

    Like many engineers and technical types (myself included) you completely underestimate the amount of unconscious expertise that you bring to this task.

    If, as some respondents have posted, it takes "most of the afternoon", (ie 3 or 4 hours) to accomplish this hack, you only need to be earning about $20/hr at your regular job for the $80 turnkey package from eBay to have payed for itself.

    -Steve

  • Mike

    After trying this Im thinking maybe a youtube video would be best. Im not completely a noob at these things but this is not as simple as 4 steps would lead you to believe

    • Mike

      Ok... I spoke too soon.I put on my big boy pants and got it installed with 5 minutes. I put the sd in my wifes nook and sure enough I got Honeycomb. Im still having a heck of a time installing market though and if I cant have market whats the use of having Honeycomb. If anyone is proficient at installing market I sure would appreciate the help. Thanks Mike

      • Mike

        Over at XDA I read a post about "Honey Bunches" it has maket installed with it but I couldnt find anymore about it. Anyone else hear about this?

        • http://www.toysdiva.com PixelSlave

          If you are ok with installing it to the internal memory, you can try this:

          http://droidsamurai.blogspot.com/2011/03/how-to-install-honeycomb-preview.html

          It will wipe your Nook Color clean, though (but it can be restored back to stock easily -- without your data.)

          Using the eMMC method, you can install Honeycomb to your Nook Color in 10 minutes with very little effort.

          Yes, the Market is included also.

      • gar-bear

        the guy that has the ebay site is

        • gar-bear

          just pay him 80 i did so worth it!!!!!!!!!!!
          the info he gives is way cool he will work with you if you have trouble with any thing just look at his feedback!!!!!! alot of people out there are rip off this guy aint one thats for sure!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Gunderstorm

    I rooted and Flashed HC this weekend following the How-Tos on another site. Thank you B&N for the $200 Galaxy Tab killer. It was so very easy and runs GREAT!

  • Peter Lorraine

    I think if you are uncomfortable doing this yourself, you may be uncomfortable with the necessary tweeks to get things running right. This is still a "hobbyist" exercise - getting the market to work, find all the apps by spoofing a carrier, getting adb running reliably over usb to load certain apps. I'd do this for a friend for free - but if someone wanted to charge $30 or so over the cost of an sd card to hand hold all through this that doesn't seem unreasonable. The problem is going to be that an sd card with an image is only the start - and if you can't do that yourself you will get caught later on.

  • gar-bear

    I see you call this Guy a rip off yours has no Mac instructions or directions for installing the market or Google apps he does all that for you!

  • Gar-bear

    It's sad when I see a website like this. You give absolutely no instructions for installing the Android market. You don't tell people how complicated installing an ADB and SDK is and how you have to write code in command prompt to give the Android market working with this piece of crap information you give. All this guy is doing is selling you a completely rooted SD card with the Android market and you don't have to do any work, and you call him a rip off? I have personally bought from this guy, he was great to work with, gave awesome instructions and I now have a fully rooted Nook with Honeycomb and working app market all for $80. What a deal! I sat on my butt and he did the work. All you're doing is bricking peoples Nooks and not telling them how to fix them.

    • Matt J.

      Now wait a minute. I can see how people can follow his directions and not get a working setup, but brick their phones? No matter what goes wrong on the SD card, since it is removable, it cannot brick their phones.

  • Dave

    I have been able "very easy" to intall honeycomb via SD card on my NC. I have not been able to figure out how to download apps to the NC when I do not have an android phone. Havif the capability but can not put it in drive after the engine is started

  • ramsman100

    I have been able to get Honeycomb on the MicroSD card. I have stumbled and tripped down the stairs while trying to complete the process with the marketplace. Any idea who has a useful set of instructions to get it up and running?

    • Gar-bear

      The guy on ebay does want me to have him get ahold of you??

  • DarlinNich

    I followed the directions...
    After an hour and a half I got it!
    The Nook Color is now a tablet...I cant believe it. I love it.
    I used a scandisk 8 GB micro SD card and I now have a nook color with options.
    Now for the android market...that looks scary.
    BTW I have no computer experience, except for using Microsoft excel.

    • Vittorio E.

      I tried to follow instructions - unfortunately I'm not enough smart :(
      after many hours, testing it by WinImage and Acronis True Image I did not get a solution. Always stopped as "writing error" by WinImage and Acronis said that file was corrupted
      I looked around on the Net for other versions but always I got a negative result

      any friendly suggestion? thanks a lot
      used as follows:
      Win XP SP3
      SunDisk SD 8GB Class4

      • Ksmith

         http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1000957

  • Taosaur

    I don't object to someone charging to perform this service, just to all of the misinformation in the listing.

    1) You probably don't want Honeycomb on a NC yet, as it's very much a work in progress (whereas CyanogenMod Gingerbread is running great).

    2) Running Honeycomb from a SD card has nothing to do with rooting.

    3) Some of these ads tout class 10 SD cards--if they were actually giving you the class 10 card advertised (doubtful), it would make a terrible NC boot drive.

  • http://androidpolice lee

    i installed honycomb on a sdcard for my nook color. it took a while but i did it.,no how do i download apps. google seems to have taken over the darn thing. tks lee

  • Kari

    Oh my God I reading all comments, hmm well I need to buy the rip off sd card hahahaha

  • Jacob

    You know, you may think that everyone but you is an idiot, but some people just want it to work. As you said, you CAN make your own card- but, your "quick search" will reveal that getting the full experience working will require quite a bit of hacking. Would I find it fun? Yes, of cource. But once again, just because a non-nerd doesn't want to spend a week out of their comfort zone does NOT mean that they have been- what word did you use?- Bamboozeled. Go pick on normal people about something else.

  • Matt J.

    $80 dollars is worth it when it keeps the buyer from destroying data due to following unclear instructions. Your instructions are unclear about two important aspects 1) winImage85.exe does not say, "Restore Virtual Image to Physical Drive". It says "Restore Virtual Image to Physical Drive" 2) you say to "Choose your SD car readeer's drive". But alas, winImage does not identify the drive by drive letter. It identifies by disk#. How is the average user supposed to know which disk# corresponds to the SD card reader?

    Now the 1st is actually pretty minor. The second is major. In my case, I had TWO flash drives connected, but it only detected one, and destroyed all the data on it.

    Now in fact, I believe most of that data was redundant, more for convenience than anything else. But it is still a major problem, one well worth $80 to avoid. It could have been a lot worse if I had had crucial data on it. Someone else might, so it is a major omission in your instructions: the user needs to know how to single out the right drive.

    Of course, I would also like to know why it failed to identify my SD card reader at all. But that could by my own hardware failure: I never used the SD card reader on this machine before.

    • Matt J.

      I think I figured out how to modify the Mac instructions to do the right thing under Fedora, which does recognize my microSD card reader. I made three modification, two clearly necessary, the other seemed like the right thing: 1) replace '1m' with '1M', 2) use mount to find the device name of the card 3) unmount before executing 'dd'.

      I did this third because you can often find the advice on the Net to do so when writing to the device itself rather than to the filesystem mounted on it: but it seems to often be left out, as if it could be assumed known.

      So now I see dd wrote successfully, it looks like the right number of blocks. But when I power-cycle the Nook Color w/ this SD card in it, it still boots from internal flash. So how am I supposed to get it to boot, or did I do the wrong thing by umounting first?

  • Jon P

    Awesome, it really was that simple. I was prepared to do a lot of working around with formatting and filesystem gymnastics, but I followed the steps, turned off the nook, installd the card (hardest part!) and turned it on. Honeycomb booted first time. Thanks partner!

  • omahatian

    If a non-techie-type person chooses to pay someone else to do the work that they're afraid to attempt, what's the big hairy deal?

    Next you're going to tell me to stop getting "ripped off" at restaurants because I could just as easily cook for myself, or that I shouldn't pay the handyman to fix my kitchen faucet because I should be able to figure out how to do it myself, and I shouldn't pay a mechanic to change the oil in my car because it's so easy! ;-) My point is that not everybody is comfortable with DIY.

  • Mahdi

    Thank you man! You are awesome. It really works, and can't say how happy I am. Thank you for sharing such valuable information. You are great!

  • Austel

    Very cool! Thanks a lot for publishing.

    I am tech savvy but not android-savvy (yet) and got it all done in ~15 min.

    Now, here's my next to-do. What changes do I need to make to the image to give me a dual-boot option at startup? I don't like to have to do the hard reset to switch from one OS to the other.

    Any tips?

  • walter

    so I have android now on my nook--thanks--but i have no sound and the video does not work. Also how do i download apps?

  • walter

    i have no sound and videos do not work. How do i fix this?

  • David

    First off, thank you. I am a complete novice and found the four steps easy. I did them on WinXP, I did not use winRAR to extract the zip image, I used the built in zip extraction in XP. I did use winImage to write the MicroSD card. The MicroSD card (SanDisk 4G) was placed in and SD adapter and that was placed in a SD/USB adapter. I did not do any formatting on before writing the image. I put it in the color nook, it took me some time to get it seated properly but it was obvious once it was in there right. I powered on and got the new OS. I have no experience with android but I did find and configure my wireless connection. Now I have to go learn about ADB and how to use it to get market place. I have one question about how this works. Please confirm that once I can add applications they are added to the memory card (so I need a bigger one). is the memory card supplying any memory for the OS or is that just what is in the nook and the memory card is storage? I hope my questions makes sense. Thanks again, I am having a blast!!

  • DWY

    I got my SDHC working with the instructions included in the link the last line, it downloaded the files from the link above. I agree that the ADB setup on Lion was a bit of a hassle and after a lot of Google searches, I got it working.

    I then used the ADB instructions from the link to easiy install Market, GMail and the other apps but tweaking the provided script.

    So, I now have an awesome Android tablet a la my Nook Color.

    However, the issue I can't seem to overome is the NC shows up on the Market as LogicPD Zoom2 as a device, which filters wha apps you can download and install.

    This is a huge problem because The BN Nook app won't download on the NC via Market, so I can't even get back to square one using it as a reader. Amazon AppStore downloads from the Amazon site, installs, but won't execute. FB, Twitter, and other typical apps won't shown in Market either because of how the NC now presents itself.

    If anyone has gotten past this hurdle, please post a link.

  • Vittorio E.

    I beg your pardon for repeating here my help msg
    ---
    I tried to follow instructions - unfortunately I'm not enough smart :(

    after many hours, testing it by WinImage and Acronis True Image I did not get a solution. Always stopped as "writing error" by WinImage and Acronis said that file was corrupted

    I looked around on the Net for other versions but always I got a negative result

    any friendly suggestion? thanks a lot

    HW as follows:
    Win XP SP3
    SunDisk SD 8GB Class4

  • cosmicexcursion

    does this work for v 1.4.2?

  • LawdNikon

    Anybody try this? How well does Honeycomb work on the NC since its only got less than a gig processor speed? Is it laggy or should i be better off with a stable build of Gingerbread?

  • denise

    i tried this but no matter who's instructions i follow to get the files on my sd card, i boot the nook and it just goes to read forever screen and loads my nook as normal. very frustrating. and im technical person.

  • http://twitter.com/BritishPhotoUSA British Photography

    I use a Mac so none of the Windows junk will work for me. I have a Nook Color and copied the DMG file contents to the SD card amd tried booting the Nook. No joy. It's still a Nook. Something's wrong somewhere.