Amazon started pushing an update to the Kindle Fire yesterday, and two words that no Android geek wants to hear were muttered shortly after: breaks root. Unlike the previous update to the Fire, this update can't be re-rooted using SuperOneClick.

It's not all bad in Fire-world, though; for the un-rooted, this update brings a number of fixes and performance enhancements to the sub-$200 device:

  • You can now remove books, apps or other content from the carousel of recently used items on the home screen.
  • Scrolling is smoother.
  • There’s an option to require a password to turn on WiFi (which could help prevent kids from purchasing apps without a parents' permission).

Amazon isn't the only one sending out an update that is breaking root - Barnes & Noble has also started pushing and update to the Nook Tablet that not only leaves users root-less, but also disables the sideloading of apps. Unlike the Kindle Fire update, it's possible that these are the sole tweaks caused by the update, as the only thing B&N has listed in the changelog is "the version 1.4.1 update provides minor system enhancements."

There is somewhat of a bright side for once-rooted Nook Tablet owners who took the update, though: it is possible to roll the tablet back to version 1.4.0 by simply dropping a file on the SD card on performing a factory reset. Of course, this means you'll lose all data, but at least you'll be able to root and sideload once more.

[Liliputing 1, 2, 3]

Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, musician, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6-string, spinning on the streets, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • Hotmann

    I give it an hour before someone figures out a different way to root it.

  • Genius

    Couldn't agree more. An hour!

  • mrw

    Not really the point though. Both Amazon and B&N are showing their hostility and disapproval toward the customization of these devices. Playing "cat & mouse" with the manufacturer is iOS all over again. A distinguishing feature of Android is supposed to be choice. Unfortunately, with these 7" tablet/readers it appears they are converging on the wrong model.

    • http://www.twitter.com/ScottColbert Scott

      The problem is, while these e-readers are at the core running Android, it is so bastardized and heavily modified with Amazon's and B&N's own proprietary software, it makes sense for them to do that. These are NOT Android tablets. they are beefed up e-readers, and in this particular case, Amazon and B&N have a right to make sure their products are used the way they want them to be used.

      • Tejas Richard

        Did these people purchase these devices? Yes. Yes they did. Therefore, the device does NOT belong to Amazon or B&N, and they have no rights at all regarding how the device is used.

        • http://www.twitter.com/ScottColbert Scott

          Did the people who purchased it develop the software that's on the devices? No, they did not, why is that so hard to understand?

        • http://mgamerzproductions.com Mgamerz

          Simple solution: Don't update. It's their software on your hardware (and apparently the software that came loaded is licensed to you). So don't upgrade to the new software and you won't have anything to complain about.

    • http://www.focuszonedevelopment.com Aaron

      That's not true. Amazon has said in the past they aren't concerned with rooters and aren't making any active efforts to dissuade them.

      Root methods exploit security weaknesses. If your friendly neighborhood one-click root app can do it, so can any arbitrary malicious app.

      Patching security holes is every software vendor's responsibility.

  • Craig

    Does the update make the Android market not work? Maybe a dumb question, but i thought you could have the market without having root, right?

    • Jim

      You can access the Amazon App market and download the app, but the app itself will not install after the 1.4.1 update, and an error message will show which states that apps not bought from B&N will not run.
      Before the update, I did not have to root the device to access and install Amazon Android apps. Not all worked, but I was able to find just enough to make the Nook "Tablet" (now just an enhanced e-reader!) worthwhile.
      While Amazon and Apple limit apps to their own stores, they at least had enough apps to satisfy most needs. B&N has blocked access to all but their very limited selection of apps.

  • ben

    i would love to know if i can still get the market after this. If not the first thing I'm gonna do Christmas morning is update and roll back to factory. Then root.

    • Jim

      You can access the market and download, but the app will not install with the 1.4.1 "update."
      Not everyone wants to root; for some of us, that is like buying a PAL-standard TV and being forced to change it to NTSC.

  • Al

    Does this apply to Nook Color, too, or just Nook Tablet?

    • creliandobi

      NookColor 1.4 update breaks root (if running ROM from internal memory)...
      but, if you're running the ROM (CM7) from the msd Card then it's ok to update to 1.4. CM7 can still be loaded up.

      • Al

        Thanks for the response. Perhaps Sharon's question is more directly what I'm interested in finding out. I bought my youngest a NC and grabbed the N2A card as well for Christmas and didn't want to see my purchase of the card go to waste.

      • sharon

        As you have no doubt discovered- the N2A card does not work on the Nook Tablet. However, my N2A card still boots on the Nook Color even tho' it has updated to 1.41. I returned the NT and will use the NC until such time BN breaks that, too. Waiting to see what new devices are released at CES next week- maybe something will catch my eye:)

  • sharon

    will the N2A card work on the NT, once it is developed, or does this update put an end to that, too? Will the update on NC also make the N2A card useless.

  • nicky

    maybe everyone will soon stop calling them TABLETS and aptly refer to them ereaders...i need this to happen

    • Paul

      "Nook Tablet" even they call it a tablet. And hardware wise, multi-touch screen, Dual Core CPU, MicroSD card slot, etc. and it runs Android. How is this not a tablet? It's the 'eReader' designation that ticks me off. I mean the original eReaders were 100% dedicated to it and not really able to be a tablet, fine, call it an eReader, but that line has been so blurred lately, especially with the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet, that calling them eReaders is just plain inaccurate. It's more of a tablet dedicated to eBooks and such. And the original eReader's didn't have nearly the capability of the Fire or NT, mp3's, videos, youtube, app market for games, etc.

  • Steve

    I'm SO glad I returned my NT while I had the chance...

  • Paul

    I don't see the need of a tablet but if I got one it'd be the Nook Tablet since it's spec's are superior for just $50 more which can be negated by a sale or promotion or something.

    But I understand why they'd want to stop rooting, I don't like it or agree with it but understand. They're taking a loss on the device, every one they sell they loose money in hopes of recouping the loss by selling you books, music, videos, apps, whatever. But rooting is the 1st step towards a custom ROM and custom ROM's would be bad, for them (not for me, I like custom ROM's). By being able to put CM7/CM9/whatever on it then they'd no longer be able to recoup the loss they took on the hardware. Personally, if you believe the other articles and such, the 'Android Hacking Community' only makes up 1-2% of the entire Android-User ecosystem, so they really shouldn't worry if only 1 or 2% of their tablet purchasers are going to root and/or install a custom ROM. The impact should be negligible. Unless we make up a larger percentage than they'll admit.

    • Jim

      I do not question B&N's right to limit book and media selection, since they are ostensibly a book/music retailer and they need some way of staying competitive in those arenas.
      What drove me to the Amazon App store was the fact that B&N has a very limited selection of apps to choose from. If they have as many apps as Apple and Amazon, then I would have little need for access to their apps. But, B&N's app selection -both paid and unpaid- is nowhere near as extensive.
      I do not want to root, I just want functionality.

  • albertwertz

    I am uploading a workaround video that follows the XDA forums. Many people have asked for a step by step procedure. Will finish uploading in a few hours http://www.youtube.com/user/albertcwertz?feature=mhee

  • Caesius

    What is more of an issue than B&N's "right" to do this is the fact that they have deliberately changed the functionality on a device AFTER it was purchased. I paid for a device that did X, Y & Z, and without the option to say "no" to an update (or even obtain information explaining the full impact of said update), suddenly my NT is no longer the same item I purchased... and this (for me anyway) happened exactly on the last day the return policy was in effect (and after hours, of course).
    Can you say "bait and switch?"