The Nook Tablet from Barnes and Noble offers meatier specs than Amazon's Kindle Fire for half the price of an iPad, but the selection of apps on offer for the e-Reader/tablet hybrid is a bit underwhelming. Fortunately, it takes less than 30 minutes to turn a Nook into a fully-functional Honeycomb tablet with access to the Android Market.
Before the Kindle Fire and the Nook Tablet came along, B&N;'s Nook Color e-Reader was the go-to budget Android tablet for folks in the know, who used one of a number of tools to root it and install the Android OS and market. The new Nook Tablet is essentially just a Nook Color with a hardware upgrade, and it can be converted to Honeycomb just as easily.
If you're not familiar, rooting is the process of circumventing the existing OS or skin that the device ships with, allowing for a new ROM, mod or operating system to be loaded onto it. Rooting also provides access to more of a device's functions.
Of course, with more power comes more responsibility, so if you're here because you're looking to root your own Nook, keep in mind that rooting can carry the risk of voiding your warranty, bricking the device, and may even violate local laws (it has been determined to be legal in the U.S.).
Still interested? OK, then. You're going to need your Nook Tablet, a USB cord and a PC connected to the Internet. There are multiple tools and methods to root your Nook using a PC, Mac or Linux system, but for our purposes we'll be going through the process with a Windows PC and tools available from the xdadevelopers forum. These tools are among the best and easiest out there for rooting the Nook, and the forum provides a great place to get support should you run into a problem.
Steps to Rooting
You should now have a rooted Nook running Android Honeycomb with access to the wide world of apps in the market. Enjoy! Should you change your mind, the same xda forum thread has instructions for de-rooting.
UpdateAccording to reports from from the xda-developers forum, the Nook's new 1.4.1 firmware update that was rolled out this week disables root access and removes the ability to load third-party apps. Since the update is applied automatically when the Nook is connected to the Internet via Wi-Fi, many people will find themselves unable to root the device - although the root script mentioned in the above instructions also disables over the air updates so if you haven't already received the update the above method should still work..
Also, if you've already rooted your Nook before receiving the 1.4.1 update then already-installed apps will still work and you'll still be able to access the Android Market - BUT, while you'll be able to purchase new apps there, you won't be able to install them and will receive a message saying, "Install blocked. For security reasons, only apps purchased through the NOOK shop can be installed." Judging by comments on the xda-developers forum, Barnes & Noble will be seeing quite a few Nook's returned as a result of this move.