Nook e-reader gains new appeal as 'rooted' wireless tablet

By Features IDG.net

Now that some pre-ordered Nook e-readers have arrived in customers' hands, users have begun posting raves and rants, as well as some interesting hacks.

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Nookdevs.com has even posted step-by-step directions for "rooting" the Nook , or gaining full system access.

The process involves 45 minutes and some simple tools, and allows a user to plug a Nook into a Linux /Unix based computer.

Theoretically, the point of connecting the Nook to a computer, and connecting both to an Android developers' kit for free, gives the combined unit a free cellular connection to the Internet and a battery that lasts for days.

But Nookdevs.com is quick to note that the hack will probably void any warranty, and urges hackers to remember to bring a towel to the tearing open process, presumably to catch the teensy screws that are removed. Notably, a Nookdevs.com teardown list also notes that the device can eventually support multi-media messaging and speech recognition, although not in the current form.

Such advantages might make up for the fact that many early reviews showed the two-screen device to be sluggish in responsiveness , something that some users also noticed.

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Several users at MobileRead.com forums compared the Nook to the Kindle2, most favoring the Kindle2, which they viewed as having faster responsiveness. "The Kindle 2 is generally snappier and more responsive throughout the UI," noted one forum member named Trubu.

Another comment, from "bzimage," said they were keeping the Kindle 2 and putting the Nook up for sale. "The nook has a nice design and the [lower] color screen is great, but the software, GUI and the delays on everything really kill the reading experience," they wrote.

But there are also Nook devotees, including "LessPaul," who said he wants the Nook despite negative reviews , mainly because it has many features not always available on competing devices including Wi-Fi, a replaceable battery, the open Android OS, and one that reads the ePub format.

LessPaul said he felt Barnes & Noble will eventually address speed and interface problems. "I had hoped to be wowed. I wasn't. But I have not yet given up hope," he said.

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