Cheaper Than A Tablet: 'Rooting' Your E-Reader
What if you could buy a tablet with a slightly smaller screen than the iPad for half the price or even less? Hackers have been turning e-book readers into tablets for cheap Internet on the go.
In fact, San Francisco hacker Mitch Altman doesn't read e-books on his Kindle at all. He only uses its Web browser to access maps and restaurant listings when he's traveling.
The Amazon Kindle has 3G data connectivity so that readers can download e-books anywhere there is cell service. As many Kindle owners know, the device can connect to Google and Wikipedia to look up things mentioned in e-books, too. That connectivity is all the opportunity hackers need to turn an e-book reader into a tablet.
Cheap And Portable Internet
"This is something that is starting to get around in geek and hacker circles, and it's a relatively cheap way to have Internet anywhere you go," Altman says.
When Altman says it's cheap, he's referring to the fact that the 3G Kindle costs a mere $190 and there is no charge for the 3G Internet. Of course, there's a trade-off here: the Kindle doesn't have a touch screen, so you have to use scrolling buttons to navigate around the screen, which Altman has found cumbersome. But for $60 more, he could've gotten the Nook Color.
How To Root A Nook Color
College student Alex Kuklinski demonstrates how to hack a Nook Color to make it into a "full-blown Android tablet."
How To Root A Nook Color (Mac Version)..VIDEO
The Nook Color is one of Barnes & Noble's e-book readers. It sells for $250 and can access the Internet only via wi-fi. It runs a stripped-down version of the Android operating system.
Alex Kuklinski, a college student in Omaha, Neb., has a YouTube video showing people how to hack their Nook Color to make it into a "full-blown Android tablet."
Kuklinski posts videos almost every week on YouTube, where he goes by the name "Huskermania." He's quite fond of the Nook Color and its high-end touch screen. "It's a really high quality device for the price."
He says the procedure for converting the Nook Color into an Android tablet is relatively simple. It takes about a half-hour, and the only cost beyond the Nook itself is the purchase of a micro-SD card, which can run about $15. Otherwise, it involves downloading a piece of free software that includes the Android operating system.