If you’re like me, that mystery rash is really starting to worry you. Also, you have a huge laptop that you don’t want to haul around everywhere if you’re just checking email and goofing off on the subway. So, a tablet, right?
Two problems: one, most tablets are priced offensively high, between $600 and $800, especially if you want, say, more than 4GB of memory. And the tablets that are priced in a reasonable range, like the Archos, have a heavily modified version of Android that may not even have access to the Android Market or even apps like Netflix.
What’s a nerd to do? Hack! The best Android tablet out there is a Nook Color…provided you do a few modifications.
A quick overview: the Nook Color does run Android right out of the box, but it’s a neutered version of Android that doesn’t have access to the Android Market. If literally all you want to do is check your email and surf the web, the stock Nook is actually pretty solid for that. But boring, and the games suck.
There are two ways to go about this, both of which are fairly easy: rooting the OS and replacing it completely with an Android mod, or putting an Android image on a microSD card, creating a dual-boot tablet. Both have their upsides and downsides. Rooting the OS means you can further hack the Nook by, say, overclocking it, but it also means you can kiss your warranty good-bye. Creating a dual-boot tablet means you still have your warranty, but it also means less space. Both are going to require at least a 4GB microSD card.
The actual process for rooting the Nook is fairly straightforward: if you’ve ever installed Ubuntu, you can do this. It’s essentially installing Android and an auto-loader from the Web. Be warned, though, that it’ll involve, gasp, formatting. Dual-boot cards are actually my preferred solution, mostly because it’s even easier.
Either way, it turns the Nook into basically a $600 tablet without the camera for under $300. Not bad, Barnes and Noble. Not bad.