Barnes & Noble Nook Color gets Sweet Update, Froyo Apps, Almost a Tablet Now!

April 26, 2011 - Written By Maddi Hausmann Sojourner

Nook Color Getting Update: Flash, Froyo Apps, Animations

Barnes and Noble noticed when a number of customers started hacking their Nook Color e-readers into Android tablets.  B&N has readied an update of their proprietary software, Nook Color v. 1.2., that will allow some Froyo apps to run on the  color e-reader.  But don’t call it a full-fledged entry-level Android tablet yet.  It’s a lot more capable than it was, but there’s still a few things missing before you’d confuse a Nook Color with an actual Android Tablet.

Missing in Action: Android Market, Google Services

You won’t see the Android Market on the Nook Color, because this is still an e-reader, not a tablet.  Sure, it’s Android-powered, but Barnes and Noble is trying to keep the device running a certain way, and that means any apps that are available have to use B&N’s customer libraries (I mean software libraries, not e-book repositories).  It keeps the look and feel consistent, and also stops B&N from selling a “real” tablet at a substantial discount; remember, they’re selling this device because they want you to buy e-books from Barnes & Noble to read on it.

You won’t have GMail or Google Maps or those kinds of apps, either.  There is e-mail, it’s tailored to the Nook, though.  What you will have includes a browser with Adobe Flash player, the Nook store of approved apps, plus books with animations or videos built in are fully available to you.  Children’s books include “Read & Play,” which can include interactive animations and games.  There’s a beta social portal included in the update as well, so you can be part of a virtual book club and check out what your friends are reading.

You Can Hack It, or you can Update It

This won’t stop the hard-core XDA-types from hacking the device, but the greater functionality may make a number of people much happier with the Nook Color’s new capabilities.  The update is coming “in the coming weeks,” but if you just can’t wait, head over to Barnes & Noble to update your Nook Color manually.

Video of Nook Color Update

Thanks to Engadget for this video of the Nook Color in action.

Here’s Barnes & Nobel’s list of what’s been added in the new Nook Color 1.2 update:

What’s new in V1.2.0?

The NOOK Color Ver1.2.0 update contains new features and enhancements, including:

  • Access to shop a broad collection of popular NOOK Appsâ„¢ to enjoy great games, stay up to date on news and weather, and more
  • Full-featured free email to check and send web-based email (i.e., Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail, AOL) all from one in-box
  • NOOK Color’s update to Android OS 2.2/Froyo offers system improvements, browser performance and a more complete Web experience giving customers access to enjoy even more video, interactive and animated content. NOOK Color now includes support for Adobe® Flash® Player
  • NOOK Kidsâ„¢ exciting new Read and Play titles that bring animation, activities and stories together
  • NOOK Books Enhanced offer in-page video and audio in a growing number of titles
  • Enhancements to magazine navigation making it easier to enjoy even more of the growing selection of magazines in NOOK Newsstand
  • NOOK Friendsâ„¢ (beta) to see your friends’ reading activities, swap books with LendMeâ„¢, share recommendations and discover new titles

Gallery of Nook Color with 1.2 Update Photos

Click any image for a larger view.  All photos from Engadget.

Pictures & Video: Engadget