How to Turn Your Nook Color Into an Android Tablet

Run a full version of the Android OS on a Nook Color e-reader

NOOK Color

 Barnes & Noble

It's possible to install Android on a Nook Color to turn it into a fully functioning tablet. The Nook Color may not have the same high-performance processor as the latest Samsung Galaxy device, but the LCD display and other underlying hardware make it a sufficient budget tablet.

Instructions in this article apply to the Nook Color e-reader made by Barnes & Noble, which was discontinued in 2012.

Can You Install Android on Your Nook Color?

Barnes & Noble developed a custom version of Android, the operating system found on millions of smartphones and tablets, to power the Nook Color e-reader. While the Android 2.2 upgrade for the Nook Color in 2011 introduced an app store, it's possible to expand the device's functionality even further by installing a full version of the Android OS.

What Do You Need to Install Android on a Nook Color?

A 2011 firmware update made it no longer possible to root the Nook Color or sideload apps, but you can still boot a full version of Android from a memory card. You'll need a Mac or Windows PC to create the Android boot image in addition to a formatted microSD card with at least 4GB of storage and a read/write speed of Class 4 or higher.

You can also find Nook2Androd (N2A) memory cards for purchase online that come preloaded with Android.

How to Install Android on a Nook Color

To turn your Nook Color into an Android tablet:

  1. Download a virtual image of your preferred version of Android on your computer.

    The Android disk image (ROM) must be compatible with the Nook Color. TheUnlockr.com has a list of custom Nook Color Android ROMs.

    Nook Color Android ROMs at TheUnlockr.com
  2. Insert the microsD card into your computer.

  3. Unzip the Android disk image if necessary and write it to the SD card.

    You can use Etcher for Windows or Mac to write the Android image to the SD card. Just run Etcher, choose the image, and select your SD drive.

    Etcher download page
  4. Remove the memory card from your computer.

  5. Power down your Nook Color and insert the microSD card.

  6. Power on the Nook Color.

If everything worked properly, your NOOK Color will boot into the Android version you chose, making it a fully functional Android tablet. All of your settings, downloads, and modifications from this point will be saved on the memory card, keeping the Nook Color's internal storage undisturbed. When you're ready to go back to your stock Nook Color, all you have to do is power down the device, remove the microSD card, and power it up again.

Because everything is running off of the memory card (instead of internal memory), the read/write speed and capacity of the card will have an impact on performance. Class 4 is about as slow as you can get away with, but Class 6 or 10 will make the experience much smoother. Likewise, 4GB doesn't give you a whole lot of room for apps, so if you intend to make extensive use of your Nook Color's newfound capabilities, you might want to consider a higher capacity memory card.