Nook Color with Android 2.3 (Gingerbread/CM7) & Bluetooth (Update)

UPDATE:  my enthusiasm for bluetooth keyboard input made me temporarily forget to test out the onscreen keyboard.  while using it the last couple days, it has seemed a little buggy.  sometimes when you press one key it will register as another key, or it will register as though you pressed the key multiple times.  it looks like there have been several updates to CM7 since i installed though, so hopefully one of those fixed this issue

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Like a fine wine, the Nook Color just keeps getting better as time goes on.

My last post gave you 3 options for upgrading your Nook from its original Andoroid 2.1 operating system to either Android 2.2 (FroYo), Android 2.3 (Gingerbread/CM7), Android 3.0 (Honeycomb).

You can install any of these updates to run off either…
1.  a microSD card
pro: the more conservative option because it leaves your Nook’s internal software alone.  You just boot off the sd card, so that if you don’t like the new operating system, you just take out the sd card and you are back to what you had originally.
con: you have to have a high speed microSD card (~class 10 speed), which are $$$.  I tried using a class 4 & a class 6 card and things ran with a lot of lag.  (*note:  FroYo ran ok, but Gingerbread and Honeycomb were unusably slow.  Android Market didn’t run well on any of them)

2.  the Nook Color’s internal memory
con: the more aggressive option b/c it wipes out your Nook’s internal software
pro: this runs FAST.  No lag.  Android Market worked fine

So, which upgrade am I currently using?  (2.2 vs. 2.3 vs. 3.0?).

After giving each one a test drive booting off the microSD and experiencing annoying lags, I decided to man up and install the upgrade directly to the Nook internal memory.

I am currently sticking with Android 2.3 (Gingerbread/CM7) for the following reasons…
-it is fast & very responsive
bluetooth (wireless keyboards work great;  headsets will pair with the NC, but I can’t find any applications that work with them yet)
Android Market works well
web browsing is significantly faster
Flash video sites work (Naruto & One Piece episodes played great through the native browser using the Flash 2.2 plugin;  *note:  Hulu & Netflix don’t work natively in the browser…we’re still waiting on Android apps for those)
Gmail contacts sync now (this is true of 2.2, 2.3 and 3.0)
Nook will charge by plugging into my computer’s USB (I think that this may have worked before, but the battery indicator never used to say charging before…in gingerbread, it does.)
holding down the “n” home key brings up a list of recently used apps (nice for switching between apps)
text input/selection is improved (there are handles that come up when you are selecting text for copying/pasting)

-I’m sure there’s more features to mention, but just wanted to post my current findings in case you were looking to take the plunge and needed a little more information.  So far I’m loving Gingerbread/CM7 on the Nook Color and would definitely recommend it if you need a weekend project.  =)

*note:  there are nightly builds being released all the time.  At  the time of this posting I used cm_encore_full-34.zip from the nightly build page

-did I mention you can use a bluetooth keyboard????  So awesome.


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22 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by richard yan on April 5, 2011 at 7:14 pm

    How’s the battery life now with bluetooth connection?

    Reply

    • Hmmm, I can post more on this later after more testing….but so far today I left bluetooth on the whole day during use and I haven’t seen a noticeable difference in battery life. I used the bluetooth keyboard for about a 2.5 hour span while taking notes in class. The rest of the time I was playing video, listening to music or web browsing, and still had battery to spare at the end of the day.

      Reply

  2. Posted by jeek on April 6, 2011 at 6:04 am

    great info. Keep up the good work!!

    Reply

  3. Posted by Ruben Mckoy on April 10, 2011 at 12:17 am

    Hi i was looking for a tutorial to do this, thanks a bunch, and another thing, what keyboard is that one? where can i get it? i really really like it.
    could you send me an email with the link?

    Reply

  4. Posted by Al T on April 13, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    Can you please provide a link with Step by Step guide on setting up Android 2.3 on the Nook Color either with SD or directly? Appreciate it very much.

    Reply

  5. Posted by Alex Summers on May 11, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    Thanks for the info. I’m currently running Phiremod v6.2 which I believe is based of the CM7. It’s stable and has all the features you listed. Anyway to get rid of the phone features b/c it’s a tablet and not a phone.

    Also I would like to recommend the AutoNooter/ManualNooter.

    Reply

  6. Posted by Kane on May 23, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    I know this is an older article, but a class 2 sd card works better than a class 10 when booting from the card. The higher class cards work great when using the card as a mass storage device but for booting off of the lower the class the better.

    Reply

    • Interesting…I had tried class 4 and class 6 cards, and both of them did not work well when booting from them. I never tried a class 2 card, but had read of people getting good results with a class 10, which is why i referred to it. any reason why a lower class card works better?

      Reply

  7. Posted by muranternet on June 14, 2011 at 11:41 pm

    It’s all about how fast your uSD card does random 4k writes, since when you run from an SD you’re treating it as a hard drive instead of mass storage. Class is only measured (AFAIK) on sustained read speed. Ironically as class gets higher a lot of time random write speed goes down the toilet, making a lot of expensive cards totally useless for running an OS.

    SanDisk Class 4 have been the most reliable, although people say even the new SanDisk Class 2 work fine. Run CrystalDiskMark on your card; if you get better than say 1.2MB/s on a 4k Random Block Write test the card should run great. I have a Nook Color running CM7 from the card and it’s actually faster than from internal (I think it tested out at about 1.5MB/s).

    There’s a whole thread on this over as XDA-Developers somewhere along with a lot of CrystalDiskMark benchmarks on different cards.

    Reply

    • Hey thanks a lot for the in depth response. I was actually using a SanDisk Class 4 card in my tests. I’ll have to go back and run crystaldiskmark to test it out like you suggested. Using class 2 & 4 microSD cards sounds awesome because I see them being sold for almost half the price of class 10 cards.

      Reply

      • Posted by muranternet on June 16, 2011 at 6:25 pm

        It’s not all class 2/4 cards, just the SanDisks (although the one I tested from my phone at 4GB wrote like crap). I had great results on 16GB and 32GB class 4 SanDisks, and a lot of people report 8GB also runs well. The problem is that SanDisk is changing the way they classify their cards so it’s getting tough to find ones labeled class 4. That’s a problem because it’s tough to tell the guy at the store that you’re returning your memory card because of poor 4kB random block write performance. 😛

        Here’s the thread at XDA-Developers: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1005633

        Note that the internal Nook memory tests write small blocks around 1MB/s, right in the middle of most of the SanDisk cards in the test list. Almost all of the “good” cards are SanDisk CL2/4, although there are a few dogs in there.

  8. Posted by Rich Ferguson on June 16, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    Gingerbread on an SD card was my first venture into the android world. I like it, but can’t get the Gingerbread 2.3+ keyboard to run. I can spare the two bucks, but the stock keyboard has no L-R arrows, etc. Is there an easy solution. I’ve got plenty of space on both the 8 GB card and the internal memory (which of course is of no use). Thanks in advance.—Doc

    Reply

  9. Just wondering, and I am sorry if this was addressed earlier and I missed it. If I install directly onto my nook and for some reason decide I like the original version more, Can I get my nook back to its factory settings? Thanks for everything you are doing. Ryan

    Reply

  10. Posted by cindy on September 21, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    i have spent hours, and i mean hours trying to set up the cm7 on micro sd card, i have looked at the android site, utube and several others. i am thinking of just buying one on line i just cant figure this thing out, if i do buy one how do i keep it updated ? is that just as difficult. can regular people figure that out?

    Reply

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