Update (12/28): N2A cards are now available!
Nook To Android, a company that makes Android OS boot packages for the Nook Tablet and Nook Color, has recently announced that they will be expanding their product into the Nook HD line “soon.” Currently, N2A offers a DIY direct download for $19.99 or they will go ahead and flash it to a microSD card for you for $29.99.
If you already own a Nook Tablet or Nook Color, and you want to turn it into an Android tablet, order here. N2A has made a good name for itself in the tech community, receiving accolades from PCWorld, cnet, engadget, and The-eBook-Reader.com. They also benefit from good customer reviews at Amazon.com (where you can also order the pre-prepared cards).
For those of you who haven’t heard them before, N2A cards are basically microSD cards that contain the stock Android 4.1 or 2.3.7 OS software loaded on. When you insert an N2A card into your Nook Tablet or Nook Color, the device will take instructions from the card and boot to it first, thus permitting the user to install the Jelly Bean or Gingerbread OS without actually rooting the device and installing it. There is no warranty voiding or risk of bricking as the N2A card does not alter your Nook’s internal memory or coding. Your Nook already looks at your microSD card first when you power it on, the N2A card simply tells it what to do. Just secure the card, power on, and your Nook Tablet becomes a real Android tablet with full access to the Google Play Store, the Amazon App Store, and all the non-Nook apps you could possibly desire.
Many people have been pestering N2A about when they will be releasing a package for the Nook HD+, and they have finally given an answer on their Facebook page:
[There is no official date of release yet], and we do not want to confirm something we do not have. Luckily the bootloader is not locked on the HD and HD+ like it is with the Nook Tablet. It took from Nov to Feb to unlock the bootloader for the Nook Tablet. With that being said we hope to know more in 2-3 weeks. I have used both new tablets and I must say the Nook HD+ with an N2A card will arguably be the best Android tablet on the market for the price.
Last year, the Nook Tablet was one of the most closed off tablets you could buy. They blocked third-party apps and locked the bootloader to prevent easy hacking. It seems that the popularity of their devices among techies has caused them to change their security measures, which is a good sign that Barnes & Noble is getting a lot of business from folks who want a rooted Nook. I have read a few posts by hackers who say that the Nook dev team left a huge hole in their software to make stock Android rooting that much easier for the Nook HD and HD+. I wondered if B&N would pay attention to this potential sales magnet, and it appears that they did.
I haven’t owned a N2A card before, and I have seen a number of tech support problems posted by people on the N2A Facebook page, but most users say the product works without a hitch. The biggest issues appear to be with the stability of the device. Apps will crash or the device will freeze, but again, this is not permanent damage and not entirely uncommon with Android OS. Using an N2A card is much safer than rooting your device. N2A also has a great support team and they are quick to respond to Facebook posts.
I will be getting an N2A card for my HD+ as soon as it comes out, and, of course, I will post a review for you.
Image source: screenshot of N2Acards.com