Waiting For Our Tech Superman
I love watching the show Smallville! Over the last several seasons, some more than others, it’s been great watching the brooding Clark Kent actually grow into his full potential as Metropolis’ Superman. I just wish technology was more like that, but it often feels like companies want to keep our devices in Smallville and out of Metropolis. They’re more than happy putting out Clark Kents and crippling our Superdevices with a little corporate Kryptonite. I felt this way when I first read about the Nook Color. It appears to have what it needs under the hood in the form of an A8 Cortex processor running at 800Mhz and Android 2.1 a.k.a. “Éclair” but once again, it’s devoid of its cape and tights and relegated to the duties of a mild-mannered reporter. That is, until two days ago.
On November 29th, XDA Developers removed the Kryptonite and gave the Nook Color it’s first shot at super-herodom. This is the same development community responsible for keeping the Windows Mobile faithful able to fully utilize all the horsepower of those devices, prior to Windows Mobile’s recent death. The Nook Color has been successfully rooted and to prove it, those responsible offered up pics and videos of the device running Angry Birds along with several other icons visible on the Extras page. They’ve even posted instructions on how to do this on the nookdevs.com page, but the process isn’t for the faint of heart… yet. What this means is that you eventually will be able to access the Android Market and just about any app you want instead of whatever Barnes & Noble chooses to make available to you—much the same way that iPhone users have been doing.
The bigger picture here, and perhaps most pressing issue with this serendipitous turn of events, is whether Barnes & Noble will look the other way while the community has it’s way with what is essentially an Android tablet. The upside is that it is priced lower than some of its tablet competitors and could become the “go to” device if allowed to prosper under the dev community’s hackery. This could cause Barnes & Noble to see a spike in sales, but they lose some of the control over the product’s focus that is books and whatever else their sales and/or marketing team decides. As the end-user, I don’t think that’s such a bad thing!Continued on the next page