NOOKcolor Sales Halted; To Introduce a Hack-Proof Version?


In case you haven’t noticed, the NOOKcolor has been pulled from the store shelves – virtual or otherwise – of both Best Buy and Barnes & Noble. This sort of action usually suggests a product refresh or a new slightly-different SKU is on the way. Unfortunately, it seems the latter may be truest as GoodeReader believes Barnes & Noble will soon ship a hack-proof version to circumvent efforts to install custom versions of Android and third-party apps onto the device. This hasn’t been confirmed, but a statement from B&N is expected shortly. Another reason could be due to their desire to ship devices running Android 2.2 preinstalled. [via Electronista]


Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. I still don’t get the point of a NookColor. It’s just a tablet that’s locked down. Why not get one that isn’t?

  2. I agree with Jonathan. Being hackable to unleash the full power of android would have been a major incentive for purchasers that like to tweak a little.

  3. The NookColor is very hackable, or at least current models in the hands of consumers are. There have been successful ports of Froyo booted on both an SD card and on the Nook’s internal memory, and even rough Honeycomb ports. Cyanogen is being ported to the NC, and even without a custom rom the device can (currently) be rooted and the shipped 2.1 rom can be customized with launchers, market, sideloaded apps and more.

    The incentive for the NC versus a “proper” tablet for the most part was the price/value of the NC. Most cheap tablets are cheaply made, but the NC has solid hardware at a relatively low price compared to things like the Galaxy Tab and NotionInk Adam.

  4. hackproof doesn’t exist.

  5. Why would a manufacturer care about this? People are buying their product right? Why should they care who the end user is and what their intentions are? This whole thing with locking down devices just doesn’t make any sense to me. Isn’t their ultimate goal to just sell their product? People who are interested in modifying their purchase should be allowed to do so, those that don’t care will have the product as it was meant to be…

  6. I don’t see why B&N would want to pull those devices, if anything the ability to hack increases the amount of people who would otherwise not buy the device.

  7. Sorry to hear this, I bought my Nook color last week to use as a tablet (so far its awesome). I assume that the hacking community is pretty small and that they wouldn’t be effecting sales that much. Also, the kind of people that are buying it to hack it, wouldn’t buy one at all if they couldn’t.

  8. The amount of people rooting their NCs vs. those who are using it as an e-reader is probably less than 3%.

  9. The manufacturer may not care so much as the OS provider, who might be getting some significant pressure from other manufacturers that DO care.

    Case in point- I have a Sprint Galaxy Tab that is about 3 weeks old. When I found out that a Nook Color could be opened up and used as an Android tablet, I immediately tried to find one. If I had, the GT would have been going right back to Sprint and the immediate savings of $50 (not to mention $30/month) would have been going in my pocket.

  10. Being hackable was the reason I got mine. I just got the SDK based Honeycomb running on it and its really nice.

    Since the only confirmed price for a Honeycomb tablet that I’ve seen so far is $700, I’m fine with a little hacking on a $250 device to get my Honeycomb fix.

  11. I anticipate a new nook color with a 1.2 Ghz dual core and Honeycomb as the new OS. With no price increase….

  12. They are probably pulling it due to inexperienced people trying to install something on it not knowing what they’re doing and bricking the device, which they then return for another one, which costs the manufacturer money.

  13. @ Mark-Can I have some of what you’re smoking? :-)

  14. i don’t get the point of this… this HURTS their sales, if it can also be used as a tablet, that means more customers… this is fucking stupid as i WOULD BE one of those buyers in just a few days but now that it won’t be a tablet im out

  15. from what I have read the most likely reason for hack proofing the nook color is that they only make about $50 per unit and mainly rely on software sales for the majority of revenue meaning if people are rooting android then they aren’t buying their ebooks and they aren’t profiting

  16. I think its a hardware issue. I had one and the power and volume buttons became loose after only two weeks. It would press the buttons just by moving the nook. My friend has one and her buttons are starting to became loose too.

  17. Covert, you know for a fact it will no longer be rootable? Wow, you work for what division of B&N? Also, you realize that Nookcolor sales that don’t result in media purchases don’t make them any money right? Some of you people need to calm down till we get solid information.

  18. B & N are making very little from the hardware, it comes from the book sales. If you get one and hack it, then run Kindle and/or whatever else and don;t buy books via the B & N app they loose out big time. It wouldn;t be hard to justify sending out a “locked” version – if it can be done, but I doubt it.

  19. This is one of the few cases where I see an unrootable device as making sense. @ $250, B&N is either making little money or losing money on the device. Their intention is rather to sell books and other media at higher margins.

    If people are buying the Nook in decent quantities simply to hack them and use them as a tablet, and never use the device as intended, to buy books/media through B&N, then yes, it would make sense for them to further lock this device down to preserve profit.

  20. Unless they install new hardware, this will be hacked in a few weeks. Even then, the Droid X with the locked bootloader was still rooted.

  21. smarter for them to throw Honeycomb on it with default apps for their books and if needed charge a little more, then let Google ship the updates as they do with the Nexus line. . . that thing would sell like no ones business.

  22. @Kevin
    You are probably right. The Sony and Microsoft do the same thing in the gaming business. When they launch a new console, they actually lose money; but they make up for it on the game sales. The PS3 and XBox 360, even though they were expensive for a console, were actually a bargain considering the hardware that came with it.

  23. But, they cant do ANYTHING about rooted devices in the wild right? So mines safe? :)

  24. @acupunc I think they would rather be greedy and keep Google out of it. But I guess it would make sense for them to lock it for their eBook sales. But nothing out ever really is root-proof. We’ll see how that turns out.

  25. Just picked one up last night, I figured this might happen.
    As much as I’d love to dream that they’re doing it to drop out a shiny honeycomb out of the box on each one, my capitalistic senses point to no.

    They’ll halt them for a bit, install a fix on ones before they leave the plant that will require one bit more to hack it and nothing will change. To make them unhackable now would require a hardware fix they don’t want to make.

  26. If they are chaning it to a non hackable version I believe it would be a big mistake on barnes and nobles part. The only reason anyone I know has bought one of these was to root it and inztall a cusyom rom. if they make it un hackable they will see a serious drop in sales

  27. I am less confident than some that the Nook Color can’t be made unrootable. If the ability to boot from SD was removed, it would be extremely difficult to get root access.

  28. I think 15, 16, and 17 got it right – it’s kind of like a wireless carrier locking a device just to their network. They are subsidizing the hardware knowing that they will make the money back on services – subscriptions, media sales, etc. Hacking the NC and enabling other eReader apps (Google Books, Kindle, etc) loses money for B&N.

  29. Was saving up for one of these. Now will not be buying one. Sale lost. Please reconsider marketing tactics.

  30. I think they are at a place where they could grab a huge market share. Even if they release a Honeycomb device that made getting to their store in your face, but didn’t try to force those who wanted to skirt them. The online store sux, and the fact they still don’t allow you to add additional applications is dumb. I’m holding out for them to come through, but I’m teetering no joining the rooting crowd very soon, if they don’t provide me a better experience.

    I wonder if they are unable to handle the support given the popularityof the product, and are trying to regroup with a “relaunch” approach to what they have on their hands before the general public starts hearing too many horror stories of broken devices, and the option I ended having to do) is to return your device for a new one to see if the issue is hardware or software. I waited a week and a half with no response before I said I better just get a new one. The new one has the same sound problem, but I broke down and bought the extended warranty.

    I think a represent a certain snapshot of typical consumers that have price points for new Tech toys. $250 for a tablet is a very exceptable price to me. $700 just aint going to happen for me. I bought the Nook because it has built in Movie, application, web surfing, and ereader support with talk of an expanded market. If they do indeed start selling a hand full of games, fix thier browser, and give be a couple of other options for alternate applications, then this a perfect all in one travel device for me.

    If not, then I’m rootin’ baby!! and out of spite maybe I’ll install the Kindle app. :)

  31. Does anyone know who actually manufacturers the Nook? It may be that they also are releasing a pricier Android tablet under another label and don’t want the cheaper option available. With the exception of Archos, most of the new ones are pricing at/or above $500.

  32. You guys don’t bother to do your homework as long as it’s worth posting about right? I called several stores and some are sold out, yes, but many also have them in stock.

    The big news is that the NookColor is a huge hit, a home run for a team that hasn’t had a win in a long time. They are selling like hot cakes but this bullshit about a “recall” is all completely wrong.

  33. Yeah, this is not true. It was a supply software problem.

    I really doubt B&N would take down their best selling device for two weeks of NO SALES for anything other than an error. Glad Phandroid posted an update.

  34. I ordered mine from BN online on 31 Jan and still waiting it to ship. online status shows it will be shipped on 15 feb… fingers crossed

  35. Yeah, calm down. We don’t know the reasoning behind this yet. After i got mine a few weeks ago, the usb cable’s insulation split the first time i used it. I called their support and they sent me a new one. So they could be on recall for issues like that.

  36. I think a lot of you guys are reading into this too heavily. I really don’t think B&N care about the hackability, the NC has become their number one selling item. I think its more realistic that 2.2 is being shipped and they want to make all the devices uniform. I mean when in the past has a manufacturer pulled an entire product line to make it *hack proof*. Its never been done before. I think something is being changed, but I highly doubt its that.

  37. Barnes & Noble has NOT “pulled” nookcolor from stores. They are in short supply in some stores and some stores have run out. I was in a store in my town today and was offered one to purchase.

  38. The majority of NC owners, 90% or more, won’t root their nook’s. Most don’t even know what rooting is. I think its safe to say it’s a hardware issue. Mine has been fine but a friend of mine gas already been through two.

  39. I picked one up yesterday after hearing that they were being pulled. Store manager told me that she has heard nothing of a recall and has 19 in stock. I will be back there tomorrow to see if this is true or the bullshit I suspect. But all in all I am very happy with the purchase, rooted in in no time, upgraded to 1.1.0, loaded some apps from the market and am enjoying it. I choose to stay away from 2.2 for the moment but fully plan on upgrading it.

  40. Too bad Quentyn Kennemer is a complete idiot for posting such a idiot headline without any form of cross checking this rumor most likely started by a Amazon/Kindle Kool-aid drinker.

    First B&N is NOT pulling inventory from the shelves.
    I called 10 B&N stores in 4 in the Sacramento Area, 3 in Bay Area, 1 in San Jose, 1 in Walnut, 1 in Santa Rosa. I asked for the most knowledgeable nook person, and also talked to 2 store managers. 2 stores still had inventory,
    Q: was inventory pulled for any reason, defects, recall, ordered to do so by Corp, or any other possible reason?
    A: without exception NO.

    Q: what is the official reason for no inventory?
    A: Demand/Sales outpaced factory orders and shipments are expected in 2 weeks.

    Other Info provided:

    – Two said, that there was a supply issue with a couple components in Taiwan.
    – Two said, that there was a shipping issue that lead to supply issues, but didn’t elaborate if the issue was manufacturing or B&N screw up.
    – Three said, that sales at Holiday levels continued and was totally unexpected, numbers were given like “we expected to sell around 6 units a day we are selling 30”.

  41. I was on with BN’s Nook Color support people for another reason and asked one of their tech guys about this. He said that no such recall had been issued, no such revamp was in progress, and that as far as he knew BN had no official policy on rooted NCs. All he said was that they view it as primarily a reader, and as such they consider implementing other tablet functions a low (I’m guessing nonexistent) priority.

    So, that said, this article is a f*&$cking embarrassment. Why don’t you guys check your facts before printing crap like this?

  42. Brenda you believe your “inside” info?
    Man you are gullible .
    Salepeople and techs are constantly monitored by recorded phone calls and the like to prevent miss info or bad news from getting out that could affect sales.
    Tech guy wants his job so he knows nothing.

  43. Love my NC and yes I rooted it in a matter of minutes. Wouldn’t change a thing, and ppl constantly are amazed by its use and price. I don’t believe that b&n is recalling the device after such great sales. I have had mine since Christmas and I use it as much as a eReader as I do an Android Tablet. B&N thanks for the great product, you have my loyalty for life!!!

  44. This is literally about $$$$.

    The $$$ that AT&T looses with every sale of NookColor that is hacked to run full Android what ever flavor.

    The way the hardware is hard coded to use the AT&T Network and SIM coupled with it locks the units to AT&T for Life.

    At first glance you would say so what.

    BN made a deal with ATT for no charge 3G access for Life!!!!

    It is in the docs.

    This is why the BN Nook Color is on hold.

    They are trying to figure how to make the Nook function while preventing the hack to allow it to run on with the Hard Coded and Coupled 3G Data SIM access.

    Imaging Gingerbread 2.3.4 on a Color Nook with unlimited 3G from ATT. If you are in a strong ATT location you are win win. Then only need WiFi when you want movies or the like to play. Slingbox player comes to mind…..

    But that is the rationale here. Just my 2cents worth.

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