Monday, September 12, 2011

Color Android Tablet - Under $250. Available Now.

That's right, you can have a decent Android tablet, today, for under $250. 7" color touch screen. Wi-Fi. A zillion Android apps. Here's how.

It turns out the Barnes & Noble nook Color e-reader already runs Android, albeit a neutered version. And B&N is selling refurb units on eBay. So head over there, search for "nook," and buy a color one for about $190. 

[Update, thanks to Cheryl: is selling refurb nook Colors for less than B&N.] 

Then head over to Amazon and buy one of these cards for about $50 (for 16 gigs. You can spend more for 32 or less for 8. 16 feels like the sweetspot.) The card contains a bad-ass version of Android called CyanogenMod. It runs on a bunch of Android platforms, including the nook Color.

(Wait a week for the toys to come...)

Okay, first set up the nook the official way. Make sure it works.

Next, follow the instructions that come with the card and install it. You don't have to open the nook up, but It's a little tricky - the card port was designed for tiny little fingers. I found this video helpful.

When you reboot, you've got yourself an Android tablet. And you've delayed Apple's global hegemony by ten minutes or so. Cool!

There are other ways to do this, but the beauty of running CyanogenMod off a separate card is that you don't alter your nook in any permanent way, or void the warranty or anything. You can revert to a vanilla nook anytime, simply by removing the card.

Now I can lie in bed, watch SportsCenter, and read Facebook on a reasonable display. All at the same time. Truly, the golden age is here.

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