Converting the Nook HD+ to full Android by installing CyanogenMod

November 2, 2013 · Posted in Tech 
Nook HD+

My Nook HD+

If you want a good, full-sized tablet for a frankly amazing price, I can recommend the B&N Nook HD+ currently priced at £129. Here’s how I turned it from capable Android tablet to a device that gives the latest, much more expensive, options a run for their money by first rooting it and then replacing the ROM with CyanogenMod.

First of all, it’s worth looking at what features the Nook doesn’t have:

  • Front or rear facing cameras
  • GPS
  • HDMI (though you can buy an adapter).

These don’t really worry me, as I also have a Samsung Galaxy S3 phone, which I would use for the missing features above. I’ll also be letting my children use the tablet so I see lack of cameras as a plus for that.

However, it does have:

  • Full HD screen (actually slightly more, 1920×1280)
  • Micro SD card support
  • Great battery life.

Out of the box it comes with Barnes and Noble’s own version of the Android operating system which is based on Ice Cream Sandwich. I tried it for a few weeks and, whilst not bad (and it does now have full support for Google Play), I found a few limitations. It generally felt a bit clunky with a paucity of settings and options and I didn’t find widgets worked well. Also, some apps wouldn’t work properly (e.g. Google Calendar app) or even install at all (e.g. Rightmove app, no apparent reason for this – it works now with the new o/s). Being used to the operating system on my S3, I was starting to miss the features of regular Android, so I looked into options for rooting and installing a custom ROM.

Of course I didn’t get far without encountering CyanogenMod. I’d read about this a while ago when researching rooting my HTC Desire, but that wasn’t an option then as the latest version of CyanogenMod didn’t support the Desire. However, I was excited to find out that the clever people at xda-developers have been working on the Nook HD+ for a while and have published some really helpful guides on how to backup and then replace the ROM using a spare Micro SD card (4GB capacity or more).

I recommend spending an hour or so to familiarise yourself with the instructions before diving in. In the meantime you can download the various files, some of which are fairly big. The actual process takes about an hour and at the end you’ll have completely replaced the original ROM (it’s backed up so you can restore if necessary, such as to sell later – although it might be worth more with the new ROM though!), so you can use the Micro SD card for something else or just more storage on the device.

All in all, well worth the time spent and it really does make the Nook HD+ a pleasure to use!

 

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