Nook Tablet Dead?

Are all 7-inch tablets created equal?

About a month ago, I uploaded a video to YouTube comparing the Nook Tablet, the Kindle Fire, and the Nexus 7. I had just received the Nexus and I already had the other tablets so I decided that a comparison would be in order. I reviewed the Nexus in the same project. Yesterday, a user on YouTube responded that it appeared that I was ignoring the Nook Tablet. It got me to thinking about my response to that comment.

Response:

Compare 7" TabletsArticles on this site. The relative number of articles on this site may suggest where my emphasis is or has been. However, it is subjective due to the ability and/or need to provide my in-depth guidance. Consider how many articles I have on each of the three 7″ tablets:

  • In the KINDLE FIRE series, there are 4 articles (covering 10 months of ownership)
  • In the NOOK TABLET series, there are 13 articles (over my 6 month ownership)
  • In the NEXUS 7 series, there are 5 articles (covering 1.5 months ownership)

As you can see, I wrote a LOT more about the Nook Tablet than I wrote about the Kindle Fire and the Nexus 7 combined. And, of the 6 months that I owned it, it was bricked for more than two months.

Number of YouTube videos. My newest articles often have related videos on YouTube. So, here is a comparison of those videos:

  • Kindle Fire has 15 videos
  • Nook Tablet has 15 videos
  • Nexus 7 has 4 videos

Time spent on the Comparison Video.The YouTube comment was evidently dealing with the relative amount of time that I spent speaking about each tablet during the comparison. True, I probably did not spend as much time with the NT for several reasons:

  • I was excited about the Nexus because I had just received it
  • The display on the Nexus and the Fire just made the display on the NT look “washed out”
  • I had already given a LOT of video time to the NT

Whatup wid de Nook?

I like the Nook Tablet. I like that it has an SDCard slot (the other two do not). I like that you can boot from an OS located entirely on the SDCard. But, I have problems with the NT.

  • The first problem was that B&N produced two identical looking but incompatible devices (8GB & 16GB). The differences were a lot bigger than simply the amount of user storage space. That problem continues to this moment in that developers either do not understand or cannot cope with the 8GB device. Therefore, most of what works fine on the 16GB device fails on the 8GB version (which I have).
  • The second problem that I have with the device is that B&N still has not released some of the code needed for developers to create a usable 3.0 kernel. This is essential before the developers can create a stable Jelly Bean ROM for the device. The existing kernels are either based on an old 2.6 (Gingerbread) kernel or a new 3.0 kernel that crashes every few minutes. The KF has a 3.0 kernel that works great and the Nexus ships with that kernel.
  • The third problem has to do with quality control in manufacturing. The simple act of turning the device on after a full power off is inconsistent. My 8GB NT works properly but MANY users report that they must “tether” their device with the USB/power cable in order to get it to boot after a full power down. There may be other, similar issues as well.

Have I given up on the Nook Tablet? No, I still produce videos and guides for it. I had planned to produce a new video and guide for installing Jelly Bean on the NT, this week.  For an introduction to rooting and descriptions of other options, see our article… Intro to Rooting & Modding Nook Tablet.

Comparison

Back to the original question, “Are all 7-inch tablets created equal?” To which I would answer a resounding “NO!”

  • In the video (and certainly in real life), the display on my Nook Tablet (at 100% brightness) looks terrible compared to the Kindle Fire and the Nexus 7 (at 80% brightness). It was dim and washed out. Is it still usable? Certainly. I used mine for several months as my primary computing device. Only when I needed to do a lot of touch-typing did I switch to my laptop.
  • Although the Nook has an SDCard slot for external storage, Google’s services in the cloud and the new OTG function (see below) have diminished the need for external storage. That was one of my primary concerns when I was ordering the Nexus 7 but now that I have been using the Nexus for several weeks, I find that the SDCard slot is a non-issue.

More important features are MISSING on the Nook Tablet.

  • Voice input is a BIG deal (at least for me). During the hurricane, our house phone was out and the AT&T cell phones did not work. My Verizon MiFi gave us an Internet connection and I made and received phone calls on my Nexus 7 with VOIP/mobile using the GrooveIP app. Also, Jelly Bean leverages audio input for many of its newer functions. Granted, the NT does have a mic and SHOULD have audio input but until the kernel is fixed, it will not work.
  • GPS should be REQUIRED on all mobile devices now. It adds such a minor amount to the manufacturing cost but devices without it (including the NT) are crippled for many associated functions.
  • USB/OTG is the “new” SDCard slot – plus more. The Nexus ships with OTG (On The Go) which converts the USB connector on the device into a USB Host. It allows you to connect a wide selection of USB devices (storage, etc) via the standard MicroUSB connector. It is unclear whether the NT’s hardware will support this function or not.
  • Jelly Bean (Android 4.1) is absolutely essential for a tablet of any size.There are many new and exciting features in the newest version of Android. The Nexus 7 ships with Jelly Bean and the Kindle Fire has several custom ROMs that run JB and are very stable. My wife’s KF has been running a custom JB Rom for over a month without any issues. But nothing seems to work well on the Nook Tablet. The NT even has major issues trying to run a custom ICS ROM.

So, is the Nook Tablet dead?

It seems clear that the comment on YouTube was posted by someone who owns an NT. It is uncommon for users to have several devices (such as I do), but that is the VALUE of my posting such a comparison. Since that user owns the NT, they have a vested interest in it. I would too if I were in their shoes.

Is the Nook Tablet dead? NO. If you have an NT, then enjoy it. It is not diminished by the comparison with other devices. It will still do whatever it did before and look just as good. It is also possible that the kernel issues will be resolved and the developers will produce a good working JB ROM for it.

However, if you are in the market for a tablet, then you should be aware of the comparative functions & issues of all the devices. That was – and is – my intention.

Your comments are encouraged…

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8 Responses to Nook Tablet Dead?

  1. Fred LaVenuta says:

    I love my 8 GB NT but I bought an HD+ which has more features – better and larger screen, faster processor. Do you plan to “support” the HD+? I know XDA Forums has a section on the HD+ and iamafanof.wordpress.com is a good site but you can make a definite contribution to the HD+’s functionality.

    • Ray says:

      I bought a Nook HD+ just for that reason. Only, my wife now owns it and I hate to break it in order to build the guides. But I do intend to do some type of guide for the NHD+. Thanks for your comment!

  2. Mandie says:

    Hello Ray, I would like to start off by saying that the information you offer on your site is wonderful and is explained very well for the noobs (me being one of them). Next I would love some help with a question I have concerning the NT(8GB). I purchased one for $99 on a BF sale for my 14 yr old daughter for Christmas with intention of getting her a tablet that was better quality without the large price tag… Until researching the NT more I was unaware of it’s limitations, and I now see I will need to root the device. My question is do you still feel that JB roms are still proving unstable on the NT(8GB), and if so do you have any other recommendations for tablets without the large price tag?
    Thanks!!

    • Ray says:

      I have tried almost all of the smaller Android tablets – with the exception of the NEW Kindle Fire HD. You can see my article comparing them (in the series list above). My favorite is the Nexus 7 that is now priced at $199.

      My second favorite (after rooting) is the Kindle Fire. Although it has limitations, it does great with the Jelly Bean ROM.

      That said, the Nook Tablet is still a good tablet. With Jelly Bean, it is a little bit unstable so if you have to fix it for someone else, you probably would want to go back to an ICS or Gingerbread ROM. The GB ROM is VERY stable and would make an excellent gift. I was visiting my daughter for the holiday and she is still using (and enjoying) the Nook *COLOR* that I gave her a year and a half ago (rooted with GB or Froyo??).

      Just look at the Nook Tablet series of articles, start at the “Intro” article. Then make a choice and follow the guide. None of it is rocket science.

  3. Royce says:

    ROunning cm7 on my 8gb nook tablet from an sdcard boot. It works great but I’m having quite a few issues with bigger games crashing. No force close window or anything. I’m not sure if it’s the most up to date version of the ROM or anything and I’m just recently got into looking into running custom ROMa in the last couple weeks. The game I’m specifically trying torus is dead trigger.

    Just wondering if this is an issue due to the limited 512 mb of ram or if its the Nook just butting heads with the game or if there is a remedy to this issue.

    • Ray Waldo says:

      Not sure either. CM7alpha is outdated and unsupported.
      My recommendation is to root the device and install a custom rom on the internal memory (replacing the bn software.) CM7beta works on internal now. You could also choose CM9 or CM10 (Jelly Bean). Check the home Page for links.

  4. Plainfieldrob says:

    Ray – I sure would like that video for JB on the NT. Thanks as always for the great blog.

    Rob

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