Hardware mod bypasses Nook Tablet’s locked bootloader

January 6, 2012
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This one is not for the faint of heart. After Barnes & Noble released the upgraded Nook Tablet in November, early buyers were surprised and angry to find a locked bootloader and a mere 1GB of user-accessible storage. Now a brave XDA modder has combined some of the latest software tricks with an actual physical modification of the main circuit board (remember those, console gamers?) to make a permanent custom kernel. Forum poster "hkvc" calls his solution NOP Based Security Bypass.

According to XDA's blog the method involves reverting the Nook Tablet to a previous version of Barnes & Noble software, booting from an SD card (as the origina lNook Color could do natively), then disabling security features on the internal RAMdisk hardware to boot a custom kernel. This requires disassembling the Nook Tablet almost completely, but the upshot is that just about anything should be possible with all the security bypassed. In theory, a mod chip could perform all these actions and allow for custom Android ROMs and other modifications.

The low price and relatively wide-open security of the Nook Color made it a favorite for Android modders, but Barnes & Noble has made enemies in the mod community with its locked-down policy on the Nook Tablet. When an easy way to install third-party apps was discovered, Barnes & Noble patched in in the next software update, making basic software mods almost impossible for casual users. Here's hoping that this extreme hardware hacking leads to a more accessible avenue for more pedestrian Nook Tablet owners.

[device id=2012]


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  • Bsellards

    Just bought a nook tablet, it won’t work on my network as it needs 8 charters for network password . I have 2 notebooks, an iPad, a printer, a nook color, and a phone. All on my network of 6 character password. B&N support wants me to change the setup (reconfigure) on all these devices as I only have 6 characters as assigned by AT&T.

    Will be returning this today.