Nook Tablet Field Report

I bought a new Nook Tablet last week.  A link to its product page is here.  The bottom line is that it’s a good device despite some limitations.  My perspective for this post is not to provide yet another product review.  You can find those from CNET, Engadget, PC Magazine, and MSNBC.

This post will be focused on its practical use by a business guy.  Its entertainment value is not a primary concern of mine but it’s nice to have.  My main business needs are:

  • A very portable, expandable device for business research
  • Capable of storing large amounts of content (documents, images, etc.) of all types
  • Capable of capturing and sharing notes and ideas
  • A larger screen that my cell phone
  • Capable typing at moderate speed
  • Longer battery life than my laptop
  • Less expensive than the current crop of ($500+) 10” tablets
  • Compliments my other portable devices (Sprint/Google Nexus S cell phone and Dell Inspiron Duo Windows 7 laptop).  A link to the Dell post is here.

Some time ago I bought my daughter a Nook Color.  She wanted it for the children’s book selection at Barnes and Noble.  When it comes to something for my granddaughter, grandpa is all over it.  As I was setting it up I was struck that while it was a little sluggish, it was a decent, inexpensive little tablet.  When the Nook Tablet was announced I got interested in what it could do for me.  There is a dual boot micro SD card available for the Nook Color that turns it into a regular Android tablet.  A link to its site is here.  When I contacted them to confirm that their software would also allow dual booting of the Tablet, they said they couldn’t confirm that until they got a Tablet for testing.  Some product reviews I found said that the Tablet ROMs were locked down and would probably prevent dual booting.  Not being able to dual boot was a disappointment but wasn’t a deal killer.  I was able to find an alternative strategy on the XDA Developers forum.  That link is here.

So I picked up my new Tablet last week and started setting it up.  It is definitely not focused on business use.  While it’s built on Android 2.3.x Gingerbread, it uses an early release because versions above 2.3.4 support Exchange email servers.  I know because my phone came with 2.3.4 and it did.  The version that comes with the tablet does not.  You have to buy a slimmed down Touchdown client to get it.  The browser is adequate but does a miserable job managing bookmarks.  It doesn’t support folders which is a big deal for me.  I have collected several thousand bookmarks over the years and wanted to get most of them over to the tablet.

The procedure I found on the XDA site got me a Go Launcher that I can boot up after using the native tablet Search tool (search for “launcher” and it comes up as one of the hits).  Just touch the name and it loads that launcher.  I was also able to get an Amazon Market app installed which allows me to get other apps.  Their widgets can only be loaded on the Go Launcher and not the Nook launcher.  That’s a little inconvenient but gives me access to dramatically more apps than I could get on the Nook app store (link is here).  Remember that apps that you download from Amazon have not been validated for the Nook Tablet.  While I’m not having many issues, I am having some.  None of them are deal killers so I’m happy with them.

My next post will cover day to day use and how I’m managing all my mobility choices.  In closing, I want to emphasize that I am very happy with my Nook Tablet.  I know I am not their target market so having to do some unusual things is not a major problem for me.  The tablet is solid and expandable (my 32 gig card is in transit to me now).  I now have a device that meets all the needs I listed above.  I hope this post has been useful.  Stay tuned for the follow up post on this topic.

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