Rooting Directions for Sony Reader PRS-T1 (Video)

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Rooted Sony PRS-T1

If you’ve been eagerly awaiting directions on how to root the Sony PRS-T1, I’ve got good news. Rooting directions have been posted over on a Russian website, and you don’t even have to sacrifice the Reader’s stock functionality because that continues to work like normal.

The rooting package is still in its early stages, and I wouldn’t recommend it for beginners, but if you know your way around Android it provides for a good starting point. I managed to root my PRS-T1 in about 5 minutes, and I’ve got video proof below.

All I did was follow these directions. I used the second package, minimal root set 2. Download the file and unpack it, connect the Sony PRS-T1 to your computer and enter Data Transfer Mode, then double-click the file “flash_reader.bat” located in the downloaded folder. Select yes to proceed, then wait a few minutes until it asks to hit any key. The Reader will reboot and then it’s good to go.

It does not have Android Market or Google apps yet. And there’s very little memory to install apps. But at least it is progress.

The root package comes with the following apps pre-installed: AWDLauncher, SuperUser, Dropbox, AnySoftKeyboard, CoolReader, ColorDict3, Terminal, RootExplorer, Gallery3D, ColorPicker, PackageInstaller, and Calculator.

I was able to install the Amazon Appstore and Kindle for Android app using the pre-installed Dropbox app to transfer the apk file. The Kindle app works surprisingly well. Tapping the screen to turn pages refreshes normally without a lot of excessive flashing. Aside from the page buttons not working, all the features seems to work fine.

I couldn’t get Aldiko to install. And I briefly tried ezPDF Reader but the excessive screen flashing makes it painful to use. That’s one of the problems with the PRS-T1, the screen often refreshes way more than it needs to, causing an inordinate amount of black flashing.

It turns out the Sony PRS-T1 runs Android 2.2. The speed of operation on the rooted PRS-T1 is pretty quick. The page buttons usually don’t scroll the screen though, so that gets annoying. The rooted Nook Touch is a lot more functional at this point, hopefully the Sony PRS-T1 can catch up to it. The Sony offers a few perks over the Nook in that it supports audio and multi-touch, and has the hardware buttons.

I’ll post more about rooting the Sony PRS-T1 later in the week. Subscribe to keep updated. Here’s the link again for the directions:

Sony PRS-T1 Rooting Directions »

Please post your results if you decide to try root your Sony Reader.

Rooted Sony PRS-T1 Video Review

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37 Responses to “Rooting Directions for Sony Reader PRS-T1 (Video)”

  1. Nathan, good news indeed! I have been watching closely the Sony rooting thread at the-ebook.org regarding this. Now that he (“boroda”) added PackageInstaller things get even simpler when it comes to installing apps.
    Yet, I am torn now. I have been a Sony reader fan for a long while and I was all set to get new PRS-T1 especially given this rooting news. But with refurb Nook Touch at $74 (and no tax, at overstock) it is very tempting to go Nook Touch route first.
    Nathan, also what do you make of the reports (on the same site but in a different thread) that new Kindle screen seems too be much inferior than Sony in terms of contrast.

    http://www.the-ebook.org/forum/viewtopic.php?p=757447#757447

    Side by side comparison with all other main suspects puts Sony ahead as well:

    http://www.the-ebook.org/forum/viewtopic.php?p=758088#758088

    This is interesting (especially, comparing to new Kindle) since according to the specs it is supposed to be the same Pearl screen.
    Did you compare them side by side?

    • There’s no truth to that whatsoever. I have them both side by side right now and if anything the Kindle’s screen looks better because Amazon uses bolder fonts. There’s this weird phenomenon whenever a new ereader is released that makes people think the screen is better/worse than others when they are all exactly the same screen tech from the exact same company. Don’t trust pictures; there are too many variables involved.

  2. Hello,
    Could you show EZPDF running ? Is it worst than on the nook touch ?
    I saw your video with nook & EZPDF, with the “locked scrolling” option, it wasn’t all that bad.
    The original Sony app for reading PDF (Adobe) is flashing a lot too, when we scroll/zoom the page with fingers, and it lacks some important features.

    (In Adobe app if you scroll down a page with finger and you turn the page, then the next page will appear mapped at the same place you left the previous.
    So you need to re-scroll to the top of it, which is boring)

    thx

  3. could someone please try EBookDroid or VuDroidPlus and provide useful feedback for reading djvu files

  4. Is it possible to attach a USB keyboard to the Sony and use it to write notes? If so, where could I look for more information?

    Android 3.1 would work, but is Android 2.2 a limitation for this task?

    I would love to be able to write notes and articles on the Sony reader using a physical keyboard.

    • I doubt it, the kernel contains a comment in linux-2.6.35.3/drivers/usb/gadgets/fsl_udc_core.c

      that indicates, that there is no OTG support:

      /* Note: The driver has not include OTG support yet.
      * This will be set when OTG support is added */

  5. Nathan, at your convenience, can check to see if the app called JustReader (version 1.5) installs on this device and whether you can open an article.

    That app has become my favorite RSS reader. It doesn’t work properly on my rooted Nook Touch, so I want to see if works on the rooted Sony.

    • Sorry, no can do. I unrooted my Prs-t1 awhile ago because it messed with some things like making the browser not scroll with the page buttons. You should be able to find someone to test it at MobileRead.

  6. hello, just a question I have a PRS-T1 and I would like to root it to install a new homescreen,
    is it easy to unroot it?
    is there a risk to root it?
    when it is rooted , is the interface change from the original interface? or does it work as an unrooted?
    thanks

    • Yeah, un-rooting is just as easy as rooting. Here’s the directions. There are always risks involved when rooting, but this is one of the least risky rooting processes I’ve seen. The interface is the same, and you can use an Android launcher as shown in the picture.

  7. you said there is little bugs on the alternate prs-t1 homepage?
    (I would want to root it only to have abetter homepage)

  8. Can Sony PRS-T1 read .doc, .rtf files (routed or not)? Older version of Sony reader could read rtf files.

    • No, they dropped office files support with the T1. It still reads TXT, not sure about RTF, don’t have any on hand. Cool Reader comes with the rooting package and supports a ton of formats, including RTF and DOC.

  9. Thanks for your answer. I want to ask you one more thing.
    Can a reader bought in Canada to be used in Europe? I ask you because on the box of the reader i saw in Canada it is said that “Used of Reader Store is limited to residents of the United State and Canada”
    I understand that i can’t used reader store in my country, but all the other functions are working, right?

    • Yeah, the Sony Reader store is only open in the US and Canada right now, but the Reader works in other countries, just not the store. Sony sells the PRS-T1 in Europe too. They are supposed to be launching their ebookstore in the UK soon and other European countries in 2012.

  10. I’ve rooted my PRS-T1 and installed an older version (2.0) of the Kindle Reader software. It does work, but it just sits there and *continuously* flashes when you’re on the “Library” screen (this does stop if you touch a book and begin reading). Does this happen for other people are well?

    I was going to install the latest version of the Kindle Reader software (3.3), but it’s too big to fit in the available space, unfortunately.

    Thanks!

  11. Thanks Nathan… that did the trick! Ironically, 3.1 is actually a bit smaller than 2.0 (3.2MB vs. 3.5MB), but the current version (3.3) ballooned to 9.1MB… which is too big to install on the PRS-T1.

  12. whenever I open the amazon appstore it force closes
    also for some reason it only installed when I used dropbox instead of just downloading it
    -the latest version

    here’s a wiki with a list of working apps
    http://wiki.mobileread.com/wiki/PRST1_Rooting_and_Tweaks#Working_Apps

  13. hi,

    Concerning Justreader, is it possible thanks to it to read our rss feed “offline” ?

    I mean, you load all your feeds via the reader’s wifi (or via your PC) and then you can have access to them wherever you want without connecting to the internet. Possible or not?

    Thanks guys and gals

  14. I just downloaded the software minimal root set. I ran flash_reader.bat, and it seemed to go just fine. First asked me to select Y, and then press any key. Then the device restarted and… it is just the same as it was. No Android home screen, no option to select a different launcher, just the regular Sony e-book. Any ideas?

  15. Got the same result as Lindsay. I even restored factory settings and tried again and nothing. Quite frustrating! If anyone could help me out it would be much appreciated! Btw Nathan, great job with your site, its been a great help!

  16. “Concerning Justreader, is it possible thanks to it to read our rss feed “offline” ?”

    Yes, there are many settings that give you control over synchronization of your RSS feeds. However, since space is limited with a Rooted Sony PRS-T1, you have to be pretty select in the way you do it.

    Right now, I will open the articles that interest me, click the “Web” button, and it caches a a copy of the article locally. I then can read them later offline.

    If you have a standard Android tablet as well, it is best to get familiar with it there first.

  17. Awesome news… I’ve managed to root my reader! This morning tried the minimal root pachage on the mobileread wiki site and for no apparent reason it worked!

  18. Turns out the problem I was having during the process expanding the space for apps on my Sony, was attributable to a buggy Google Market app. I uninstalled Google Market and now either use Amazon.com’s android market or sideload the apps. Not everything installs or functions well, but I have installed a lot of apps. I also repurposed the turn page keys as volume keys which makes using JustReader much more smooth; of course the buttons don’t work now with Sony’s Reader app now, but everything is a tradeoff.

  19. Don’t know if it was mentioned already, but somebody modified the Aldiko app and I was able to install it using it:

    http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1878921&postcount=229

    P.S.
    I see the Greader app does pretty much everything the JustReader app does and better. IMO, there is a paucity of discussion on ebook blogs regarding these RSS reading apps.

  20. Rooting with the minimal root set somehow loses the contacts functionality. There is no contacts icon in the applications list There is a contacts.apk in one of the system folders but on the apk file leads to the message “not allowed.” I have installed the gmail app and the system is apparently synching my google mail, calender and *contacts*. I can even see a large file containing my contacts data. But for the life of me I cant actually access this data. Help!

  21. By the way, I could not get Android market to install properly either, but in case someone is interested, here is a workaround, assuming that you have an Android Froyo device with an SD card where market is working properly.
    1) Install the Astro file manager on the other device.
    2) Use the file manager to back up all your apps to your SD card. This will create a bunch of .apk files.
    3) Transfer the files to a PC and then from the PC to the SD of the reader.
    4)Click on the apk files in your reader and you are in business..

  22. Is there an option to read Hebrew EPUB on the Sony-T1?
    If there is no memory left so what is the reason to root the Sony?
    JD

  23. I only want folder support, not apps etc, how can I do that?
    Thank you for your help

  24. I’m using moonreader (pro) using less then half the size of the modified Aldiko.
    @ purcelljf, why to use aldiko then?

  25. The flash_reader.bat doesn’t work on my computer

  26. Hi Nathan, thanks for this. Very useful. It’s been 8 months now since you wrote this post. Would you say that the rooted Sony has gotten less buggy or is all still the same as before? Do you still recommend the rooted nook over the rooted sony?
    thanks

  27. Hi Nathan, thanks for this .. I’ll be rooting my old Sony soon. Seems easy, hope it works.

    It will be the first thing I root. I’ll post a comment on my progress.

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