Kobo Aura HD Dual-Boot Android Hack Tutorial


Kobo Aura HD Android

Last week I posted a video showing the Kobo Glo hacked to run Android. Now I’ve got Android running on my Kobo Aura HD too, and it’s even better because I used the dual-boot hack that enables the option to boot either the internal stock Kobo operating system or the Android operating system from a microSD card.

The dual-boot hack is the better option because it’s like having two devices in one. You can use the Kobo operating system, called Nickle, or Android at any given time. Plus there’s less chance that you’ll break your device because you don’t have to take it apart to swap out the internal memory card, like what happened to my Kobo Glo—the power switch stopped working after I took it apart.

To get Android on the Kobo Aura HD, all I did was follow these directions on Angor’s blog.

The process is straightforward and is easy to accomplish, especially if you’ve ever installed any of the other Kobo hacks, such as adding night mode or multi-touch. You don’t really need any technical know-how. You basically just have to download a few files, extract them, and move them onto the Kobo device.

There used to be links to dual-boot hacks for the Kobo Glo and Kobo Touch in the article, but they’ve since been removed and are now only in the comments section so I’m not sure if this works on those two devices or not. The Kobo Aura HD is the only one that I’ve heard about dual-boot working.

Here’s my take on how to install the dual-boot Android hack onto the Kobo Aura HD. But first you might want to checkout my review and video review of the dual-boot hack showing it action.

Warning: I have found that this Android software is very unstable on the Kobo Aura HD and don’t recommend installing it unless you are very tech-savvy and have lots of patience for fixing problems.

Kobo Aura HD Dual-Boot Android Hack

Summary

  1. Write Android image to microSD card.
  2. Install first patch.
  3. Install dual-boot patch (takes 15-20 minutes).
  4. How to choose operating system to boot.

Step #1

First, you need an 8GB or larger microSD card. Then you need to connect it to your computer using a card reader or adapter.

Then download the Android image for the Kobo Aura HD here or here. Extract the file on your computer; inside you will find the Kobo Android image file. Now you need to write that file to a microSD card.

I always use WinImage for this, or you can use Flash Drive Image Writer, as Angor’s directions suggest.

With WinImage, you need to run the program as administrator with Windows. Then select Disk > Restore virtual hard disk image on physical drive. Then select your microSD card from the list and proceed to choose the Kobo image file that you just downloaded and extracted (on my computer I have to select to view all files because it only lists .vhd by default). It takes quite awhile to finish writing the image.

When that’s finished, go ahead and put the memory card in the Kobo Aura HD and move onto the next step.

Step #2

Plug the Kobo Aura HD into a computer with a USB cable and select to connect it to the computer to transfer files.

Download this first patch file (fix-udev-tgz.zip). Then extract it. Place the extracted file (KoboRoot.tgz) in the .kobo folder on the Kobo Aura HD.

Safely disconnect your Kobo from the computer. It will automatically restart on it’s own after a few seconds.

Step #3

Repeat step #2, but use this different file this time: main patch (dualboot-android-aurahd.zip).

Extract the file. Inside there are three items this time instead of one. Move all of them into the .kobo folder on the Kobo Aura HD, then safely disconnect and the device will automatically restart again.

This time it will take 15-20 minutes for the Aura HD to boot. This is because it is creating a backup file of the internal operating system. This gets placed on the Android microSD card in a folder called .KoboBackup.

Step #4

The Kobo Aura HD will automatically boot the stock Kobo operating system upon boot; you don’t have to do anything. To boot Android instead, you need to hold the frontlight button immediately after turning the device on.

The timing is a bit tricky at first. And the device has to be turned on from a powered-off state, not sleep, to activate Android.

The Kobo screensaver says whether the device is sleeping or powered off at the top of the screen. You just have to hold the power slider for a couple extra seconds to get the device to power off instead of sleep.

Then to activate Android, hold down the frontlight button as you turn the device on.

An Android logo appears when you do this correctly. The Kobo system shows five dots when it boots.

Source: Angor’s blog

29 Responses to “Kobo Aura HD Dual-Boot Android Hack Tutorial”

  1. What version of Android does it run?

  2. Hi,

    Interesting stuff. But can you install Aldiko or Mantano to run on this Android setup?

    That would be my only objective for turning the Kobo Aura Hd into an Android device.

    Thx.

  3. Nathan, please try the Scribd app! It needs 2.3.3 so it should work, theoretically.

    • I’d say that’s a no on Scribd. It installs and opens but then it made my Aura HD’s frontlight suddenly go haywire and start flashing on and off. Then the Aura HD froze up completely and the battery instantly went from 40% to 0%.

      Aldiko wouldn’t install either.

      I’m finding that Android on Kobo devices just isn’t very good and is ridden with problems. A hacked Nook Touch works so much better.

  4. Thank you SO much for trying. Saves me the trouble!

  5. hello,
    thanks for guide
    I used a 16GB memory card and after I restored the image into mmc, I have that only 8GB are now visible on memory card.
    There is a way to extend the space available to the full size of memory card ?
    Thanks

  6. Matteo, no there is no way, as the hidden part is the actual operating system that has the android installed. The space is still used whether your are booted into android or not.

    If you need more space, get a 32gb card, then you will have about 24gb free.

  7. I think I did everything, and the last reboot lasted 20 minutes, so presumably a backup was made. But when I try to boot with the backlight pressed, the screen remains blank.

    Now if I try to make a new android image, the backup will be lost.

    Paai

  8. Hi!

    Does anyone have idea how to get Android on new Kobo Aura H2O? It has only one button for power.

    Thanks!

    • Android on the Aura H2O is probably never going to happen for a number of reasons. Android on Kobo devices runs so crummy it’s not worth the effort anyway, IMO. You’d be much better off with an ereader that runs Android natively like the Onyx models.

  9. Any way to undo/uninstall this? Really curious to try it out, but I want to be able to revert it after installing Android on it.

  10. I assume this is not possible for a kobo touch…?

  11. Hi,
    I’m finally making some headway on this. However, I tried to activate (“hold down the frontlight button as you turn the device on.”) by holding down the ‘home’ button (as there is no fortnight button on the Touch), it did a factory reset (grrr)! How can I activate on the Touch?
    Many thanks 🙂

  12. Is it possible to install Android on the Kobo Glo HD? It would be really great!!

  13. Hi Nathan, just a question… the dual boot patch file (fix-udev-tgz.zip) will works on KOBO MINI?

  14. Kobo Mini have a memory card slot inside, easy to access.

    • True. But this hack was designed to work with the external microSD card on the Aura HD so I doubt it would work on the mini. Android is so awful on Kobos that it’s not worth the trouble, imo.

  15. Ok, thanks to letting me know, all the best!

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