Nook GlowLight Plus Runs Android 4.4 KitKat – Will it get Rooted?


Nook GlowLight Plus Angled

There’s an interesting detail buried at the bottom of the fact sheet for the new Nook GlowLight Plus that Barnes and Noble released today.

It turns out the new Nook runs Android 4.4 KitKat. It’s locked into B&N’s custom Nook user interface, of course, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be opened up to be more like an E Ink tablet that can install and run multiple ereading apps.

Every generation of E Ink Nooks that have been released up until now have been rooted. There are always people who want to reclaim the underlying versatility of the Android operating system to install apps and make custom changes.

There’s already this thread at the XDA forums with people wanting to root the Nook GlowLight Plus.

The fact that the new Nook runs Android 4.4 means it should draw some interest from developers. The older Nooks ran Android 2.1, which is so old and limited that not many people bother with it anymore, but going all the way up to Android 4.4 is a pretty significant jump.

The lack of a memory card slot is a bit of a downer, though. But the 300 ppi screen is a definite plus in the Nook’s favor.

There are other E Ink ebook readers that run Android and don’t require hacking to install apps, such as the Boyue T62 and the Onyx Boox C67ML. Both run Android 4.2 and have frontlights and memory cards, but they don’t have 300 ppi resolution screens.

13 Responses to “Nook GlowLight Plus Runs Android 4.4 KitKat – Will it get Rooted?”

  1. My wife is currently using a rooted Nook Simple Touch. This might be worth a look for me if it gets rooted. I have been looking at the few other Android e-readers but being able to get it from a local business is a big plus to me.

  2. If it can, I might actually buy it. I scratched the screen of my rooted Nook Glowlight, and I miss it. With no SD card slot, this device wasn’t appealing to me, but if I could root, I’d consider it.

    This leads to a question you may or may not want to host: Would giving consumers more open freedom on devices in the first place be a good move for manufacturers?

    • The most money is made through content sales on ereaders, not device sales, so there isn’t much incentive for companies to release open ereaders because it’s not a viable business model if they can’t profit off the content sales. Ereaders aren’t mainstream enough like tablets are where smaller companies can get by on device sales alone. Amazon already controls 74% of the ebook market in the US so that doesn’t help.

      • What about in the future of the market, though, if and when they become mainstream? What if a company could produce an ereader that was inexpensive to make that could also bring in consumers by giving them more choices?

        There are different things I like about different ebook ecosystems, but my favorite thing was being able to customize exactly what I wanted on my Nook, and yet not have to deal with the bulk and distractions of my whole tablet.

        • The problem is about 85% of the ebook market is controlled by Amazon and Apple. They both have their own proprietary formats and hardware. No one else can make an ereader that supports their ebooks, especially Apple. Amazon’s Kindle app can be installed on other E Ink ereaders that run Android, but the app isn’t meant to display on E Ink so it only half works, and not nearly as well as a dedicated Kindle. No one can control Amazon’s app but Amazon. They aren’t likely to develop it so that competitors can use it on other ebook readers.

          • I’m aware of the ownership of the ebook market, and that Amazon owns the Amazon app. I think we both know that there are measures some readers are taking that are not strictly playing by those rules, though. The music industry has changed significantly since certain user breakthroughs. . . I wonder if the ereader market could also evolve over time if users discover that it’s possible to demand another experience.

            Or, certainly, those two companies could control 85% of the market for eternity.

          • You’re right. If ebooks ever dropped all the DRM restrictions that could really open things up for more hardware options. That’s probably about the best thing that could happen to ebooks. Hopefully someday that does indeed come to fruition.

  3. Saw the Nook Glowlight+ today at BN, first impressions:

    Pro’s
    Very nice looking with a premium feel and hold, much nicer than my Voyage and especially Paperwhite. It has a flush screen like the Voyage but with the Paper feel of the Paperwhite screen which I like. It makes it feel more like a book and eReader as opposed to the Tablet like feel of the Voyage.
    Con’s
    It is only available in white. It has a blue light, not white, not sepia, but BLUE. I thought it was defective until i confirmed it with the second device they had on display, this was disappointing. I can’t see myself reading on a blue screen. The contrast is washed and does;t compare to the superior contrast of the Voyage, it’s even worse than the Paperwhite and that’s bad. Words look blurry on every font I tried, some fonts were darker than others and the words were crooked when compared side by side with the Bookerly font on my Voyage. Light adjustment can’t be accessed unless you exit the book you’re reading and go to main settings.
    Line Spacing is off, either it’s too crammed or too spaced out. There is no perfect spot. Also words go to far to the edges and it looks a hot mess.
    I only played with it for about 5 mins before I decided to pass on it. I mean it does look way better than my Voyage on hardware, like a lot better but unfortunately I don’t like the White color and the Software, font’s, contrast and layout all suck in comparison to the Voyage.

    • Unfortunately B&N never really has done much to improve the software on their Nook ereaders. Not much has changed since the first Nook Touch was released back in 2011.

  4. According to this thread, http://forum.xda-developers.com/nook-touch/general/nook-glowlight-plus-t3230323, one has been rooted already, though at this point the device has to be opened to achieve this. The folks at XDA are working on a ‘root’ procedure that does not require opening the device.

  5. According to that same thread you actually don’t need root access to run sideloaded apps… Meaning launchers and reading applications already work out of box. I think this makes the nook glowlight+ a very compelling option currently

  6. I received a Nook Glowlight Plus purchased off Ebay on 3/29/2016. I had it rooted and set up similarly to my Nook Simple Touch Glowlight within 4 hours. It can be rooted without opening it using the procedure noted here:

    http://forum.xda-developers.com/showpost.php?p=64191791&postcount=153

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