So I got a Nook Tablet so figured why not review it

on November 21st, 2011 by Richard Orelup in Development - General - Mobile App - Web tech
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I’ve never really felt a need to have a tablet. I’ve had an iPad around from basically the time they came out at work and it was never more than a giant Angry Birds player. I’d see others using theirs and anything they did other then games I already did with my laptop (and better because tablets aren’t really good devices for creating content.)

Lately though I’ve been working on a couple different projects that are mainly for end user consumption so I had been kicking around the idea of trying to make sure they work well on tablets as well. Overall I’m going to be doing most of my dev as “web apps” and not as native apps but I’d still like to be able play around with the native side. When most tablets were $400+ I didn’t really feel the need to get one, but with Amazon and BN both putting out cheaper ones I thought maybe I should give them a look. While normally I’d probably go for the Amazon model, I decided to give the Nook Tablet a try for a couple reasons I’ll get into here in a sec. Overall I’m pretty happy with it and am glad I bought it. Look forward to spending more time with it but here is my initial reactions.

Lets start off with the bad. The main reason I bought the Nook Tablet over the Fire was because of the increased hardware on the Nook. I cared about this mainly because I figured I would load a different ROM on it relatively soon and then it wouldn’t matter which I had. Sadly it seems that dream is going to be a bit off because unlike the Color, the Tablet isn’t as easily “root”-able which I had hoped it would be. Oh well, in time they will figure it out and really I don’t need right away as I’ve found a few other nice uses for it.

Another annoying issue is that BN decided to limit how much of the on-board memory you can use for “non-BN” files to 1 Gig. So if you wanted to upload more than 1 Gig of your own MP3’s to play on it you are out of luck. Now, this doesn’t apply to the microSD card that you can add in for extra storage but it’s still pretty weak that you are basically required to buy an SD card so you can store things that you should be able to on the device itself. The Rhapsody app won’t work unless you have an SD card in the device which is lame. But with that everything is fine.

Last real issue, you have to apply and get accepted to their developer program to be able to put your own development apps on your own device. I personally hate this concept. I should be able to do any dev I want on my own machine and you can care about it when I want to publish via your controlled channel. It’s not like I can release this to them some other way without making it a real pain to install. When I played with a Droid back when I first started playing around with mobile apps this was awesome and it’s really sad that it’s locked down.

Now for the good. Netflix looks amazing on it. I actually can have Rhapsody on it unlike my n900 so I can play my music from this device in the car. I threw a PDF book I have on it and the text is nice and clear and switching pages is nice. I setup email on it but I wouldn’t use it for that as it’s pretty weak as a client. I’ve also installed Evernote on it which I had tried in the past and didn’t much care for but this could be a nice way for me to make quick notes to myself.

Where this will really get use at is as a replacement for my “bathroom magazines” and actually allow me to keep up on my tech RSS feeds that I have been neglecting. With Linux Journal going online only I haven’t had any reading material of value, now I’ll have the latest and greatest news in there. I’m not happy with the 2 readers that are available as apps as you can’t group feeds. Also the store was pretty weak for trying to find a reader, I had to go to the web page to do a search for apps only and not get a million books on RSS.

Overall while I have some disappointments I think I’m going to enjoy having thing thing around. It’s going to make it a bit easier to keep up on my RSS feeds and maybe with a little playing of my own with apps I’ll be able to get the functionality I want out of it where it’s currently a bit lacking. Anyone else have or have thoughts on this?

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