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Thoughts and Experiences with the Nook from a ROM'ers point of view
So I picked my Nook Color 2 days ago and have had some time to play around with all the various rom options out there so I wanted to share some of my initial thoughts and experiences with the device.
I'm a pretty experienced ROM'er. I won't call myself an Android developer and most of these cool things the devs do I don't completely understand. That being said I have had a lot of experience working with the Droid X, HTC Eris, Viewsonic gTab and now the Nook Color.
First off let me say that out of all of the devices I have used the dev community that is springing up around the Nook Color is awesome. Stuff is changing daily, well literally nightly if you are using the CM7 Nightly builds. I also think it's awesome that B&N made the Nook almost un-brickable. The fact that it's got SD card boot priority means that in most cases, no matter how badly your screw things up you can just pop in a SD card with a recovery image and be back to stock. Trust me, I had to do it 3 times yesterday.
The design of the Nook is nice, form factor is great. Even the box is comes in is cool, not that that really matters but it does illustrate that B&N was going for quality. My gTab's box almost fell apart when I opened it. The weight and size is perfect for a tablet. Jerry said it before on a podcast episode, 10in tablet for two handed use, 7in tablet for one handed use. I couldn't agree more now having used both but I do wish he shared that tidbit of info before i got my gTAb
With the Nook there are 2 unique options when it comes to installing custom Roms, eMMC or internal memory or the SDcard.
I struggled with the pros and cons regarding which is better and finally settled on, it depends...
External: For when you are trying out a new rom and don't want to commit or if you are afraid of messing with the stock install. Usually External is the slower option unless you have a class 6 SD card or higher. I also suggest starting out with the external install until you are comfortable enough to blow away the stock OS.
Internal: Faster in most cases. You can save your SD card space for other things. The internal option just feels better to me but I wouldn't suggest using it until you are very comfortable with the flashing and recovery process. The steps you follow to install a custom rom on an external SD card is similar to the process you'd go through to recovery when/if you mess up something. So it's a good lesson to learn.
Roms I have tried and my thoughts;
Stock - I was VERY surprised with what B&N came up with for a UI overlay. It was fast, something I wasn't used to coming from MotoBlur on the DX. I can't say disliked anything about it other than It wasn't pure Android but that's not a bad thing. Stock just wasn't for me though. I got this thing to hack it up so I could get the most out of it.
Stock w/ Auto-Nooter (3.0 for 1.1) - Ok I was really blown away by this option. I ran it for about 8 hours and if it wasn't for the fact that I kinda knew I'd like CM7 more I would have stayed with this. Auto-nooter basically gives you root and access to all the gapps so you have a Nook + much of the common functionality available on your android phone. So you end up with an eReader first and access to the market and your email etc second. Might be perfect for some folks.
Froyo (Internal & External) - Froyo is awesome but at this point I just can't like the UI anymore. External ran very sluggish for me but I only have a class 4 sd card.
Honeycomb (Internal & External) - This is all the rage right? Ehhh..Cool to use outside of the SDKs emulator but overall it just didn't feel done. Kinda slow. That probably makes sense since it was based on a the preview SDK. When this is fully baked I'll be trying it again.
CM7 Nightly (Gingerbread) - This is the ROM I settled on. It's fast as hell. It's clean. It's updated all the time and CM literally has thousands of developers working on their stuff. For me this is about as close to cutting edge as I want to be. I still need this thing to work well when I need it. That being said, there are some issues with CM7. Check the list before installing.
So those are my thoughts and I hope that'll help folks that are thinking about taking the plunge. Overall this thing is great before you stop and think that it's ONLY $250 bucks. Well worth it if you are willing to spend the time to hack it up.
I'm even thinking about selling my gTab now