Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Nook hack, and free, approved Kindle web-browser

There's been no little excitement the past week over the rooting of the Nook, allowing unofficial apps to be put on it, with the most wanted feature being a web browser (murky photo of success at left).

  Aside from AT&T's ability to restrict usage on it if there is a noticeable amount of activity (or B&N would have to pay through the nose for it), hacking the Nook is no piece of cake and would also void the warranty and call down the wrath of AT&T   :-).

  The irony is that all this work makes possible, on an e-reader, a capability that's been part of the Kindle package since the beginning (2007) and which is included in the $259 device -- the Amazon-approved web browser, slow but improved  over the last few months for 24/7 use anywhere you are (for free) if there is cellphone-type reception (Sprint and AT&T).

  Most reviewers don't mention this feature in comparison reviews or they dismiss it while many of us use it when on the streets and needing to look up text information quickly (restaurants, movie theater times, product reviews).
  It can be especially useful for those who haven't chosen to pay $30 to $50 monthly for web browsing on their smartphones.

  While most countries outside the U.S. don't have the web browser enabled, all Kindle countries allow 24/7 free access to Wikipedia from books, newspapers, etc., being read on the Kindle.
  No other e-reader offers anything like it.  See my tips for getting more out of the web browser, including a downloadable Kindle "book" file of mobile-unit optimized web sites, with links you can click on and go to with the Kindle.

[Apologies to Kindle Edition subscribers: the photos-section is not displayed
correctly by the Kindle Edition reader.

Here are, for those who haven't explored this, some samples from all three models, starting with the only-4-gray-levels Kindle 1, as well as for the 16-gray levels Kindle 2 and Kindle DX models.

This is the now almost 2-yr old Kindle 1, shown doing a google search at a cafe last year.

Here's my Kindle 2 posting to the mobile version of Facebook last May.

On the Kindle DX, this is a page from one of the regular, not mobile-version, Engadget pages shown.

A page from mobile-ESPN, on the DX.
  Also, photos of the Kindle 1 & 2 web browsers at ESPN and at an Oscar event
  Here's one maybe familiar sample in Landscape mode, as the DX does auto- or manual rotation for books, periodicals and PDFs.  The Kindle Int'l has a manual rotation mode, which allows for wider displays and somewhat larger font sizes.
The energetic mind behind the rooting of the nook is California high school student Robbie Trencheny.  Hear a The Kindle Chronicles Podcast audio interview by Len Edgerly with Trencheny, whose main website and Twitter pages are regular stopping places now for the Nookers.  That includes his guide to rooting the nook.

There's one other favorite Android feature enabled this week: Pandora.  Listening to a music station in the background would be great, but the wireless drain on the battery and the eventual recognition by AT&T of the constant-On use can work against it for long-term free use.
  With an SD card, you can insert a card with your favorite music in it and play that in the background.  From my Kindle music player experience, it does tend to run down the battery some though but it's worth it sometimes. Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle

(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
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