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Android Handhelds Hardware Hacking Build

B&N Nook Successfully Opened 275

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the can't-wait-to-see-what's-next dept.
garg0yle writes "A team has managed to open the Barnes and Noble Nook e-reader, gaining full access to the operating system. From the article: 'The Nook is now a computer running a full Android operating system, with a built-in, free cellular connection to the internet. It also has a battery that lasts days, not hours.' They are documenting their progress on the Nook Devs wiki."
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B&N Nook Successfully Opened

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  • by Abalamahalamatandra (639919) on Monday December 14, 2009 @12:50PM (#30432470)

    What does the FCC care? It's still compliant, even if it's hacked.

    I daresay the wireless carrier will be a bit ticked though, but they should have seen it coming. If the data connection this thing uses isn't firewalled to only talk to the B&N servers it's their own fault.

  • by D3 (31029) <daviddhenningNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday December 14, 2009 @12:52PM (#30432500) Journal
    Add another device to your overladen 3G network!
  • by Raxxon (6291) on Monday December 14, 2009 @12:56PM (#30432544)

    Welcome to the Arms Race, Android and Nook. Enjoy your stay.

    Now I have to get one of these, mod it, install the teathering package that I have on my G1 and I'm set... Read books AND provide random WiFi Hotspot...

    Who's going to make the Android App that will allow me to use this thing to track my D&D 3.5/4.x character? ;)

  • by pikine (771084) on Monday December 14, 2009 @12:57PM (#30432576) Journal
    If you do this, your Nook will be openly accessible to anyone who port-scanned your Nook and found that port 5555 is open.
  • We've been down this road before [slashdot.org].

    Don't do that. Pushing the connection to carry things it wasn't meant to is pretty much theft of service, and it will get pushback from rightfully upset providers, and maybe more from policymakers who see hackers who can't behave themselves.

    Do what you'd like with the devices and/or media that you've purchased, but recognize that there's a line of fairness and don't cross it.

  • Not really (Score:5, Insightful)

    by electricbern (1222632) on Monday December 14, 2009 @01:00PM (#30432618)
    If those 3G connections are not VPNed exclusively to B&Ns servers that is criminally stupid. If they are, then there is no big deal here, they just showed how you can get full access to a device you purchased. The way it should be.
  • Re:Holy crap. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by OldeTimeGeek (725417) on Monday December 14, 2009 @01:01PM (#30432636)
    This begs the question of why we don't already have netbooks this awesome, with free internet and days of battery life.

    Because, in the case of the Kindle and Nook, the cost of the wireless connection is subsidized by book sales. There will be no additional purchases to subsidize Netbook access so what purpose would it serve a manufacturer to have it bundled in?

  • MicroSD card? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by adamdoyle (1665063) on Monday December 14, 2009 @01:02PM (#30432654)
    They used an open source operating system and stuck in on a removable (albeit internal) MicroSD card?? It's almost as though they wanted it to be hacked. And then they just implemented it with a SIM card (which makes me think the AT&T network abstracts it as a standard cell phone). I wonder what happens if you stick that SIM card in a cellphone (probably doesn't work or else it would've been in the article). Still... I think we all know this won't last for long
  • by tepples (727027) <tepples@gmaiBLUEl.com minus berry> on Monday December 14, 2009 @01:05PM (#30432682) Homepage Journal

    This begs

    raises

    the question of why we don't already have netbooks this awesome, with free internet

    Subsidized by book sales, as OldeTimeGeek pointed out.

    and days of battery life.

    Netbooks can view YouTube. Readers with electronic paper displays can't.

  • Re:Holy crap. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by benjamindees (441808) on Monday December 14, 2009 @01:06PM (#30432700) Homepage

    This begs the question of why we don't already have netbooks this awesome, with free internet and days of battery life.

    Future value of money, basically. Anything that can be subsidized and supported by a subscription model will be of superior quality whenever the interest rate on lending is >0%. Razors and blades. This is the essence of human capital. Why invest in production or technological improvement when you can invest in locking-in future consumers?

  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Monday December 14, 2009 @01:10PM (#30432752)

    Sorry, but it doesn't work that way. See the problem is cellular Internet costs money. Even if you don't think corporations should be allowed to make a profit, it is still going to cost money. You have to have a large network of radio towers to broadcast the signal, those have to be wired back in to a robust network to route the data, which has to be connected to the Internet at large. Of course all that doesn't maintain itself once built, things break, people need to fix it and look after it.

    That all costs money, as such, access is going to have to cost money.

    So, why is access "free" on things like the Kindle and Nook? Well it isn't. What happens is that Amazon or Barnes and Noble pick up the cost. There are two reasons they can do this:

    1) Usage is low. Since access is used only for searching for, or downloading, new books as well as a smattering of other things like news, it isn't all that much. That means they aren't having to pay out a whole lot per device.

    2) A large part of the usage has a profit associated with it, namely buying books. Thus each time you use the wireless to get a book, they make some money.

    This leads to a situation where it is feasible to offer it to customers at no charge.

    However, if you start using it as general purpose Internet, to browse whatever you want, to download files, to play games, that breaks down. Suddenly cost goes up a whole lot, and less (or perhaps none) of the activity generates any money. As such it can't be sustained. They have to restrict it, shut it down, or charge.

    Things in life aren't free. If you think everyone should just give everything away, well that shows a real lack of understanding of how the world works (and a good indication you've never had to provide for yourself).

  • by dr_strang (32799) on Monday December 14, 2009 @01:19PM (#30432888)

    This is why we can't have nice things.

  • Re:Not really (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chyeld (713439) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .dleyhc.> on Monday December 14, 2009 @01:19PM (#30432890)

    No that's ethically brilliant and something I plan on rewarding them for with my dollars.

  • by Moridineas (213502) on Monday December 14, 2009 @01:30PM (#30433020) Journal

    Hmm, that's a lot of ad hominems and anger in response to a post that was completely correct!

    As the GP said, the reason Kindle/Nook are allowed free access to the cell networks is because Amazon and B&N reached an agreement with the cell networks to provide a certain level of service at a certain cost point. I don't think either Amazon or B&N whoever are currently interested in making the Kindle or Nook general purpose computers with tiered pricing schemes, etc, and I'm absolutely certain that the terms of the deals they reached with e.g. Verizon would be VERY different if this was the model they were pushing. In other words, it would completely change the cost structure of the Kindle and Nook for the consumer.

    The products are locked down so that this doesn't happen. Do I like it? No. I also don't plan on getting a Kindle or Nook. It's silly to believe that fundamentally changing the nature of the Kindle or Nook wouldn't fundamentally change the price structures involved (and probably making it less attractive to many consumers)

    If the devices were open to begin with, they'd be a lot more expensive.

  • Re:How soon (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 14, 2009 @01:32PM (#30433050)

    Why' d'o people's 'feel t'he ne'ed 'to' 'p'u't an' apo'strophe i'n 'every plur'al word's?

  • by eepok (545733) on Monday December 14, 2009 @01:32PM (#30433060) Homepage
    No... not really. Any "fault" comes from those actually hacking the Nook. I mean, unless it's your fault you got stabbed in the face walking down the street because you didn't bother to wear a steel mask.

    Just-World Fallacy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Just-world_phenomenon [wikipedia.org]
  • by Homer1946 (1160395) on Monday December 14, 2009 @01:41PM (#30433152)
    I think the point is, there ARE other products that provide general computer functionality with a cellular connection.

    The Nook is an eBook reader and that is all is aspires to be. That is it's business model. There is room in this world for specialized devices (they don't ALL have to all be general purpose) and I certainly think companies should have the option of creating special business arrangements (such as a constant cellular connection supported by book purchases) to support those devices.

    Of course AT&T will lock this down. That is the right think to do so that those people who DO want a device such as this is, will be able to get it.
  • by quickOnTheUptake (1450889) on Monday December 14, 2009 @01:43PM (#30433188)
    no but it might be your fault when your car gets stolen if you left it running while you were shopping. Especially if you also put a big red sign on top that said "UNATTENDED RUNNING CAR".
  • by Rob the Bold (788862) on Monday December 14, 2009 @01:47PM (#30433238)

    However, if you start using it as general purpose Internet, to browse whatever you want, to download files, to play games, that breaks down. Suddenly cost goes up a whole lot, and less (or perhaps none) of the activity generates any money. As such it can't be sustained. They have to restrict it, shut it down, or charge.

    Things in life aren't free. If you think everyone should just give everything away, well that shows a real lack of understanding of how the world works (and a good indication you've never had to provide for yourself).

    If this is a free market, then as a consumer it is none of my concern how the supplier intends to make money. Nor is it my responsibility to use a product in such a way as to maintain the supplier's sustainability. This does not make me a crook. I'm merely trying to maximize the deal for myself. If this seems somehow unethical, consider that the same applies to the supplier. They need not concern themselves with such things as whether or not their products benefit society as a whole or whether a customer can really afford to buy such an offering.

    So anyway, consumer wanting as much as possible for as little as he can is 1/2 of what makes a free market free. That doesn't make customer or supplier immature. To say otherwise shows a lack of understanding of the free market and an indication of a lack of sophistication as a consumer -- sorry, couldn't resist the symmetrical dig ;)

    Perhaps if all consumers and all suppliers were to take the long view, the socially responsible view, that might be good. But without laws to enforce this on all parties (and restrict the free market), I just can't afford to put myself at a competitive disadvantage vs. suppliers or other consumers. Can't feed my family or pay the bills with smug self-satisfaction or inner holiness.

  • by tixxit (1107127) on Monday December 14, 2009 @01:52PM (#30433284)
    This device doesn't have some super superior battery tech. It gets its longevity from the fact that 99% of the time the user is looking at the e-ink display, so the LCD can be turned off. If the LCD is always on, you can bet the battery life will sharply decline.
  • by eepok (545733) on Monday December 14, 2009 @01:52PM (#30433290) Homepage
    Again, wrong. The fault lay with the thief. Things do not steal themselves. A running car at an intersection does not skip away merrily. The thief is the cause and catalyst... the fault lay with the thief. (Such is why we don't prosecute victims of crime.)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 14, 2009 @01:55PM (#30433318)

    One was successfully bought. I tried weeks before they were to hit the stores and the preorders were already into January and I was informed none would be in stores until after the first of the year. The scalpers seemed to have got their hands on them and for $750 to $800 you could buy one on Ebay. I said screw it and bought my niece a Kindle.

  • Re:How soon (Score:5, Insightful)

    by morari (1080535) on Monday December 14, 2009 @02:05PM (#30433426) Journal

    Ph'nglui Mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn!

  • Re:Holy crap. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bb5ch39t (786551) on Monday December 14, 2009 @02:08PM (#30433456)
    you can't use money you don't have to make more money.

    Unless you're the Feds.

  • by Spatial (1235392) on Monday December 14, 2009 @02:17PM (#30433528)
    I think both views are far too abstract and simplified to be of any practical use. Blame isn't a true/false value that can only be assigned to a single entity.

    On one hand, it's somewhat witless to leave a car like that. On the other, stealing it is a despicable thing to do. Both the situation and action are necessary so the blame for the incident goes to both. Since the action is far worse than the situation, the blame is very heavily weighted towards the criminal.

    Even that's too simplified. But you get the idea.
  • by Chyeld (713439) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .dleyhc.> on Monday December 14, 2009 @02:23PM (#30433624)

    A Nook without a warranty, with an Android OS, and where the system is stored on a commodity memory card vs a ROM or proprietary storage method. A device that hasn't been TIVO'ed into only accepting signed system files, and which uses an OS with an active development community. For $300.

    How worthless, how worthless indeed.

    Free wireless means squat to me, I'm not a traveling man, I'm either at work or at home 90% of my life.

  • You (and AndersOSU) definitely have a point. Specialized devices definitely should have a market.

    The current problem is that I (and obviously a few others) really would like a netbook with an e-ink screen. There currently isn't a device for sale (that I am aware of) that provides this. But there are devices for sale that could provide this.

    The problem we have isn't with them providing a niche product, it's that there isn't an equivalent general purpose product available. The only current way to solve that problem is to open up a niche product.

    Amazon and B&N are in a market where there is a demand that is not being fulfilled, and I think they'll both regret not fulfilling that demand when open devices start being built and they (possibly) become more popular than either of their niche products.

    Until then, they have the problems of being in a market where people have to create their own solutions.
  • by eepok (545733) on Monday December 14, 2009 @02:31PM (#30433742) Homepage
    Gotta disagree. The act would not happen on its own without the actor (the criminal). In every single crime, someone must act to make the crime happen.

    You're confusing the concepts of "accident" where variables outside of control/observation come together to create an unfortunate circumstance.

    No one accidentally steals a running car. No one accidentally hacks a Nook thus subjecting a company to many new costs. Those situations require people with intent to create them. Those people with intent are at fault for any ill-effects of their actions. Not the victims.

    It is not your fault if you get shot in the leg and robbed while walking down a street. You shouldn't be *surprised* if it happens while you're wearing expensive clothing while walking in a war zone, but the fault lay with the person choosing to harm you.
  • by aicrules (819392) on Monday December 14, 2009 @02:39PM (#30433856)
    Buying a nook is not buying a 3G wireless data connection to the internet. It's buying a 3G wireless data connection to buy B&N ebooks. Hack the hardware all you want, but if you use that hardware to get a service you haven't paid for, that's just like stealing TV. Yes, you can choose to steal, but you have to be ready to live with the consequences if you get caught. If you're having to steal 3G internet access to be able to feed your family, you're a fucking idiot for wasting your time trying to steal 3G internet access rather than getting a job.

    Giving things away is not socially responsible, and definitely not fiscally. If no one ever pays for anything, no one has a reason to maintain it and your free 3G network would very quickly be overwhelmed and be burnt to a crisp.
  • by eepok (545733) on Monday December 14, 2009 @02:41PM (#30433874) Homepage
    Most definitely, they should see it coming. I'm not saying they shouldn't be surprised. Everything gets cracked. However, "fault" is a very particular word. Fault attributes "cause of harm". In such a case, the potential cause of harm is not the maker of the nook, but the people that find and implement exploits of their products.

    This is why it's irrational for a child to be at blame for abuse. For example: A child in poor circumstance may reliably be beaten when he doesn't do his chores. If one day, he decides to refrain from doing his chores and gets beaten, where does the blame, or fault, lay? With the child-- the victim of the crime? Or with the person who beats the child?

    The fault is the the person who beats the child. The child, understanding his circumstance, should not be surprised when he gets beaten, but it's the external actor, the "beater" who is at fault for causing harm to the child.
  • by quickOnTheUptake (1450889) on Monday December 14, 2009 @03:38PM (#30434502)
    I'm not saying the thief doesn't bear fault. But giving someone an unnecessary opportunity does give a person some of the blame.
    For example, if I setup a mail server, and don't take even the simplest precautions to secure it (so it is a wide open smtp relay), who is my boss going to blame when his mail keeps bouncing because we have been blacklisted as a spam bot? The guy(s) who actually exploited us? Or me for leaving the front door open to them in a way that would certainly lead to us sending spam?
  • I, OTOH would like a eInk screen without a damn cellular modem, or wifi, or anything that increases the by 100 dollars costs for the dubious ability to instantly download books. Give me a damn USB connection.

    I survived decades during which I had to go to the library or bookstore to get books, I think I can continue to exist while not having the ability to instantly buy them. So don't talk to me about 'niche' markets. Mine doesn't exist yet, for some reason.

    However, what we're talking about here is the fact the product has the technical capacity to do something (Surf the internet, run random programs), which it won't do, apparently. That's not the same thing.

    'Niche' products that are sold from cheaper that are deliberately crippled is a failure of the free market. They should not exist in any sort of competitive marketplace, from which we can conclude the eReader market is not competitive yet. If the market was competitive, the manufacturers would be screaming from the rooftops about the ability to run whatever you want on the device.

    Of course, if this catches on, expect the people here actually bothered by the free data plan (AT&T) to put some sort of cap on. No one promised free unlimited data when you purchased the devices, you were promised that you could download books via the cellular network, and AT&T could, entirely reasonably, limit you to about a meg a day...no one could possibly read more than that. Or, even easier, just lock access to the right servers.

    But, even so, there's no real reason to stop people from running random programs on the devices.Yes, yes, there's DRM, but if you can make mostly working DRM work on computers, you can sure as heck make it mostly work on eReaders. (Heck, you could make it almost perfectly work via something like Trusted Computing, with a hardware private key.)

  • by jaymzter (452402) on Monday December 14, 2009 @04:53PM (#30435320) Homepage

    Blame isn't a true/false value that can only be assigned to a single entity.

    If the money wasn't in the bank, the thief wouldn't have the opportunity to steal it

    If she hadn't worn that short skirt, she would've made it home ok

    I he hadn't have been a Tutsi, Jew, Muslim, Christian, it probably wouldn't have happened.

    Nice relativism. I agree with your take on the car analogy, but I think your belief about blame breaks down the closer it gets to reality.

  • by VShael (62735) on Monday December 14, 2009 @05:17PM (#30435596) Journal

    Such is why we don't prosecute victims of crime

    Except you do, in certain circumstances. Usually involving child pornography laws in some fashion. And possibly other cases involving bizarre twisted applications of anti-terror laws.

  • by Eil (82413) on Monday December 14, 2009 @05:55PM (#30436076) Homepage Journal

    Dunno about you, but I consider a hackable device to a be a nice thing.

    One of the reasons I've been holding back on an ebook reader is because there hasn't been much success in opening them up despite the fact that they run open source software under the hood. Now that this has happened with the Nook (before it has shipped, even?), I'm pretty much set on buying one now.

  • by NiteShaed (315799) on Monday December 14, 2009 @06:12PM (#30436300)

    While nothing is impossible, I'd be really surprised if they actually managed to successfully prosecute your mom for an attractive nuisance this way. Normally that would apply to something like a swimming pool without a fence, or an abandoned truck in the middle of a field. Teenagers stealing a running car would normally be a really hard sell, since 17 is an age where you should clearly know that taking a car without permission is illegal.
    I'm not doubting your story, but I suspect that the cop in that case may have brought that out as a way of not having to deal with the car-theft for some reason, and scaring your parents out of pressing charges against the kids themselves.
    Of course I could be wrong, but something here doesn't seem quite right....

  • by Jafafa Hots (580169) on Monday December 14, 2009 @07:02PM (#30436906) Homepage Journal

    No. You do NOT get part of the blame. That's like saying "She shouldn't have been wearing that mini-skirt, it's no wonder she got raped."

    Bullshit. Pure bullshit. I should be ABLE to leave my house unlocked, its MY fucking house, not yours, and you know that, and if you steal my shit it's all YOUR fault.

    I should be ABLE to leave my car with the keys in it, its MY car, not yours, if you take it you're 100% responsible.

    Yes, it may be predictable that if I leave my car with the keys in it some immoral asshole is likely to steal it... but the mere fact that it's predictable that you might be an asshole doesn't make me share the blame for you being an asshole.

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