8 December 2010 - Filed under Default
The NOOKcolor from Barnes & Noble is an Android tablet computer that’s been turned into an e-book reader with the capacity to show pictures, store contacts, browse the web and play some video files. B&N has released an SDK and plans to compete simultaneously with the iPad and Kindle with this one device when they add a Google Marketplace app. That’s supposed to happen early next year.
All this is very exciting but it’s not why I bought it, I bought it because the NOOKcolor had been rooted, or modified to give its owner near complete control over the software. It also helped that others posted videos that showed some of the things a rooted NOOK color could do. So, within a couple hours of my purchase, I had rooted mine(thanks to the nookdev team!) and was off to load it with games and apps.
Finding these packages is tricky and for someone used to Synaptic, this process feels like an unsettling scavenger hunt. One must read wikis and forums to navigate the many places where the apk packages are available. After trying unsuccessfully to get many of the apks I wanted, I went and asked some free software friends who pointed me to F-Droid. F-Droid is an “app store” of sorts with the sole purpose of distributing free-as-in-freedom software to Android devices.
Among the apps I’ve grabbed from F-Droid are:
* Tiniest Open Source Violin – it’s just what it sounds like
* androidVNC – lets me view my desktop’s screen using the VNC protocol
* gvSIG Mini Maps – Similar to Google Maps, allows me to use multi-touch to move around many different map sources
* Jamendo – Download free music from the free culture crowd
* StatusNet – a client for identi.ca and other status.net microblogging sites
After loading up what I wanted, I looked for more. I learned of a couple of other lists of free software for the Android platform at https://wiki.koumbit.net/AndroidFreeSoftware and http://trac.osuosl.org/trac/replicant/wiki/ListOfKnownFreeSoftwareApps (the second of which I will probably help extending starting with this post). You can also search places like Google Code and github for other free software Android apps. Here are a couple more I’ve loaded from their Google Code sites…
* daap-client – I can listen to my entire music library that’s hosted on my server
* android-vlc-Remote – allows you to control VLC(the awesome media player) on another computer and even browse for files to play via HTTP
Of all the apps I’ve loaded I would say the daap, VLC, and gvSIG are my favorites. It truly is an exciting time so check out the NOOKcolor… it’s only $249 and the hacking opportunities are endless. It’s also a great front where the software freedom battle can be waged early and with great impact on the quickly growing mobile and tablet markets!
2010-12-08 » David Sterry