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Old 11-20-2012, 10:41 PM   #1
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Lightbulb Multi-Boot (Kobo, Kindle, nook, ...) on Android?

From what I've seen so far, Kindle Fire HD, nook HD, Kobo Arc and similar tablet-based readers basically are "crippled" Android tablets: Modified/limited UI, some specialized reader-specific tasks.

Shouldn't it be possible, to implement multi-boot for example on Nexus 7?
Booting either in "normal" Android mode, or in Kindle Fire HD, nook HD and/or Kobo Arc mode?

I'd love to see that.
Of course, the Kindle, nook or Kobo app do a fine job on Android (or iOS as well).
But still, the respective tablets have some special appeal.

So, legal aspects aside:
Would this technically be possible?
Am I missing something? I don't think, there are any "special chips" or buttons on any of those readers/tablets. Their hardware is either identical or even slightly less powerful than the one on "normal" tablets.

Screen Resolution might be an issue. nook HD for example has a slightly higher resolution than Google/Asus Nexus 7. But Kindle Fire HD and Google/Asus Nexus 7 for example are identical. And in the "worst" case, a more powerful Android tablet would be needed than Nexus 7. Nexus 10 or Samsung or any of the other bigger ones.

So, will we see this soon?
Any interest at all?
Technical problems?

Last edited by mgmueller; 11-20-2012 at 11:06 PM.
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Old 11-21-2012, 12:44 AM   #2
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The Kobo Arc is an open Android tablet with full access to the Google Play store.
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Old 11-21-2012, 01:52 AM   #3
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Technical problems...

For starters, Android is kind of like Windows--it'll run on just about any hardware, but you have to have drivers to make stuff work. Each company gets a copy of Android and then modifies it to work with their hardware. You would have to do the same thing for your device (the wonderful people at XDA Developers does it for you).

I'm not sure how boot loaders work, but I know I can make an SD card for my Nook Tablet with 3 different versions of Android and boot to whichever one I choose. I'm sure the same can be done with just about any device with the right amount of know-how and many hours of trial and error.
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Old 11-21-2012, 05:45 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suzanna View Post
The Kobo Arc is an open Android tablet with full access to the Google Play store.
Yes, of course.
And you easily can open Kindle Fire HD for example as well.
But still you would have to use the Kobo and nook apps.

I'd like to see a different approach: The full Kobo Arc and nook HD experience, not just the reading apps.
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Old 11-21-2012, 08:31 AM   #5
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That is not doable.
The full Kobo, Kindle, and Nook (and for that matter, Nexus) experiences are all *proprietary*. The Android core is open but the Google apps and the various overlays are not. Which is why only vanilla android devices that follow Google guidelines get the Google apps.

And with the new SDK guidelines and their vague "no forking" rules it is going to be even harder.

Future FIREs and NOOKs may not have access to the latest android flavor unless they ditch their proprietary "enhancements".
http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-575...fragmentation/

Quote:
The company has modified its legal agreement with developers working on Android apps to specifically prohibit them from any action that could contribute to further fragmentation of the mobile platform. The anti-fragmentation clause was recently added to the Android SDK licensing terms and conditions, which developers must accept in order to build Android apps.

Section 3.4 of Google's new terms, which were updated Tuesday, reads, "You agree that you will not take any actions that may cause or result in the fragmentation of Android, including but not limited to distributing, participating in the creation of, or promoting in any way a software development kit derived from the SDK."
Depending on how they choose to define those terms, it could forbid developing apps for FIRE or Nook or "officially deprecated" versions of Android, say 2.x or 3.x.
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Old 11-21-2012, 01:49 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgmueller View Post
Yes, of course.
And you easily can open Kindle Fire HD for example as well.
But still you would have to use the Kobo and nook apps.

I'd like to see a different approach: The full Kobo Arc and nook HD experience, not just the reading apps.
Actually, no. Kobo doesn't have an app store. Right out of the box, you access the Google Play store to download apps. They have an organizational system called "Tapestries" to group together the content on the Arc, but the device is not locked into using just the Kobo store. Even their older and limited tablet, the Vox, is the same way. Without rooting the device, I downloaded the Kindle app and several other reading apps and am using them on the device. I can't access Nook, though, because B&N doesn't make that available to Canadians. Similarly, Kindle and B&N locks Canadians out of their app stores, but I can use Google Play.

Last edited by Suzanna; 11-21-2012 at 01:55 PM. Reason: Edited for clarity.
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Old 11-21-2012, 02:57 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suzanna View Post
Actually, no. Kobo doesn't have an app store. Right out of the box, you access the Google Play store to download apps. They have an organizational system called "Tapestries" to group together the content on the Arc, but the device is not locked into using just the Kobo store. Even their older and limited tablet, the Vox, is the same way. Without rooting the device, I downloaded the Kindle app and several other reading apps and am using them on the device. I can't access Nook, though, because B&N doesn't make that available to Canadians. Similarly, Kindle and B&N locks Canadians out of their app stores, but I can use Google Play.
I meant, I easily can use the Kobo and the nook apps on Kindle Fire HD.
You don't even have to root Kindle Fire HD for that, you just can sideload the apps.
I have to try on my nook HD, don't have a Kobo Arc yet.
In the worst case you have to root, but somehow you can bring all the apps to any tablet/reader,

But anyway, that's not what I'd like to do.
I'd like to have the "original" Kobo, nook, Kindle look and feel on the respective others. Not just the apps, but the entire UI.
I'm not interested in other apps, such as games or movie players. Just the reading experience. But not only the reading apps, I'd like to see the whole package.
Now I have Nexus 7 with all apps, plus Kindle Fire HD plus nook HD, soon (not available yet in Germany) Kobo Arc.
Wouldn't it be much more convenient, to have all 3 (Kobo, nook, Kindle) UIs on the very same tablet? For example a multi-boot Nexus 7? In addition, one still could use the pure Android experience and install plenty of apps there.

Last edited by mgmueller; 11-21-2012 at 03:26 PM.
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Old 11-21-2012, 03:03 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suzanna View Post
Actually, no. Kobo doesn't have an app store. Right out of the box, you access the Google Play store to download apps. They have an organizational system called "Tapestries" to group together the content on the Arc, but the device is not locked into using just the Kobo store. Even their older and limited tablet, the Vox, is the same way. Without rooting the device, I downloaded the Kindle app and several other reading apps and am using them on the device. I can't access Nook, though, because B&N doesn't make that available to Canadians. Similarly, Kindle and B&N locks Canadians out of their app stores, but I can use Google Play.
Re. the nook app: You can't find the nook app in Google Play, as it's US only. But you easily can circumvent this. Install the app "appbrain" from Swiss Code Monkeys. Here you can search for "nook". Within Google Play, suddenly you find the nook app and can install it. Did so on Nexus 7 and lots of other Android tablets, briefly tested on Kindle Fire HD.

Last edited by mgmueller; 11-21-2012 at 03:27 PM.
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Old 11-21-2012, 04:11 PM   #9
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While that idea sounds cool... I have no real idea why someone would want to go through the trouble.
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Old 11-21-2012, 04:22 PM   #10
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While that idea sounds cool... I have no real idea why someone would want to go through the trouble.
Why have so many hacks been programed for iRex iLiad?
You don't have to play Sudoku or Chess on an eInk device.
But it's such a strange idea, the more compelling it is.
I lack the skills for coding, flashing, extracting firmware and such.
But with the right talent, I'd consider it a challenge: Making a better Kindle Fire HD or nook HD or Kobo Arc or... than the original.
Somewhat similar to the PS2 emulator for Windows, which eventually became more powerful than the original PS2.
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Old 11-21-2012, 05:05 PM   #11
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since almost all of them are crippled android, i dont see any points to get any crippled experience? the other way around makes more sense...
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Old 11-21-2012, 06:00 PM   #12
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since almost all of them are crippled android, i dont see any points to get any crippled experience? the other way around makes more sense...
Of course you're right.
This would just be toying around.
But isn't that half the fun of all those gadgets?
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