The hacking and modding community has known about this little secret for a while: The Barnes & Noble Nook Color is one of the best and cheapest Android tablets you can get, assuming that you’re willing to root it. Well, that last part no longer applies, because B&N has unleashed a true Android 2.2 update for its Nook Color.
That’s right. It’s all official and kosher now. The newest update pushes a real build of Android 2.2 Froyo to the device, effectively rendering it into a real tablet. There are some limitations — like only getting apps that B&N gives the thumbs up — but you are getting apps.
B&N will approve apps that are “suitable” for the Nook Color’s “reading-centric existence” and its 7-inch screen. Games like Angry Birds and Yoo Ninja probably work, as do “reading” related apps like Pulse News and Epicurious. For now, there are about 125 apps ready to go on the Nook Color.
Along with the official introduction of apps, the update also brings a better web browser (with Flash support), email and calendar programs, page-turning animations, and so on.
No, the Nook Color won’t exactly hold its own against something like a Motorola Xoom, but it costs less than half as much and can easily handle more than half the workload. At $250 with all kinds of official support, that’s tough to beat.[B&N]