B&N NOOK Tablet 1.4.1 update kills sideloading, lets you keep apps installed so far

NOOK Tablet 1.4.1

Amazon isn’t the only company pushing out a software update that kills root access this week. Barnes & Noble has started rolling out version 1.4.1 of its software for the NOOK Tablet, and users that have rooted their $249 tablets are reporting that the update removes root access.

It also removes the ability to sideload apps on the tablet that you haven’t downloaded from the B&N Shop. If you’ve already installed third party apps they’ll continue to function, but you will no longer be able to download and install APK files from the internet or load software downloaded from the Android Market, Amazon Appstore or other third party app stores.

The B&N NOOK Tablet is a 7 inch tablet with a modified version of Google Android. It’s designed to let you read eBooks and magazines, stream movies and TV shows from Netflix and Hulu, and download hundreds of apps and games from the B&N Shop.

But when the tablet started shipping in November, early customers realized that they could download many Android apps from the internet and install them on the tablet. It was even possible to root the tablet and install the Google Android Market.

Unfortunately this week’s update seems to remove some of that functionality.

The NOOK Color, which Barnes & Noble released in 2010 has proven popular with tweakers who have discovered ways to run an operating system installed on an SD card. This lets you keep the official B&N software on the device, but choose to boot CyanogenMod 7, Ubuntu, or a different operating system when you turn on the device.

The NOOK Tablet has a faster processor and more storage than the NOOK Color, but there’s currently no way to boot an operating system from an SD card or replace the official B&N software with an alternate operating system.

It’s likely that the 1.4.1 software update won’t be a problem for most NOOK Tablet users. But if you have a rooted device or want to preserve the ability to sideload applications, you might want to turn off WiFi to prevent you tablet from downloading the update and look into ways to prevent the device from installing over-the-air updates automatically.

There’s also a way to force your NOOK Tablet to restore software version 1.4.0 by loading a zip file on a microSD card — but it will force a factory reset which means you’ll lose any current data.

Update 12/24/2011: There’s now a way to sideload apps on a NOOK Tablet even after updating to software version 1.4.1, and even if you don’t have root access after updating. In order for this to work you‘ll have needed to root your tablet running OS 1.4.0, or at least enabled support for sideloading. Our guide also includes steps for rolling back from OS 1.4.1 to 1.4.0 so you can root before upgrading — but that process involves a factory reset, which means you will lose your data and settings. 

Update 12/29/2011: It’s now also possible to upgrade to OS 1.4.1 while rooting the NOOK Tablet

via xda-developers

Latest NOOK Tablet news and tips:

  • wkc2001

    In my humble opinion – what a bunch of jerks.  A great way to insure that people will return their Nooks and stop buying from them (BN).  Too bad as I like the device.

    • Phile123

      BN will do somerhing to alliviate the concerns…promise.
      The have an interest in making their tablet one of the best. If not only hurt themselves…. so stay tuned.

  • Anon

    I just chatted with a BN rep. It sounds like they are trying to fix the issue with the sideloading. He told me to avoid updating my new Nook Tablet & wait for the next update which will allow sideloading again. Good News for all of us who just bought the new Nook Tablet.

    • Viagra1

      I spoke with B&N tech at the local store AND a tech at B&N itself AND with the online chat guru on B&N site.  The change was meant to be.  They want you locked down to their apps-few as they are.

      • Viagra1

        Forgive my earlier post. I also spoke with B&N tech, B&N store tech employee, and online chat support for B&N. They all said that this was NOT a mistake.  I could tell they thought it was stupid.  I didn’t yell at them or cuss so they stayed on the line for a while.  Basically, B&N want you to buy apps from them and them alone.  Waiting for the work around.

  • Mebigmac

    i will return my new purchased nook tablet as result of the new firmware update.

  • Memackiew

    whom do I contact at B&N to complain about the latest firmware update? 

    • Ariasis

      There nook facebook page is a good place to start

  • H@ck3r

    Don’t return it…just wait for the next hack!

  • Kenneth Browne

    I already returned mine and that despite the fact that I figured there would be a way to get back the ability to sideload and even root the device. I just got tired of having to workaround B&N’s restrictions. I still will have to deal with my daughter’s Nook Color which I rooted a week ago. When she comes back from overseas the update will be lurking. I hope I can head it off to save myself some extra work. The only way I’d buy another Nook Tablet is if so many people return them that they start selling the “refurbished” ones for half price! With time to prepare I could probably figure out the hacks necessary to root it and keep it rooted. ;-)

  • Discorover1

    You people are missing the point! B&N is giving you a tablet that is comparable to the I pad for cost of production or even at a loss.  All of you want to bitch about them trying to make money.  Stop complaining use the device and add the work arounds as they come or go out and pay 600-1000 for another tablet that will not keep trying to re-coop their money.

    • wkc2001

      B&N is “giving” you nothing. They are “selling” you a device that they have expectations of a grand stream of future revenue. And when they perceive a threat to that revenue stream they force-feed (I wasn’t given an opt out choice) a software update which insures that you go through B&N for Android apps – ostensibly for security reasons – yeah right. If Microsoft had done something like that people would have marched them into Federal court.

      The point is in plugging that hole with the 1.4.1 software “update” B&N also found a way to insure its revenue stream by leveraging the purchase of a “tablet” (referred to in the terms of service as “your Nook”) for purposes of their online sales division. So much for “my Nook.”

      This is my opinion based on what I have seen, read, and experienced. I don’t like the rules being changed after the fact. The cat got out of the bag and maybe they never intended that to happen, but that’s not my fault. (They should have done more beta testing rather than trying to eclipse the Kindle Fire launch.) I bought a Nook tablet that could side-load Android software and never gave B&N permission to change this – period! I should not have to root the device in order to enjoy my reasonable expectations of operating it in the same manner that I did when I bought it. I could side-load apps when I bought it without rooting it! I don’t want to root it, I shouldn’t have to. They sold it as a tablet and not a proprietary ebook reader (by the way, a lot of ebook readers are more open than the Nook Tablet BEFORE the 1.4.1 update.)

      Corporate paranoia aside, companies who pull these shenanigans don’t make friends, and as I previously said, I’ve purchased 3 of these devices over the last 3 years, and if there is no relief on this issue the Nook tablet will be my last. Even Amazon allows side-loading again on the Fire after a bunch of criticsm.

      I’ve written to B&N and expressed my opinion on this matter and specifically asked for such relief. I have not had a response as of yet. I’m a realist as well and they probably will not want to back down from their attempted conquest of the known universe of ebookdom, but that is their perogative. It just means that I will part company with a company I have been doing business with for my adult lifetime. Life does go on and B&N is not the only fish in the sea.

      Let the B&N fanboys and apologists cry havoc.

      • rcyts

        Anyone thinking in terms of class action suit… all you attorneys out there… how about it?

      • Discorover1

        Read you agreement. You are the hacker here and hacking is not legal.

      • Rhartzell77

        Discorover1:  wrong.  My device — my physical object — means it’s my right to do as I wish with it.  Even if I want to replace the software it came with.  EULAs are untested, legally, as viable contracts — and they do not override existing law, regardless.  (I may void my warranty — but since the NT can be hard-reset to its fresh-out-the-box state, that’s pretty much *not* the issue it might be for a cell phone).

        The only business issue at play here that I can think of is whether B&N are paying less for the “privilege” of failing to enable the Bluetooth functions built into the Wi-fi chips they put in their devices.  If that’s the case, that’s between them and their manufacturer/supplier — not me.  And if I want to hack my device so I *can* make use of a BT keyboard?  They have no right to force an update on me that keeps me from doing so.

        You sound like the kind of conservative who thinks the “rights” of business should take precedence over the rights of the individual….

      • Discorover1

        You do not live in the real world.  You have no idea what it cost to produce a piece of technology. All you care about is that the cell phone you carry is free or close to it. You think every thing is produced with a 500% mark up. Live in the real world.  Buy your k fire and find out what you have.
        Buy the i computer with out any control for $400 more. They did not give you the right to alter the operating system in fact it voids your warranty. You think that hacking a system is your right. You are the type of liberal that has us thinking we should not have to work for anything and the government should provide all. 

      • travis

        Hey he did not say that he wants or he should have the right to hack it[his nook]. He is saying that when he bought the 3 nook tablets, he expected the right to sideload apps amd games cuz it is HIS nook not b&n’s. And for the most part, b&n is not giveing u much more ”control” over the apple ipad. And lastly i think that that last sentence is backwards. I think he want do everything himself and not have the government deside wat to do.

  • Viagra1

    I think that there will be a class action suit.  The terms of service are extremely vague about what ‘sideloaded content’ entails.  They don’t define content.  And, with a tablet content, to me, means anything that is not a hack or illegally obtained.  This was a function that was built into the device.  The option to load third party apps popped up when you tried to load a 3rd party app.  Someone wrote that code.  The Nook didn’t just decide to allow it-it was programmed to not only allow it.  It was also programmed to guide you though loading 3rd party apps.  To change the device with NO choice to they consumers smacks of entrapping.  I smell a lawsuit.

  • sorrybnyourmistake

    Well I was hit by 1.4.1 after I rooted my nook tablet.
    I down graded to 1.4.0 and rooted it again.
    Now its blocked from 1.4.1.
    I will now never ever buy anything from b&n.

    On the plus side the company work for bought 32 nook tablets for employee christmas gifts(how I got one).
    I will root and block b&n from everyone I can.

    It would of been better for b&n to sell an app to allow the nook to run android.  

  • BobH

    No doubt about it, the problem with liberals is that they’re stupid enough to expect honesty from a major corporation. I mean, how stupid can we be?  I bought two Nook Tablets for Christmas and specifically asked if I was restricted to B&N products only. I was, of course, told that I wasn’t. I would have no problem with the restrictions if (a) they were clearly stated in advertising or at point of sale; and (b) these restrictions weren’t added without my consent or knowledge after it was paid for.  At best this is sleight of hand and I’m surprised that it’s only liberals who are outraged.

  • Dhdhdhdhhdhhdhd

    o my gosh i have been trying to root my nook tablet for a week and then i find out that it is legal so i was crazy happy until i found out i had the stupid softwear of 1.4.1 rrrrrrrrrrrrrr     : (:(:(:(:(

  • disgruntled

    Is there any new news on this issue, or new hacks developed yet. I too go no satisfaction from the bozos at B&N.

  • mule570

    If you restore your nook to a 1.4.0 and then you add the slideload to it. will that work? and if you slideload will it void your warranty?