CyanogenMod 10.2 brings Android 4.3 to aging Kindle Fire, NOOK Tablet

It’s been nearly two years since Amazon released the original Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble launched its NOOK Tablet (which was technically the company’s second tablet). While each company offers limited updates and support for those aging devices, the hardware’s still pretty useful — especially thanks to independent developers who continue to bring Google’s latest versions of Android to to older devices.

Both tablets feature 7 inch, 1024 x 600 pixel IPS displays, 1 GHz TI OMAP 4 dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processors, and each originally shipped with a highly customized version of Android 2.3 Gingerbread.

But you can manually install CyanogenMod 10.2 or other custom ROMs to bring Android 4.3 Jelly Bean to the NOOK Tablet or to the 1st-gen Kindle Fire.

B&N NOOK Tablet with CyanogenMod 10.2

In order to do that you’ll need to install ClockworkMod or another custom recovery on your tablet which you can use to flash the unofficial firmware. There are a few different ways to do that, but if you haven’t already rooted, installed a recovery, or flashed a custom ROM on your device you can probably find support in the xda-developers forums for the Kindle Fire or NOOK Tablet.

If you’ve already installed a custom recovery, you should be able to update simply by downloading and flashing the latest ROM.

Android 4.3 brings new features including support for restricted user profiles, a new default camera app, and more (which is of limited use, since neither of these tablets has a camera). It’s a relatively minor update since Android 4.2, but it’s a big jump from Android 2.3, offering a user interface, notifications, and other features that are much more tablet-friendly.

CyanogenMod 10.2 is a custom version of Android 4.3 which is still under development, but nightly builds are available for each device, bringing the latest available features and improvements (and occasionally new bugs). Among other things, CM10.2 brings enhanced security and privacy features.

 

  • David

    The fact that a 3rd party has to bring Android updates to these products is telling. Lack of updates from the manufacturer are a form of planned obsolescence.

    • Arrdee

      True enough, but common enough for mobile devices. Doesn’t Apple sunset iPhone/iPad devices pretty quickly too even with 100% control of everything on them?
      I was happy to receive a 2nd major update recently for my Galaxy Tab 2 7.0″ WiFi (to 4.2.2). While I’d like to see 4.3.x on it I don’t expect to.

      • tdlwv

        I have a Nook Color and I pretty much abandoned it since it’s so out of date. I’m installing CM 10.2 nightly right now hoping it will breathe life back into the tablet. Regarding Apple, they generally support their hardware. I just Google’d the dates and I’m shocked.

        My co-worker’s iPhone 3GS is running the latest OS on the eve of the iOS 7 launch. The device came out June 19, 2009 and it’s had 4 years, 2 months, 30 days worth of updates. My Nook Color was released November 16, 2010 and the last update was June 20, 2012–or 1 year, 7 months, 5 days. I would have rethought my purchase if B&N proudly announced “FOUR TIMES LESS UPDATES THAN A CELL PHONE!”

  • Hume

    CM11 with the new ART engine is great! I have an unofficial version on my Note 2 that works flawlessly so need to give new life to my fire…

  • Curt

    At what point do you say, “The Nook Tablet just won’t run that version”. Tablets are designed to support the current OS release and can be updated to at least the next 1-2 releases. CM is doing amazing things to bring the latest builds to the population, but on a NT, you have to consider that 4.3 already runs slow on it and 4.4 will probably make this device unbearable.