Nook Color SDK Released, Go Get Your Develop On

The Nook Color is starting to make minor waves (in spite of my prejudice) as it’s really quite a lot of machine for $250. And now the SDK has been opened up, which should allow the usual suspects to adapt their existing Android apps to the Nook’s hardware.

It’s not like the Nook Color is some undiscovered country, though, filled with exotic future tech. It’s just a mid-range tablet with a nice shell and some custom stacks. And it’s already been hacked to pieces.

An “unofficial SDK” has been available for weeks, of course, in the form of many leisure hackers interested in the hardware (the latest developments are helpfully summarized here and of course on NookDevs). Once you sift the unique Barnes & Noble files and functionality from the basic Android 2.1 stuff, there’s only so much prodding that needs to be done before you can accurately document every file, hook, button, and custom action.

The specs include a mention of hardware scaling from 848×480 to 1024×600, a minor and non-aspect-matched stretch that can’t be good for readability; this was likely planned as a shortcut for developers who didn’t want to actually redo their pixel counts, menu images, and so on. It also suggests that limited access to “normal” apps is in the works, or that a few already populate the B&N store. You’d probably be able to tell because of a less-clear look to some of the text and images. Update: Barnes & Noble tells me this attribute is actually used for video resizing, not normal display stuff, so no worries.

I don’t really expect too many consumers (though B&N is hoping to sell a million of these guys, according to manufacturing reports) to want to “jailbreak” this device, though, since it’s really being promoted and bought primarily as an e-reader, which was really my objection to it in the first place. I’m more interested in whether hackers will get it to run 2.3 or 3.0, which supposedly have better resolution support; a $250 Android 2.3 tablet with the option of special e-reading capability would be a solid buy.