Software Development

Nook 2011 cracking open analysis: Battery replaceable, same processor as Nook Color

Bill Detwiler cracks open the 2011 Nook and discovers that the reader has an easily-replaceable battery and the same processor as the Nook Color.

In May 2011, Barnes and Noble released a redesigned Nook e-book reader. The new Nook is thinner and lighter than its predecessor--the Nook 1st edition. It has a 6" touchscreen, 2GB of built-in storage, Wi-Fi connectivity, and can run up to two months on a full battery charge.

The 2011 Nook supports EPUB, PDF, Adobe DRM e-book formats and can read JPEG, GIF, PNG, and BMP graphic files. It weighs 7.48 ounces and measures 6.5" (H) x 5" (W) x 0.47" (D). But, it lacks audio support, 3G, or a Web browser.

This week, I took a look inside the 2011 Nook and couldn't wait to see how the new device's hardware compared to the Nook 1st edition and more-recent Nook Color. After cracking open the new Nook, I have my answer. I also discovered several interesting facts about the new e-book reader, such as the battery can be replaced.

As of this writing, the 2011 Nook has a suggested retail price of $139 (US). You can still purchase the Nook 1st edition for $119 (Wi-Fi) and $169 (Wi-Fi + 3G) and the Nook Color for $249.

Full teardown gallery: Cracking Open the 2011 Barnes & Noble Nook e-book reader (Wi-Fi)

Cracking Open analysis:

Please note that opening the back cover of your NOOK to change the battery, external SD card or back cover will void this Limited Warranty, except to the extent that such opening is done through a customer-accessible opening and in accordance with the instructions provided with the NOOK.

  • Same processor as the Nook Color: Both devices use the ARM Cortex A8-based Texas Instruments OMAP3621 applications processor. I hope this means we'll be able to hack the new Nook to run Android apps, as you can the Nook Color.
  • Unique touchscreen solution: Instead of the capacitive or resistive technologies found in most tablets, smartphones, and e-book readers (like Nook Color), the 2011 Nook uses Neonode's zForce touchscreen system. From what I've read, their system uses a series of emitters and receivers (likely IR) to create a grid across the display screen. As you move your finger, or any object, through the grid, the zForce system detects the object's location and movement. This gives the Nook a touch-sensitive display without requiring a glass or plastic overlay above the screen.

Internal hardware and chips:


Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

Barnes and Noble's 2011 Nook is a great low-price e-book reader, but that's about all it does. At a time when smartphones and tablets can function as e-book readers, does it still make sense to purchase a reader-only device? Does the low cost and long battery life of devices such as the Nook and Kindle a winning combination?


Yes, you can spend $600 for a fully-fitted iPad or $120 for a Nook. I bought an eReader because 1) I think smartphones are way too expensive 2) Why would I buy an iPad when it costs more than a desktop or a laptop 3) Yes, it does one thing and does it that a negative? Mult-purpose gadgets generally do nothing particularly well Remember Dr. Johnson: "Sir, a woman's preaching is like a dog's walking on his hind legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all." Ditto for reading a book on an iPhone


I need a laptop because tablets just aren't there yet, and I need to be able to VPN into work and do some things that a tablet can't do. The nook is portable and compact. I have 175 books on a small device, so when I travel, I have the newest portion of my library with me. For someone who reads a LOT, and has a large library and has run out of space for their physical books. A Nook or Kindle makes a lot of sense. Someday, when the tablet market shakes out, and it becomes time to replace my laptop and my Nook, I might take a look at the tablet. Until then, I'll stick with the nook and laptop.

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