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Froyo snuggles into cosy Nook

Cheapo Android tablet on the horizon?

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The NOOKcolor e-reader, from Barnes & Noble, is going to get Android 2.2 (Froyo) next month, very nearly turning the $250 e-reader into a usable tablet computer.

We say very nearly, because it seems that Google's Android Marketplace won't be available on the NOOKcolor, which will instead get its own application store run by Barnes & Noble. But Smartphonemag apparently got a chance to see Froyo running on a Nook and reports that come January the e-reader will get the Android interface along with the full Android web browser and highly-regarded pinch-to-zoom capability.

Performance isn't perfect, but at $250 it's very competitively priced. The NOOKcolor has never been launched in the UK, though as it uses Wi-Fi connectivity it can work here once a Barnes & Noble account has been established; something which would be much more attractive if it could also function as a generic tablet.

Not that one has to wait until next month - hackers have managed to get the Marketplace installed onto a NOOK using a custom Android build. The process is not for the faint-hearted, but it does mean you can finally run Angry Birds on your electronic book reader without having to wait for an official update. ®

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