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Pandigital Novel: A Color eBook Reader that Runs Android Apps

by on May 24, 2010
in Phones and Mobile, News, Computers and Software, Tablets & eReaders :: 322 comments

Techlicious editors independently review products. To help support our mission, we may earn affiliate commissions from links contained on this page.

pandigital novel homepandigital novel photo appFirst and foremost the Pandigital Novel is a color ebook reader. Its 7-inch color resistive display (meaning you have to exert some pressure) provides a very appealing view of the Barnes & Noble online bookstore and a nice showcase for your library. You can even create bookshelves to categorize your titles. The model I saw was a pre-production unit, so everything wasn't working. That said, reading is similar to using the ebook reader apps found on the iPad, though swiping to turn a page is more cumbersome with the resistive screen.

What sets the Pandigital Novel apart from other ereaders, though, is its operating system–Android. When the Novel ships next month ($199), it will come loaded with a web browser, an alarm clock, calendar, a few games, a photo and movie viewer and music player (yes you can read and listen to music). But in a few months, Pandigital will release a firmware update that will let the Novel support the thousands of apps developed for Android, making it an entry-level iPad competitor in the tablet computer market.

The Novel has built-in Wi-Fi, a 4-hour battery (or 6 with Wi-Fi off) and 1GB of internal memory, which is expandable via its SD card slot. It also comes with a stand so you can use the device as a picture frame while charging.

Below you'll see video I shot of the Novel last week in its optional case, which also comes in red and black. The initial device will be white, with a 2GB black model to follow.

UPDATE: June 10. 2009 - There was so many great questions brought up in the discussion below that we asked forum that we asked Jason Topel, Pandigital's VP of Marketing and Product Development, to help clarify.  Here's what he had to say:

Hi Everyone – Sorry for the delayed response. Thank you for the forum Suzanne and for the excitement/support from everyone. I’ll look to answer as many comments and questions as possible.

It runs Android 2.0 but Pandigital couldn’t confirm whether it would run the Kindle app….. Also, returning to my quest to learn more about Android, I read somewhere that Google only makes Android apps available for phones—does that mean that despite this Android OS on the Novel, buyers won’t be able to download new apps until Google decides otherwise?
The initial release of the device will not run external apps. We are engaged and pursuing on multiple fronts the goal of including support of the Android Marketplace and the loading of apps in a future firmware (FW) update.

What about PDF’s, mobi & txt files?... Also, any plans to make it work with PDB eReader files?...
In addition to the PDF and EPUB file types, we are working to broaden the native file format support.

I assume then that you could also run Google chrome browser on this device too or is that the browser it comes pre-loaded with?
The Pandigital Novel uses an Android browser –not officially Chrome.

The features of 2.2 are outstanding, and if this $200 device can support Android 2.2, you’re in for a real treat!.... ? I don’t recall the hardware specs, but curious if a 2.2 update will be made available (or can we install our own manual update of it)….
Agreed – we’re working on it….

if multi-touch isn’t supported (not sure?)
Sorry –not at this time.

I’m not sure what Firmware upgrade this is for the Novel, but I’m curious if anybody else has seen this page or knows further details.
The FW updates are being released regularly to further improve the device performance –with future updates planned for adding further functionality.

Sorry….Need to skip-ahead some posts here. I’ll look to come back and catch those questions I’ve missed soon.
From George Malley on June 06, 2010 :: 7:38 pm
2. the white DOES NOT support landscape orientation, but the black will.
We encountered an issue which arose over time/circumstances. Both the white and the black builds support landscape orientation and this will be activated again in a future firmware update.

3. The black 2gb model will be avail in “late July”
Please look for our press release on this product in a few weeks.

4. The black 2gb model is not merely a different color and with an extra gig. I had asked “since a 4 GB SD card could usually be purchased for around $10, how much more could a 2GB model be over a 1gb. The black one is thinner, lighter, has a smaller (or no) lip/raised edge (thus thinner) and is more advanced tech than the white. For example, it will support landscape reading and more.
The black model will provide an option to users who may prefer the matt-finish screen instead of the edge-to-edge glass styling. Feature-wise they will be comparable.

5. Neither the white nor black will have the physical hardware capable of supporting a cell connection in the future (ie edge or 3g)
Our current plans do not include a cellular model in this size.

6. Neither has a browser that supports flash or java
Correct – We are working toward an Android 2.2 update which will incorporate HTML5 as our avenue for a richer web browsing experience.

7. Neither will have access to the android app store or the ability to run apps beyond those loaded originally. Of course, this could change, but at present, the white is launched and on the market and the black is in it’s final tweaking and testing and neither support android apps nor are they actively planning it.
As noted above - The initial release of the device will not run external apps. We are engaged and pursuing on multiple fronts the goal of including support of the Android Marketplace and the loading of apps in a future firmware (FW) update.
 



Discussion loading

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Quick question, ive heard of

From Dakota Collins on November 03, 2010 :: 9:12 pm

Quick question, ive heard of slate droid, can you download external apps, like games or something for the pandigital ereader?

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another question about the volume

From Dakota Collins on November 03, 2010 :: 9:20 pm

another question about the volume key hack, will the ereader run any differently with the hack?, and with the hack, how would i controll the volume?

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i got the wifi working

From Dakota Collins on November 04, 2010 :: 8:51 pm

i got the wifi working with a dsl wifi router, thanks for the help

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Just bought the White, mostly

From Dave on November 11, 2010 :: 1:35 pm

Just bought the White, mostly because of the posts here.  (ablity to expand internal memory to 32 gig).

I have not loaded the Android patch yet, and have a few questions. 

1) Once you load the android patch can you return to the original format without resetting the device. 

2) I read somewhere that the video does not pause in the android format. 

3) How many apps can you add from the android store.  I assume you can add only as many as can fit on the screen.

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Can you download any version

From Dakota on November 18, 2010 :: 9:53 pm

Can you download any version of adobe flash on this thing,? If not is there gonna be a version of firmware with flash on it?

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Ok everyone. Read every

From Mike Winans on November 20, 2010 :: 6:58 pm

Ok everyone.  Read every post and not till the Nov 11th post is someone having the same question; but mine is “after” loading the Android Open Platform Kits from Pandigital to the white Ebook version.  What happened?  I thought you would never ask.  There is no EReader app.  Even if you had books on the original system, they do not have a app that will read your ebooks.  In addition, if you take the micro SD card out, which I did before I downloaded the patch, I copied the original files to my computer just in case.  Because of no Ebook reader after installing the Android patch, I cannot download and put back the original operating system.  Went to the Pandigital site, downloaded the latest firmware, copied it to the original files I backed up on my computer,  that are now on the Micro SD card, and still Android Open Platform Kit is still showing as the new interface for the Ebook. In an attempt to reload the original Pandigital firmware, when you hold both the on button and volume key, it shows it is loading, but somehow it does not.  Oh, one more thing,  when you plug in your USB key connection to your computer and Ebook, even though your computer makes the audible sound that something new is connected,  it does not appear in “My Computer” where all the drives are, (Windows 7).  Just want to get the EReader back into the new system. Anyone suggest how to go about this?

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Always remove the SD Card

From Shellie on November 21, 2010 :: 12:35 am

Always remove the SD Card when resetting or upgrading the firmware on your reader.  “always” 
Now, about the Pandigitsl downloads.  You did the right thing removing your SD card.  It will mess up your firmware upgrade every time.  When a problem arises like this the first thing you should do is insert an open paper clip into the reset hole in the top.  This should reset your machine back to it’s original settings. 

And then the usb connection.  I bought 2 different SD/micro adapters for connecting to my PC.  One works the other doesn’t.  After you reset your reader, try putting the Pandigital patch on.  Good Luck. Don’t forget “Remove the SD Card first”

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Does anyone know how to

From TonyL on November 27, 2010 :: 10:10 am

Does anyone know how to download music/videos on the Pandigital EReader?  I am not a techie person and can’t figure out how to do this?  Can you download from ITunes?

Help!

Thanks

Tony

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Use your USB to Ebook

From MICHAEL WINANS on November 27, 2010 :: 11:06 am

Use your USB to Ebook cable.  If you lost it, it is the same connector as used on the Blackberry 8700. I know, because I use it as a spare.  Here is a website for $3.99 plus ship:
http://www.cellphoneshop.net/usbdacaforbl3.html?gclid=CKnR3tGewaUCFQTNKgodiUl3Zw
I found that if you use a 4GB SD card and store your videos, music, ebooks on this card, you won’t load up your E-Book storage.  Remember, you have a slot for an SD card on the E-Book. 
If your computer has an SD card reader or you want to go to Office Depot and pickup an SD card reader that has a USB connector, then you can disregard the cable idea. Just use the portable USB SD card reader for your computer. download your favorite videos, ebooks, or songs to the SD card, insert it back into your EBook and you are ready to go.  A word of warning on the movies, MP4 files only.  Get a video converter, its worth the money to convert any of your videos; a lot of videos are AVI. Forget about putting a DVD out of the box on these EBooks. Wrong format entirely.  Audio or music, only MP3, AAC and WAV.  Here is another link for the EBook I found useful:
http://the-gadgeteer.com/2010/08/08/pandigital-novel-ebook-reader-review/
Mike/Chicago,IL

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if you want simple instructions

From Dakota on November 27, 2010 :: 5:44 pm

if you want simple instructions gimme your email and ill email them to you.

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Pandigital came out with va

From Dakota on November 28, 2010 :: 2:39 am

Pandigital came out with va new 9” ereader, the pages are supposed to be a lot faster to turn, any thoughts?,anyone have it? check it out on the QVC website.

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Its $213 by the way

From Dakota on November 28, 2010 :: 2:42 am

Its $213 by the way

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I just downloaded the Pandigital

From Jack Fender on November 28, 2010 :: 7:02 pm

I just downloaded the Pandigital Android upgrade, it definitely is worth downloading. It boots so much faster and it is a snap to install apps as it comes with an installer. You no longer have to wait for the music player to read your songs off the SD card. It has made this somewhat clunky little E=reader a better product all round. I created a directory in the root of the SD card and named it apps, copied and pasted the apk files from a website to it, after you select the file it installs the app in seconds. One curious issue, it no longer is able to read the SD card inside the unit, it knows it’s there but I cannot access it. I tried searching for my music files to no avail. Oh BTW it sets up for wifi much easier and has a built in alert for wifi hotspots. I will provide additional info as and when I discover it.

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I am trying to decide

From Lori on December 02, 2010 :: 6:51 pm

I am trying to decide to upgrade to the android app or not. If I do this, and I am not happy with it, is there a way I can go back to the way it came out of the box?

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Hey I think some of

From mustang-don on December 14, 2010 :: 9:51 pm

Hey I think some of us may be missing the point here.
This is first an e-book reader. A full color e-reader, with a web browser,  head phone jack, speakers, upgradable to an incredible 32g via sd card. At this price you can’t even get close on features. I love it

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I should add that I

From mustang-don on December 14, 2010 :: 10:07 pm

I should add that I recently purchased mine and it has the dictionary app. already installed. It may be an updated version.

I am curious how some people have been able to download other programs and games. Anyone able to help?

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Yes If you download the

From Jack Fender on December 14, 2010 :: 10:19 pm

Yes
If you download the new android package you can easily download apps direct to the Novel. it has a built in apps installer and opens the unit up to far more interesting usage.

Check it out…

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Was so excited to get

From JDI on December 15, 2010 :: 6:27 am

Was so excited to get my 7” white pandigital ereader but still cannont unlock a book downloaded from electronic local library.  Firmware is updated. Any suggestions?

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I just downloaded the current

From Menana on December 20, 2010 :: 10:06 am

I just downloaded the current firmware update and followed the instructions about disconnecting the ebook from the pc and then powering off and powering back on via power button and volume button at same time.  I now have had a triangle caution sign with the little android on the screen.  This has been like this for at least 10 minutes.  The instructions said it would automatically restart when update completed.  I can’t tell if it is still updating or if something is wrong.  This is the first update since purchase in July.  Anyone know if this is normal?

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I'd try turning it off

From Kent on December 20, 2010 :: 3:39 pm

I’d try turning it off and back on—- if you haven’‘t already!!

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How do I download Android

From Jenna on December 22, 2010 :: 4:15 pm

How do I download Android application onto my Pandigital 9” novel?

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I bought the white model

From Tony on December 23, 2010 :: 8:33 am

I bought the white model in Nov for the better half.  I did download and install the actual Android software on the Pandigital site.  I had no problem downloading it but when I contacted Pandigital about Android Market they emailed me and said that if you install the Android system that is not on the Novel when bought you have violated the warrentee.  I have been able to download Android other store and will be experimenting with downloading other apps from that sight.  The don’t have all the apps that Android Market has but this sight allows paypal payment along with other things.  I will let everyone know how it goes after Christmas.
Merry Christmas….

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i seen on tv that

From nikita on December 24, 2010 :: 4:39 pm

i seen on tv that you can put android apps on this device how in the world do i do that. im new to android and have no clue how to do this.

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The Pandigital has been available

From Ross on December 25, 2010 :: 10:50 pm

The Pandigital has been available on QVC as “Today’s Special Value” for $199.95.  Wife got one for Christmas.  I’ll be back with a review.

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HOW DO YOU DOWNLOAD APPS

From isaac on December 26, 2010 :: 5:11 pm

HOW DO YOU DOWNLOAD APPS ON THIS THING BUT SO FAR IT IS COOL LIKE ALL of you!

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From Tony on December 26, 2010 :: 11:03 pm

This site shows how to hack the Novel.  I have not tried it because of the holidays but I will be trying it this week.  That was awful nice of you there isaac.

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This site will not let

From Tony on December 27, 2010 :: 8:43 am

This site will not let me put the shortcut to the site that had the hack info.  Sorry

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Hi Tony,We don't prevent URLs

From Josh Kirschner on December 27, 2010 :: 10:09 am

Hi Tony,

We don’t prevent URLs in our comments.  Let me know what error you’re getting and I’ll look into it.

And if you’re still having problems adding the URL, send it to us and we’ll post it in your comment.

You can email us at info@techlicious.com.

Josh Kirschner
Founder, Techlicious

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I didn't get an error

From Tony on December 27, 2010 :: 12:24 pm

I didn’t get an error it just didn’t put the url in.  I put it in where it says URL.

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I've using been using the

From David R. on December 28, 2010 :: 2:10 am

I’ve using been using the white Pandigital for about five weeks now. It’s very impressive and easy to use. I have found that it is possible
to upgrade the internal memory from the current 1GB size. The internal memory is a micro-SD card. Make sure the device is completely shut off
before opening. Carefully open the back panel and you will see the card next to the battery. On your computer, copy all the data from the 1GB
micro-SD to the new larger size micro-SD, also to be on the safe side rename the micro-SD to “PD_NOVEL”. Insert the new micro-SD card in the
same slot. Make sure it’s in correctly, put the panel back on and power on. Once the device boots up, you have completed the memory upgrade.
I have upgraded my internal memory to 8GB and I have a 16GB SD card in the slot.

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Thank you David. I

From Tony on December 28, 2010 :: 7:11 am

Thank you David.  I emailed Pandigital but the only thing you get from them is ..... it will void your warrentee.  They don’t like anyone tinkering with thier units.  I will be running at test to put on android 2.2 today.  I will blog when I have the results.

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I am just not sure

From Kathy on December 28, 2010 :: 10:52 am

I am just not sure about this one. The main thing I want it for is actually reading books. The wifi is great and music but can anyone tell me how to load music on it from Itunes. Also the page turning is pretty slow and when I turn it off it comes back on in about 10 min. Any ideas?

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I've been trying to upgrade

From Brandon on December 28, 2010 :: 12:02 pm

I’ve been trying to upgrade the firmware on my pandigital novel every time i start the update after a few mins it says the program has stopped working can someone help me. It’s the black model

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my one and only question

From kyle on December 28, 2010 :: 7:50 pm

my one and only question is when is this “update” available?

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I've never understood why people

From Ross on December 28, 2010 :: 8:01 pm

I’ve never understood why people take the time to tell someone about a good site on the web, but don’t include a link to that site.  Please, folks, include a link; it would be sooooo helpful.

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Kathy,I loaded music from Itunes

From Debra on December 29, 2010 :: 12:22 am

Kathy,

I loaded music from Itunes to my eReader using the USB connection. Open Itunes App, select ‘music’ under Library to display songs.  Then open ‘my computer’, open ‘removable disk’ (one that the eReader is connected to), then open the ‘music’ folder.  Select desired songs in Itunes, click and drag to the ‘music’ folder on the eReader.  Hope this helps.

No ideas to share with your other issues, mine seems to work ok in those areas….

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Well all I did the

From Tony on December 29, 2010 :: 7:31 am

Well all I did the hack.  I installed Android 2.1 on the white novel with a dual operating system.  It has both the full droid and the Pandigital chopped version.  It is great.  Had some problems with the Market but after installation do a complete reset back to factory settings and boom everything worked.  You may have to redownload books but it now has the Kindle app, some more games, and other free apps from android market.  If you need any other questions answered just send a line I will try to help.

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white pandigital

From scottie coleman on August 17, 2012 :: 3:26 am

I have bought the white pandigital, will resetting it let me play youtube files

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Here is the site that

From Tony on December 29, 2010 :: 7:39 am

Here is the site that helped. 

http://www.the-digital-reader.com/2010/11/15/how-to-hack-your-white-novel-the-easy-way/

It was basicly very easy. 
1.  Read how to. 
2.  Download the version it recommends to your SD your SD Card.  Reboot as it says and it works.

DO NOT SET THE DEFAULT IN THE OPERATING SYSTEM.
IF YOU DO YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO GO BACK AND FORTH IN THE SYSTEM.

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Me and my fiance got

From LBVamp on December 30, 2010 :: 12:47 am

Me and my fiance got one of these for x-mas, and well we were wondering; can u get you tube on here and how, also can u download AVG or something like that? Also can you rent books for B&N? If so how?

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Just a little precaution...loading the

From Mike Winans on December 30, 2010 :: 4:44 pm

Just a little precaution…loading the “Cruz” upgrade can brick your white Pandigital Novel.

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I was putting the firmware

From Breeze1ss9 on January 06, 2011 :: 10:56 pm

I was putting the firmware on my pandigital Novel (I am thinking it’s a black, not a white - it’s blue). I did it via card. Now, it won’t turn on at all. Anyone??

I did try to contact Pandigital via their contact information where they say they try hard to get back to you within 48 hours. It’s been over 72 hours now and no response. When I tried calling them I was on hold for 15 minutes. :( I was so excited about this. Especially after reading these posts too. Now I’m just frustrated. I want it to turn on and work!!!

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Ok, got it started. Don't

From Breeze1ss9 on January 08, 2011 :: 1:03 pm

Ok, got it started. Don’t know what happened. I know I had it charged every time I would try to turn it on. Guess I turned it on with a stroke of luck.

It’s sad to learn though that customer service with Pandigital is tough to get through to. What I read here, didn’t seem like there was any problems and they were wonderful to work with.

I found my Firmware Verson on my Pandigital and will check with the site to verify the most recent firmware was downloaded.

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Hubby gave me the 7"

From Connie on January 08, 2011 :: 1:40 pm

Hubby gave me the 7” black 4 gig model from QVC for Christmas. I love it but would like to be able to do more with it. I can visit the YouTube site but it won’t let me view any videos. Is there a way around this? Also, I tried updating the firmware using my computer and once it was finished, I restarted it just as the site tells you to do, holding the power button and +volume at the same time. It does not update the firmware, so I tried doing it with the SD card. Still same outcome. It does not update. I’ve tried contacting Pandigital via their website but no response. I’m wondering if it already has the latest update since it’s so new. Any ideas?

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Check in the comments section

From Kelley on January 08, 2011 :: 3:52 pm

Check in the comments section at this URL - ones by Johnny Yo. Read all of the ones by him. I’m not very techie and I was able to update the firmware and stop the turning on every 10 minutes after I turned it off and the interface is much better after the update.

http://www.the-digital-reader.com/2010/08/18/review-black-pandigital-novel/

Good luck.

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I bought one back in

From Angela on January 09, 2011 :: 2:38 am

I bought one back in Dec. but returned it due to a glitch with they keyboard. It would type in the letter above the one I would tap on. Did anyone else have this problem? I really enjoyed the pandigital, but the keyboard drove me nuts.

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After a very successfull update

From Tony on January 09, 2011 :: 6:45 am

After a very successfull update to android 2.1 as stated in a previous blog, I have found that you can get most apps to work from the android market.  But first you need to increase the micro disk located inside the Novel.  I went from a 1 gig that came with it to a 2 gig (all I had at the time).  The good thing about going to the full version of android is the backup capabilities.  I am able to backup everything to my 16 gig external disk before I upgrade to a newer 8 gig internal disk.  The better half loves the ability to play games.  I am hoping to upgrade to Android 2.2 so that I can use flash for youtube and other online streaming apps.
Or maybe I will just wait till the new version of Android for Tablets (Honeycomb) comes out very soon.  The only problem is with 2.1 is it thinks its a phone….(ya.)

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The one thing I forgot

From Tony on January 09, 2011 :: 9:09 am

The one thing I forgot to tell everyone is that Pandigital Tech support and customer support is terrible.  I have been in the computer business for almost 40 years (started on mainframes) and the tech suppport is terrible.  Either they are hiring right out of college without any real experience or they are hiring some that don’t know what they are doing just to keep salaries down.  The samsung tablet (which is the Pandigital Novel) is a very good piece of equipment just needs better software.

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i got the black pandigital

From sharon on January 13, 2011 :: 12:26 am

i got the black pandigital novel for xmas. how do i get to play games on it? totally totally lost :(

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It is not that complacated

From Tony on January 13, 2011 :: 7:13 am

It is not that complacated if you follow the instructions at this website:

http://www.the-digital-reader.com/2010/11/19/how-to-hack-your-black-pandigital-novel/

You can not mix the Black and the White Novel, they are both different internally.  I have yet been unable to put on Android 2.2.  But this version 2.1 will let you go to the Android Market and download games and other things to make it into a decent tablet.  It is a little slow, (At my age so am I) but it works at a great price.  If you do hack the black make sure you have at least a 4 gig internal memory card inside to be able to store alot of apps.

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