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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

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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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cant watch youtube vids

From violet on October 03, 2011 :: 3:08 am

hi,

i cant watch youtube vids using the pandigital novel, do i need to download anything for this??

thanks.

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Watching movies or videos on the Pandigital Novel

From Tony M on December 18, 2011 :: 5:22 am

You can watch movies on VEOH with the pandigital novel by downloading the “Real Player android app” (it works good on VEOH site, you may have to wait awhile for the movie to load even though you may get an error meassage still wait) also you can try downloading the “Youtube android app” to watch youtube videos. You can try “skyfire android app” also to watch videos and movies ( will work with a few sites). You can find these apps free at http://www.freewarelovers.com/android

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Pandigital novel 7

From Eileen Schoreck on October 25, 2011 :: 10:41 pm

.. i have the 2.0 it runs kindle ....

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Kindle app.

From Kent on October 26, 2011 :: 10:37 am

Eileen - I’ve been wondering if Kindle would work on “white” Novel.  Did you download from Amazon?  The info. on its site says you need 2.1.  Would like more info. on how you made it work.

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.. youtube

From Eileen Schoreck on October 25, 2011 :: 10:43 pm

there is a youtube app. you can install..

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Watching youtube or movies on the Pandigital Novel

From Tony M on December 18, 2011 :: 5:31 am

You can watch movies on VEOH with the pandigital novel by downloading the “Real Player android app” (it works good on VEOH site although you may have to wait for the movie to load with the RealPlayer app you may get an error message but still wait it should finally load) also you can try downloading the “Youtube android app” to watch youtube videos. You can try “skyfire android app” also to watch videos and movies ( will work with a few web sites). You can find these apps and more free at http://www.freewarelovers.com/android note: some apps will work and some will not( You just have to go by trial and error).

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movies

From brittney boateng on November 25, 2011 :: 12:27 pm

what website can you download movies onto the pandigital cuz i downloaded the lion king and it went onto the es file and wen i click on it the screen goes blank and then it goes to the home page so what website

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The Novel Runs The Kindle App

From Lucien on December 22, 2011 :: 2:12 am

I recently got the pandigital black 7” 2 gb for $69.  It is running Android 2.1 and is a smooth little devil.  I am able to download just about any .apk file including the kindle app.  From freewareloves.net I downloaded an older version of their app (3.1.30 version) and it runs great, so now with the addition of Amazon’s app store, I know have access to kindle books, along with Barns & Noble and Kobo.  Should keep me reading for years.

This little tablet is very responsive, page turning is easy, but you have to tap and slide with care, but I adjusted to it easy enough.  I have download Pandora and Dolphine Browser HD.  all work just fine and I couldn’t be happier with this tablet.  With all the freeware out there, who really needs the market anyhow?  Really?  A little searching and you can have just about any app for any reason you could want.  I would like to see Netflix actually allow us tablet (Android) owners be able to stream on our tablets, but hey there is an app to stream from my PC to my tablet using my home network, so really its just a wait and see thing.

Great site and happy tablet-ing all!  smile

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Whenever I plug my pandigital

From Dell on December 26, 2011 :: 9:58 pm

Whenever I plug my pandigital novel into my computer with the USB that was provided, my pandigital novel says “Device will be inoperable for the duration of the connection” and the only thing that pops up onto my computer screen is if I want to use Windows Media Player, print pictures, etc. I want to know how to download music. And also, whenever I go on youtube videos, it doesn’t play.

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You need to download the You Tube app

From Tony M on December 26, 2011 :: 10:56 pm

To view YouTube videos you need to download the YouTube app for free at http://www.freewarelovers.com/android also you should be able to view and load music, video and picture files by clicking on them and draging them into the Pandigital novel folders when connected by USB cable on your PC. The Pandigital Novel will by shown in “My Computer” as a removable disk. Click on it to open to view folders then find your music (which should be on your PC already in itunes or some other music program) click and hold on the desired music file and drag it into the Pandigital folder music folder. Videos can be done the same way and also can be saved using an “SD card”.

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Download the You Tube app

From Tony M on December 26, 2011 :: 10:59 pm

To view YouTube videos you need to download the YouTube app for free at http://www.freewarelovers.com/android also you should be able to view and load music, video and picture files by clicking on them and draging them into the Pandigital novel folders when connected by USB cable on your PC. The Pandigital Novel will by shown in “My Computer” as a removable disk. Click on it to open to view folders then find your music (which should be on your PC already in itunes or some other music program) click and hold on the desired music file and drag it into the Pandigital folder music folder. Videos can be done the same way and also can be saved using an “SD card”.

Reply

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also you can check this out

From Tony M on December 26, 2011 :: 11:04 pm

You can watch movies on VEOH with the pandigital novel by downloading the “Real Player android app” (it works good on VEOH site although you may have to wait for the movie to load with the RealPlayer app you may get an error message but still wait it should finally load) also you can try downloading the “Youtube android app” to watch youtube videos. You can try “skyfire android app” also to watch videos and movies ( will work with a few web sites). You can find these apps and more free at http://www.freewarelovers.com/android note: some apps will work and some will not( You just have to go by trial and error).

Reply

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reset button?

From Madria on December 27, 2011 :: 10:23 am

I bought my kids the 2GB multimedia novel for Christmas…when I finally seen there was a firmware update I plugged everything in like it said and the reader froze. It’s stuck on the start up screen. It just says pandigital novel with the blue behind it. I don’t know if there’s a reset button, called pandigital but they’re experiencing a high call volume and I cant get through. Any help would be greatly appreciated!!

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Try this

From Tony M on December 27, 2011 :: 10:20 pm

This happened to me once. 1)Try powering off and then back on again or 2) Try using a different USB cable with your Pandigital connected to your PC or a different PC or 3) Let it stay on and let the battery drain until it turns itself off then charge the battery and turn it back on. (this last one worked for me)

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Kindle

From Kent on December 28, 2011 :: 4:04 pm

Eileen Schoreck-
I want to know how you got Kindle on your 2.0 Novel.
Kindle site says you need 2.1. I tried downloading and then couldn’t get anywhere from there. I did finally get a message the the download was unsucessful.
Kent Bonney

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pandigital ereader

From ricky on January 21, 2012 :: 5:20 am

The pandigital eraders suck.. you can’t watch movies on them, the barns and nobel app sucks, this thing was a complete waste of time to invent!!!

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No Amazon apps allowed?

From Rose on February 11, 2012 :: 8:00 pm

So from what I have been reading, the Pandigital e-reader will allow you to download the Amazon android marketplace app but not actually allow you to use any of the apps…and if you want a book, you pretty much have to pay for it?  I download the marketplace app several times and the finally was able to try to get some apps to download, it says they are complete but a sd card is required..why do you need to use a sd when you have 2 gs’s of memory and haven’t gotten to use any of it?  I bought this before Christmas for my son who of course had to have a color touch screen.  I have a keyboard Kindle and it was a snap to use.  Everyday I check the 100 top free books in the genre of my choice and now I am up to over 600 books and I have not spent over 30 dollars.  My Kindle is the best gift I have ever had and it goes with me everywhere.  I was shocked to see that B & N seem to charge for everything.  If anyone knows how to actually get something loaded on this thing, I would appreciate it.

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help please

From jennifer smith on November 14, 2012 :: 4:49 pm

i can’t find anything that will load and work for games my son would like angrybirds can anyone help thanks

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amazon app store

From kevin on November 15, 2012 :: 2:49 am

Jennifer, It’s been over a year since I serious ly played with setting up my planet, but as I’m pretty sure the amazon appstore works. Hopefully this link will do it.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/mas/get-appstore/android

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Games

From Rey on February 25, 2014 :: 9:47 pm

How is it for games , how good is it ? I’m looking for something just to do when sitting around , like doctor’s appointments , or just killing time.

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was great value 3 years ago, now not so much

From kevin on February 26, 2014 :: 2:28 am

Rey, if you can get one for say $20 on craigslist it would be worthwhile for that. I had crazybirds on it and it was playable although not a great experience, it would be much better than nothing. There are plenty of better systems out there for $50 or less if you catch a sale that are much better. Newegg.com had a 7” kindle hd refurb for $99 with free shipping yesterday and the difference would be like comparing an old vw beetle with a ferrari. Both will get you there but one you would enjoy, the other just tolerate.

There are also lots of cheap chinese tablets out there, like the hisense I picked up from walmart last year for $130. I’ve also seen newegg sell a 4.3 inch tablet for $40. The key is get one with access to the google play market, or in the kindle case it has it’s own market. If it has access to google play (pandigital doesn’t with out a lot of work) it’s got decent hardware and access to the best source of apps.

One retailer this week has a tmobile prepaid phone on sale for $40. This phone does not require to be activated to use the “tablet” type functions such as games, e reader, even watching movies. It’s the alcatel evolve, only has a 4” screen but that’s big enough to be worthwhile and much more worthwhile than the pandigital despite it’s smaller size. It is a relatively basic phone but has access to google play and works great on wifi. You can even download a free app called groove ip and get a free google voice account and make calls via WiFi for free.

So unless a pandigital falls into your lap or is very cheap I’d go with something newer and if necessary for the budget smaller because the newer screen quality makes up for a smaller size.

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4.2 inch tablet $35 at newegg until 1pm eastern 27feb

From kevin on February 27, 2014 :: 5:31 am

as I mentioned. Known as a shellshocker, extra special deals for a short time. For playing games for a short time, reading books for a short, etc it will work. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=0EJ-0019-00005

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