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back to article Hack reveals Android tablet within Sony e-reader

Sony's latest e-book reader, the Wi-Fi enabled, touchscreen-equipped PRS-T1, is now on sale in the UK for £129, making it one of cheapest big-name Android gadgets out there. That's right, Android. Sony has used the Google OS as a foundation for its own e-reader UI. And owners have already rooted the gadget to bring the standard …

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Stop

How long...

Before the first idiot that fails to understand e-ink posts about the display quality......

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Gimp

Even worse...

How long before some idiot attempts to run Angry Birds on it?

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Oooooh, I like this. Was just recently considering an e-reader, and a fully unlocked Android, however slow the screen is, would suit me much better than the locked-down UI.

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Boffin

It's even better than that

There's a Kindle store and reader for Android. When rooted, this device will be able to read *and* purchase any e-book format you care to name.

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Thumb Up

Indeed

And there is also a Sony Reader app, so even if you do root and hack your Sony Reader you can still read your own Sony books...

This could be a serious win; Kindle and Sony in one.

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Joke

The Sindle?

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Lockout

"Amazon has upped its security, with firmware updates now requiring official sign-off before they will unpack"

I can understand that corporates tie profit to the gizmo plus content sales and they don't want to sell a gizmo without getting those content sales but I wonder just how much manufacturers gain (or prevent loss of) through all the effort to lock users out of this hackery?

I suspect they would lose very little, a few will indulge in hacking, but probably far more will buy one because they could, even if they never do, and will promote and recommend it over competition because they could if they wanted to.

Of course, any corporate who thinks copying my purchased CD or DVD collection to personal electronic media is equal to the theft of tens of thousand dollars from them is hardly likely to be capable of indulging in any constructive discussion on the matter.

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Lock me out?

I wonder this too. Orange's San Francisco phone was so trivially easy to unlock that I guess a great proportion were sold just because of that. As long as it was priced to return a margin - what's the problem?

Mine is on a T-Mobile contract so Orange are still making money on the sale of the handset. Obviously not enough to encourage them to do the same on the Monte Carlo successor which is hardly visible these days.

And I have Kindle on my Android phone and on my Touchpad (Webos but hopefully Android too soon). When I need a successor I might buy an unlockable Fire. But my business will be elsewhere if it isn't ... be careful about trying to control your customers. Apple can do it but few others can replicate their success.

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Depends on what they're trying to protect

Amazon would be more fearful of you ripping the content you own (more accurately licenced), or are streaming / renting than they are of you obtaining a cheap tablet. Chances are they're even contractually obliged to protect the content by the content providers. So signing the firmware would be just one step to stop piracy but I imagine there are others too ranging from watermarking, encryption & decryption (done in hardware), protected flash and so on.

The answer as always is don't buy a proprietary device locked to a proprietary service. Amazon are under no obligation to make it easy to crack and in fact its in their interests that you can't crack it, at least into a form that compromises their service or content.

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Unhappy

Amazon making a loss on each Fire

Amazon is selling the Kindle Fire at a small loss so presumably, they are hoping to make that up in content sales. Allowing people to use it for whatever they wish will clearly put a dent in their long-term profits.

However, this attempt to thwart the more technical goes against Amazon's statements at launch.

PC Magazine reported that Jon Jenkins (director of Amazon's Silk browser) told them that "it's going to get rooted, and what you do after you root it is up to you." so it is surprising (and disappointing) that Amazon should be starting to get awkward.

With any luck, Amazon's attempts at stopping the devices being hacked will be as bootless as such attempts normally are.

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Bootless?

Fruitless?

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I would really like to see Amazon start selling Epub books, this may be the answer.

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Anonymous Coward

Why is everyone so keen to root this, that and the other - do people not buy things to just 'work' - I guess you can use a hammer to open a tin on beans but a can opener is a lot easier. I (along with most people) do not feel the need to root our dishwashers.

If you want an e-reader the new Kindle is probably far better and if you want a tablet (that can run the Kindle app) get an iPad or a proper tablet. This is going to be junk for anything else with eInk so it's only any good as an eReader anyway.

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Paris Hilton

@ AC 1555h

>>>>>>>>Why is everyone so keen to root this, that and the other - do people not buy things to just 'work' - I guess you can use a hammer to open a tin on beans but a can opener is a lot easier. I (along with most people) do not feel the need to root our dishwashers.<<<<<<<<<

Some do it because they like to tinker, some do it for the lulz, some do it because they like the challenge.

Have you even been swimming? It's easier to use a boat, you know. Paris would.

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Bronze badge

For the original iPhone it made some sense - there was no way to install your own apps. On many phones, including Android and iPhone, jailbreaking allows you to bypass the carrier lock and insert a rival SIM card. Hacking also allows you to upgrade to newer versions of Android if your phone manufacturer hasn't provided an official upgrade.

But you're right, I really can't see the point in hacking one of these things.

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WTF?

Ermm...

You seem to have stumbled upon this website by accident. This site is visited mostly by technology enthusiasts more interested in the potential of said technology, rather than the artificial/short-sighted shackles applied by the device manufacturers.

Might I suggest you retire somewhere safer? Possibly ZDNet or the BBC?

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Anonymous Coward

@AC 15:55GMT - I can assure you

that the day when your dishwasher will decide for you what kind of dishes to wash and what kind of detergent to use, or when you'll be tired of your appliance snitching on you then you'll feel the urge to root it.

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FAIL

Erm no

The Kindle is a really BAD purchase, thats locked into a single source of books (Amazon). Only an idiot that can't think further than tomorrow would buy one.

Better buy a Koko or a Sony, or anything that supports EPUB, you aren't tied into anyone...

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Happy

@ Barry S.

I'm quite happy with a Kindle, and while I might be an Idiot for being locked to a single source, I fail to see it that way. If I download a free book from Project Guttenberg (or, for that matter, any ,pdf from somewhere), I can drag-and-drop it on the Kindle and read it. I give you that though: reading epub requires a conversion taking a few seconds.

I can live with that.

Oh by the way, Kindle sucks at zooming like a panda at slides.

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I happen to own one such device

And as it happens it is quite solid. Never thought that I would recommend a Sony product, but here I am. Especially if it can be rooted and flashed.

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Anonymous Coward

But is it GPL'd?

Did they ship the source?

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Why would they need to? Although the Linux kernel it runs on is GPL, the rest of Android by preference uses the Apache License. Arse Technica has an (older) article on the subject:

http://arstechnica.com/old/content/2007/11/why-google-chose-the-apache-software-license-over-gplv2.ars

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