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300 CM7 Nooks Sent to Retail Locations as Selling Tools!

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By phatwila, Junior Member on 25th May 2012, 10:30 PM
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Hello everyone!
Thought i'd register an account finally and share a little project I've been working on for the past few months at my job. I'll try to keep this short, and answer technical questions about the process, if anyone is interested of course

I've been flashing various WinMo and Android devices for years, and had just recently picked up a Nook Color at the time. Well within a hour I was running CM7 on it, and just couldn't believe how much potential was unlocked on this cheap little tablet!

Months back at work, we were trying to figure out a better/more portable way to display product demonstration videos to our customers. We used TV's and DVD player to demo product videos, but that made it a pain to show specific items to customers, without changing the DVD chapter for the whole showroom. So we started tossing around the idea of a portable DVD player or tablet, and it took off from there.

Eventually we had the idea of doing a trial run of tablets in the showrooms with a video player and videos of the product formatted for the tablet. Initially we tried using Acer Iconia tablets, but they were way too bulky to carry around all day. So we settled on using Nook Colors because of the size and the fact that we could hook a lanyard on so the sales associates wouldn't drop them! Those features sealed the deal and we did a trial run of 7 Nooks in the Florida showrooms. Needless to say, being able to show products video demos on demand were a huge hit for our customers and ended up deploying about 300 nooks to all our nation wide retail locations!

It was a crazy few months, and we had a lot of technical hurdles to overcome, but the last of the 300 Nooks arrived in the showrooms at the beginning of the week, and they have had nothing but RAVE reviews from customers.

I think using these Nooks running CyanogenMod as a retail selling tool is a huge milestone for mobile computing use in the retail environment.

Would love to have hear feedback and like I said if anyone is interested in how we accomplished this technically i'll gladly provide details!

----
(Combined this from below)

I took a Nook and did the initial flash to CM7. Then I completely locked down everything but the Video Player, Calculator, and Screen Brightness Widget. This including disabling many APKs / processes that were not needed that would just sit in the background, wasting battery. Any other applications that couldn't be disabled such as the settings menu are locked down with a password app. Since we're using this as a selling tool, we didn't want anyone browsing the internet or playing Angry Birds, so Play and wireless settings were also passworded. Then I cleaned up the interface and used the launcher to hide all the applications that are either for diagnostics or were simply locked down.

Next I took a CWM Backup of our master Nook and copied that image to a CWM bootable card. I opted to leave the stock Nook recovery on there and go with the bootable to prevent... Tampering.

So basically once I got the process down to a science, we ramped up production and started flashing them in bulk.

For the last step, I put hundreds of product videos formatted for the Nooks native resolution onto a separate SD card and we used a card duplicator to create 300 cards that were installed into each device before we shipped them out.

So in a nutshell we take a Nook, pop in the ClockworkMod Recovery card, restore the Backup, and within 5 to 10 minutes I have a fully customized nook that just needs the admin password changed, video card, and then it's ready to go.

Ray Detwiler
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25th May 2012, 10:37 PM |#2  
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WOW! I am impressed. What a great use of our Nook Colors. Thank you for sharing that with us.
26th May 2012, 02:35 PM |#3  
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Thanks!
26th May 2012, 04:47 PM |#4  
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Nice work! I bet you love your job. It must be great getting to play with all of those tablets, not to mention the innovating involved. Sounds like a real hoot!
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26th May 2012, 05:20 PM |#5  
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This sounds awesome, I would love to buy one, in fact.
26th May 2012, 06:14 PM |#6  
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Awesome!!!! Are you at the Phantom in Kenosha? I'm making a Wisconsin trip (from Chicago) tomorrow for beer, cheese, and fireworks.
26th May 2012, 06:41 PM |#7  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by a1cshowoff

Awesome!!!! Are you at the Phantom in Kenosha? I'm making a Wisconsin trip (from Chicago) tomorrow for beer, cheese, and fireworks.

That's great to hear! I'm at the corporate office in Youngstown, Ohio but if you're stopping in at the Racine showroom (looks to be about 20 mins from Kenosha) They'll have a couple of nooks on the floor for you to take a look at.
26th May 2012, 06:46 PM |#8  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phatwila

It was a crazy few months, and we had a lot of technical hurdles to overcome, but the last of the 300 Nooks arrived in the showrooms at the beginning of the week, and they have had nothing but RAVE reviews from customers.

If you don't mind expanding a bit, what are some of the technical hurdles you encountered?
26th May 2012, 08:24 PM |#9  
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Sure thing!

I took a Nook and did the initial flash to CM7. Then I completely locked down everything but the Video Player, Calculator, and Screen Brightness Widget. This including disabling many APKs / processes that were not needed that would just sit in the background, wasting battery. Any other applications that couldn't be disabled such as the settings menu are locked down with a password app. Since we're using this as a selling tool, we didn't want anyone browsing the internet or playing Angry Birds, so Play and wireless settings were also passworded. Then I cleaned up the interface and used the launcher to hide all the applications that are either for diagnostics or were simply locked down.

Next I took a CWM Backup of our master Nook and copied that image to a CWM bootable card. I opted to leave the stock Nook recovery on there and go with the bootable to prevent... Tampering.

So basically once I got the process down to a science, we ramped up production and started flashing them in bulk.

For the last step, I put hundreds of product videos formatted for the Nooks native resolution onto a separate SD card and we used a card duplicator to create 300 cards that were installed into each device before we shipped them out.

So in a nutshell we take a Nook, pop in the ClockworkMod Recovery card, restore the Backup, and within 5 to 10 minutes I have a fully customized nook that just needs the admin password changed, video card, and then it's ready to go.
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26th May 2012, 08:40 PM |#10  
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Do they have the Nook Colors at the Herculaneum, MO store? I may have to check them out when I go down that way to play underground Disc Golf.
26th May 2012, 08:45 PM |#11  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mogators1

Do they have the Nook Colors at the Herculaneum, MO store? I may have to check them out when I go down that way to play underground Disc Golf.

Yep, they do
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