The Nook Color is a 7-inch tablet that was created by Barnes and Noble. It runs a heavily customized version of old Android created by B&N. You cannot do pretty much anything in it other than read books bought from B&N. Thankfully, the Nook Color has a bootloader that is not locked and so it is easy to boot and load other operating systems on it. CyanogenMod has been ported to run on the Nook Color. This post shows you how to have CM10 running off a microSD card on your Nook Color. Your stock Nook OS remains safe and untouched!
CyanogenMod 10 is based on Android 4.1 JellyBean. At the time of this writing, there is no stable release of CM10 for the Nook Color. But, I found that the nightly releases work pretty well. Update: Stable releases of CM10.1 are now available for Nook Color from here. Please use that in the rest of this guide.
These are the steps I used to install CM10 on my Nook Color using a microSD card. This method is easy and safe to try and it leaves the original Nook installation as it is. You just need a microSD card of capacity 2GB or more. These steps are based on the detailed CM10 installation guide written by leapinlar.
We need a Linux SD image to boot from and to install the CM 10 ROM. Download the image and unzip it to obtain a .img file.
Create a bootable microSD disk image using the above .img file. This can be done easily on either Windows or Linux. Once it is done, remove the microSD card and then re-insert it back into the computer. It will be mounted.
Download the latest CM 10 release for the Nook Color. Encore is the CyanogenMod codename for Nook Color.
Without access to the Google Play Store to install apps, a CyanogenMod is pretty useless. To have the Play Store and other Google apps, download the GApps release for CM 10. Pick the gapps file that is meant for CM 10.0.x.
Copy the CM 10 and gapps zip files to the microSD card. Do not unzip the files, just copy them directly. Eject the card from your computer.
Ensure the Nook Color is charged to last at least 30 minutes. Power down the Nook Color. Insert the microSD card into the microSD slot of the Nook Color. The slot is on the back, inside the nook.
Power on the Nook Color. The Linux image on the microSD will boot up, you will see the familiar Linux penguin image. Linux will install the CyanogenMod bootloader, CM10 and gapps from their zip files. After it is finished, it will power down the Nook Color.
Now power up the Nook Color again and you will see the CyanogenMod bootloader, which will boot CM 10 from the microSD card. You will see the pulsing circle of CM 10 and should boot into CM 10 in a while.
You now have CM 10 running on your Nook Color. Once you give Google your credentials, you will be able to install Android apps from the Play Store. Have fun! 😊
If you ever need to use the stock Nook OS, just power down the Nook Color, remove the microSD card and power on again. And when you want your CM10 back, just insert the microSD card back into the Nook Color.
Note: I no longer use a Nook Color, so I cannot update the post with recent information. For the latest releases to use with this installation method, please see the comments below shared by other users.
Tried with: Nook Color 8 GB, SD image generic-sdcard-v1.3-CM7-9-10-larger-Rev5, CyanogenMod 10-20121228-NIGHTLY-encore and GApps jb-20121011-signed