Rooting Sony PRS-T1 lets you get at the Android goodies

Cries of “I am root!” abound once again with the rooting of Sony’s PRS-T1 eBook reader. The eBook Reader Blog took the original rooting directions and then looked at some of the things you can do with root access.

This hardware is based around an ePaper display, but we must say that the performance seems to be fantastic. There may be a few missing features from the original user interface (like how pages are turned) that can be fixed with root access, but we think it’s the added Android access that makes this worth it. In the video after the break you’ll see that you can drop through to the Android 2.2 desktop and install any application you’re interested in using. This is a multi-touch display so it’s well suited for navigation although applications don’t work well yet because of excessive screen refreshing. But we’re sure that will improve with time. Of note is the ability to play music through apps like Pandora, and the ability to load content from other providers like Amazon books via the Kindle app.

Every time we write one of these rooted features we can’t help but think back to this I’m a Mac spoof video…. you’ll see why in the last few seconds.

[Thanks Nathan]

24 thoughts on “Rooting Sony PRS-T1 lets you get at the Android goodies

  1. My god… MY EYES!!!!

    It will be nice when eink displays get to a point where the flashing won’t happen. Rooting a sony is quite an accomplishment though, so this is awesome to see in action.

  2. Can’t it remember the content of the frame buffer and only alter the pixels that need to be altered? I realize that the picture will accumulate error with time but I would love to see this. I have a eink reader and I love it but flashing really has to go.

  3. why I don’t want to buy anything that has DRM because “technically” I don’t own it. SO love it when people do this and piss on that DMCA law, but still won’t buy it.

    I think ereaders could change just the pixels that move, but that it’s just easier to refresh the screen.

    1. Technically you don’t ‘own’ any software. Even with Open Source, it is still a license to use and modify, not ownership.

      However, I strongly agree with your feelings on DRM, which is why I will never own an Apple iDevice, or Sony anything (other than the 15+ year old second hand TV), or BluRay, and the list goes on.

      Anyway, cool hack! Though I agree, I don’t think I could handle all the screen refreshes for working with most apps, eink is great for books, and other content that is static, but not sure how well it works for a tablet OS. Next up adding ram.

      1. Oh yeah totally I don’t own in. That’s the copywriter’s thing and any kind of copying is plagiarizing, I think is very bad unless it’s cited, but to change ANYTHING on your own isn’t. The credit belongs to you. That fucking law though says otherwise. So you can’t share your findings or modifications to hardware and software. That I don’t agree.

    1. Frame rate in Angry Birds on my HTC Hero is about the same. It used to be some 30 fps, but then they improved and fixed it. Not that AB is alone, this happens to 99% of Android software all of the time.

  4. DRM bad, Sony ten times worse, no sale. Nice hack though. For a very predictable reason I’m hearing “Smithers, release the lawyers” in my head.

  5. A step in the good direction!

    I’ve been looking at those e-book thingies for some time but I always found them in some way. Now I know why. It’s the inflexibility of the software.

    It’s hacks like these which are hopefully going to make manufacturers aware there is a market for gadgets with an e-ink display which can be used for more than reading books and playing a bit of audio.

    Refresh rates of e-ink displays are also much improving. A few years back a refresh took 2s. Now we have even flickering displays.

    For me it’s not going to be a Sony though, the only Sony in my house are a few 20 year old amplifiers (TA-N80ES).

  6. Well, certainly some effort that went into making it work. However, the screen is rather a bug more than a feature. Rooting a general android tablet is probably a better idea and not even more expensive.

  7. Re: DRM
    I picked up a Sony PRS-505 eReader back when selection up here in Canada was poor. I never was a fan of DRM formats though, so from the moment I bought it I have been using Calibre library software to manage/transfer books. Calibre can automatically convert most non-DRM’d formats into ePub, which can be read natively. :)
    On a side note, I also still use my old Toshiba Gigabeat with Rockbox instead of stock firmware for similar reasons.

  8. This is really great. I wonder how Interactive Fiction will look like on the PRS-T1, like Twisty or Hunky Punk. If only more storage space could be available. This is the ideal device for these text based adventure games!

  9. This might just be my Perfect Tablet! I would like an e-ink display for strain-free reading, but want more versatility (and less lock-in) than a straight e-book reader can provide.

    Now if only Sony would behave less like utter arses, I’d feel not feel ethically challenged for buying one.

  10. Umm… Nook 2nd Edition anyone?
    It runs android, is already rooted, best eInk screen on the market along with the kindle, does partial screen refreshes (“only the pixels that change”), a custom rom is already in development (some are even trying to get CM7 to run) and it boasts a 800MHz OMAP CPU.
    And, of course: It looks good and fits in your pocket. And its not Sony.

    1. Still doesn’t have Bluetooth. The latter is more important for me than Wi-Fi. Lots of possibilities to use the reader for something other than plain book reading. Last time I checked, adding BT to Arduino is still a lot cheaper.

  11. Know this is old thread but: screen now broken. any ideas how to cannibalize the reader and say try and transplant it into the body of an old psion revo ?

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