Pandigital seems to have a habit of locking down the devices to prevent firmware updates, intentional or not it’s pretty annoying. Here is how I got around that and updated my Novel to the newest firmware.
The firmware I posted after Christmas for the 7″ Black Pandigital Novel eReader has been downloaded hundreds of times. I’ve seen it referred to elsewhere as the “Preston Hack.” which I think is hilarious.
My primary reason for uploading it in the firstplace was because Pandigital’s website had some serious bandwidth issues and could not support the number of people trying to update to the newest versions of firmware. Since that time they have added download capacity, a new version of their update software and some newer firmware. Wanting to try the new firmware I ran the Pandigital software based firmware updater a couple of days ago and all seemed well, the Pandigital site downloaded the new firmware and saved it to my novel. As instructed I rebooted into bootloader mode (hold power & volume + key for 8-10 seconds.) The update screen appeared and then closed with an error and booted into the existing firmware. I tried this again about a dozen times… argh… the “Preston Hack” (aka QVC firmware) seems to be locked down to prevent updates…not good Pandigital!
This will not be tolerated! I then proceeded to download every firmware file on Pandigital’s FTP server… and finally found one that would work. The Canadian KOBObooks.com integrated firmware installed. (If you need the Canadian version you can download that here S64N_SLST_KOBO_BB_20101104.dat) The Canadian firmware was about the same as the “Preston Hack” version, of course I don’t use KOBObooks.com and when reading in night mode the title bar is white, not black? So I was back to looking for new firmware again. I tried to load the new US version and once again the firmware is locked down! It would not allow me to load any other firmware. At this point it appeared I may be stuck with the Canadian version…crap. So on my device at this time was:
KOBO Bookstore Hardware version RD101-2GB-W Firmware S64N_SLST_KOBO_BBB_2010_11_04 Kernel Version 2.6.27 Kobo@Android)
So my next step was to try to download the Pandigital Novel Android Open Platform Kit. I’ve read elsewhere it doesn’t really do much and not to try it, but I don’t have much to lose. When downloaded from the Pandigital site it downloads like most other updates as polaris_update.dat the same file name as the original firmware update. Of course the Novel does not recognize it! I assumed it was a naming issue since the Canadian update above loaded when other polaris_update.dat files would not, so I decided to experiment. I took the existing firmware name (canadian):
S64N_SLST_KOBO_BBB_2010_11_04Changed it to reflect a newer date:
S64N_SLST_KOBO_BBB_2011_01_11And then renamed the polaris_update.dat file that I had just downloaded to:
S64N_SLST_KOBO_BBB_2011_01_11.datAfter a quick reboot and update it worked… I now had the Pandigital Open Platform Kit loaded on my Novel! Of course that doesn’t come with any apps, so after 30 seconds of looking around it was time for new firmware again. I now downloaded the latest and greatest firmware from Pandigital’s server. The same version that the Pandigital software updater recommends based on my serial number. You can get that here polaris_update.dat (108 mb) I’m not sure why this firmware version is twice as big as prior versions… but I’ll go with it… for now. From the Pandigital Open Platform Kit I was able to update the firmware using the standard polaris_update.dat naming of the firmware file.If you currently have the original “Preston Hack” I’m assuming that if you want to skip all of the steps I took to update to the latest firmware you can probably just rename this polaris_update.dat file to:
S64N_SLST_KOBO_BBB_2011_01_12.datThat should allow you to update to the most recent firmware from Pandigital. Next I’ll try to figure out why the firmware is twice as big as the prior firmware. I haven’t seen any major improvements over the original “Preston Hack” however with the Canadian firmware when you connected via usb to the novel, it didn’t require a reboot once you disconnected like the US version. Seems there are some inconsistencies in the Pandigital development department.Preston McNair