I’ve come across a lot of confusion lately about Pandigital’s line of ereaders/tablets/what-have-you. I decided it was past time that I wrote out a careful explanation about some of the problems Novel owners have had. There are about 5 different questions that have come up and they all have the same cause.
You see, the Pandigital Novel isn’t a single device; it’s actually 5 different devices, all of which are the Pandigital Novel. The 5 Novels use different firmwares. That’s because The 5 Novels are based on very different hardware.
If you’re wondering why they did this, well, I don’t have a clue.
At one point I had worked out a set of nicknames for the Novels, but since they released the 5th model my system no longer works. My nicknames for the first 4 Novels were:
- White (7″ LCD screen, white shell)
- Black (7″ LCD screen, black shell)
- E-reader (6″ Sipix screen, white shell)
- Nine Inch (9″ LCD screen, black shell)
I’m going to have to drop the nicknames, unfortunately, because the 5th Novel comes in 4 different colors (white, black, red, blue). As you can imagine, people are trying to install the firmware from the white Novel on the 5th Novel. It doesn’t work, of course. Fortunately it doesn’t break the 5th Novel, either.
There’s another serious problem caused by the naming confusion. As you can tell from the list above, the 9″ Novel is black. This has led people to think that the firmware that Pandigital offers for the Black Novel will also work on the 9″ Novel. It doesn’t. The black Novel and the 9″ Novel might look similar but they do not use the same firmware. Unfortunately, trying to install the firmware seriously fucks up the 9″ Novel.
So how do you tell which Novel you have?
The Nine Inch Novel is obviously bigger and the E-reader clearly has a grayscale screen, so it’s easy to tell those 2 apart from the rest. But for the other 3 Novels we’re stuck with using the model numbers. This is unfortunate because the firmwares offered for download aren’t listed by the model number; in fact, there’s nothing on Pandigital’s website other than the images of the original black and white Novels.
The 5th Novel is the easiest to identify. Look on the bottom of the retail box for the model number. It should read something like xxx07T40xxxx. That “40″ is how you can tell that this is a color Novel. It means you have a Novel with 4GB Flash, which can only be the 5th Novel.
If you don’t see the 40, then you likely have one of the Black or White Novels. The difference should be obvious.