I saw this story about the first critical step in exercising owner override on Barnes and Nobles new ebook reader thanks to Hacker News. According to ITworld, this does require cracking the case to get at the media from which the device’s operating system is loaded. The Nook uses the Android platform, so it is hardly surprising that interested hackers were able to get root access, a necessary step to extending the device beyond the features and uses designed in by the original maker.
I am skeptical this will yield much of interest, however. Amazon’s much more entrenched device, the Kindle, was rooted a while ago and I haven’t seen any stories about interesting hacks on top of that. It is possible that the Nook has more to offer that might make hacks worthwhile versus possibly far more limited potential of a hacked Kindle. However, the hardware design of the Nook has been almost universally panned, which may also stall interest. There is a chance that this frustration could perversely spark projects to hack in improvements to make the hardware feel less damaged as delivered.
Time will tell.