I own an old Google Nexus 7.
It was relatively inexpensive and delivered a true current Android experience most of it’s life. But, as with most things techie, it eventually couldn’t keep up.
It’s an old single core processor but with a decent amount of memory. I truly appreciate Google’s Nexus plans of putting out new hardware and then sending the latest OS’s out. Eventually, whether it was the old hardware or the more demanding OS or just the combination of both, but getting it to boot and run an app inside of five minutes was driving me crazy.
Eventually, I did a little homework and decided to try a new OS. Or, I should say variation on Android.
Quick lesson. Every Android device that is circulated has some level of development and testing done to make an Android operating system work with whatever it’s installed on. Samsung has people that do it for their phones and tablets. LG has people doing the same. Most of the time with that testing they add their own personal touch in the form of bloat ware. In effect, a bunch of extra programs that are typically redundant and often look for money.
Then, there is the open source community of Android OS developers, similar to the world of Linux developers. I’ve always liked Open Source.
I made the commitment to change the OS for my Nexus 7. I chose Cyanogenmod because it seemed to have the largest and most supportive community. And the community was on the latest versions of Android. Cyanogenmod list links and basic steps if you search hard enough.
From a high level, you rooted your device, you load a recovery program (like TWRP), you download the OS (Cyanogenmod), you download the proper version of gapps (google apps) and then follow the script. Yes, it formats your Nexus’s memory. But knowing I might be able to use it rather than toss it seriously appealed to my frugal and my geek side.
So what was the prognosis? It was a positive one. The process went easy and smooth. No, it didn’t make my Nexus 7 perform like it had a quad core cpu. But, I could once again surf the web reasonably. I could stream videos from Netflix. I could once again use it with a bluetooth keyboard for documents or chatting. And, a surprise I hadn’t anticipated was that CyanoGenMod makes it easy to keep your hardware current by checking something they call their nightly updates. Every new one that’s available, like the one following Lollipop or stagefright updates, I check for system updates, download it to an internal directory, boot into recovery mode and perform an update. After it completes the update, you’re on the latest version.
So, if you have an old Android phone or tablet and have time or just like techie stuff like this, give it a shot. I feel better now that I have a secondary tablet. Are you up for it?