3 October 2017 – This will be my second post related to my old Google Nexus 7 (Grouper) and bringing it back to a usable state. I previously touched on it with this article.
So let’s bring things up to date. CyanogenMod’s Nexus 7 revisions worked great initially. Then updates continued on a regular basis, but also accomplished the same end game that Google updates did. The tablet just bogged down to a crawl in performance as the updates rolled out.
For about 9 months, I relegated it to performing as a picture frame. Always on and scrolling through family photos on my desk. And it was frustrating knowing that this old tablet had more storage than more modern Android devices.
But it was always there. Staring at me. Showing me photos that were important to me. And I always felt it had more potential. When I finally came across some free time, I started scouring the searches and found this “Top Best Custom ROMs for Nexus 7 (2012)”. Exactly the kind of article I was looking for.
Once again, I don’t recommend this for those who may suffer impatience, ignore instructions or are unwilling to attempt this more than once. And remember, although improbable, there is a chance to ‘brick’ your device.
Do your homework in advance and be organized. As a reminder, I already had TWRP loaded from the first resurrection so I was a bit ahead of the game. I performed a factory reset and wiped the DALVIK during the process. Of course, all the data was backed up except for the OS. I made sure that I reviewed the key steps for all the elements and had links to alternatives (like GAPPs) in case links were out of date.
Ultimately I chose AOSP. It’s Android 6 and includes the 2016 September security fix, which covered one of my concerns. But it wasn’t so current that all the ‘next great ideas’ created excessive bloat. Going through the load, I actually had to attempt it twice, but was finally successful after ensuring I completed both a factory reset and wiping the DALVIK.
I’m not concerned with regular updates for the bleeding edge roll out because this old tablet just can’t hack newer stuff.
Dolphin browser was a part of the OS and I was very surprised at how well it works. The OS reminded me that this was a good tablet and I was right to hang onto it. Putting it on an older skinnier OS without a lot of the progressive add on’s and enhancements that come with normal tech growth really helped.
So, what do I do with it? It will be an alternate tablet. I use it as an eReader, media streamer, news tablet, and podcasts. And I’ll still use it as a digital photo frame. I love the reminders of good things.