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Something Renewed – The Nexus 7 (2012) Refresh

Its been quite some time (OT: been inactive for about a month and a half T_T)… from the day that Lollipop was released and had been purportedly trickling out to the Nexus devices I had been waiting; Past OTA updates had taken its time but I got them… this time it seems the wait was in vain. With the version now at 5.0.2 some improvement is to be expected over the first one which have been reported as "crippling" to the first generation Nexus 7 (something I cannot even verify with my device). While it is possible that the update will eventually get pushed on to my device, I’ve decided to simply sideload the image to finally get to experience the newest Android build and the interface known as Material Design.


Yeah I was lazy, should’ve screenshot that one XD

The process is pretty straightforward, running a single BAT file on Windows will flash the pre-downloaded image into the Nexus 7 and then, to clear up orphaned files, maybe a single factory reset would serve as the base for the new OS.

N7L_ (5) A definite sign of progress – factory resetting during this time

None of my previous apps will be kept as I’ve found that its better to simply reinstall those fresh (I took screenshots of my entire app drawer, 3 swipes worth, as a guide to what tools my Nexus 7 is equipped with at the moment) instead of having the OS optimize old app libraries.

And so it was done, with a singular execution of a batch file and a little nail biter of a wait, partly due to me attempting the update with batteries under twenty percent, I finally had a device that was running Android Lollipop.

N7L_ (1)

It took a few minutes but it didnt go into a bootloop YAY!

There was also, during initialization, a chance for the device to copy settings from another Android thru NFC… a feature not found in previous versions mind you…

N7L_ (2)

I tried using my phone and it seemed to have initialized properly…

N7L_ (3)

But failed for some unknown reason… moved on of course XD

N7L_ (4)

After installing the Google Now Launcher to match the latest Android appearance completely, plenty of new things are seen within the OS environment: especially visible was the settings page which gave up the listed layout in favor of a more graphic one, a simple white keyboard which doesn’t even attempt to place separators in between the characters, icon updates for the back/home/recent apps soft keys, the two level drop down notification toolbar, and of course the highlight of it all, logical flat animations with each interaction on elements that had been prepared for material design.




This entire paragraph created with the help of sweeping gestures over the keyboard as opposed to touch typing ones in a fantastic demonstration of the English language (this feature available from OS past.) Another cool simple yet welcome change is that the notification toolbar changes color to reflect a more saturated color of the active app’s top graphic bar which provides an illusion of a better integrated app to system design.


Upon first boot less than two thirds of the app drawer is filled, this is after all the purest version of Android around. Little by little though, as Google apps get pushed thru some of the slots are filled with productivity oriented apps almost making the tablet independent of third party apps… alas Android wasn’t meant to be a closed system and soon right after I’m already within the familiar Play Store shedding some storage for applications. At its first day it’s still nowhere near ready to serve as my daily driver, I had tried some old apps on it but the updated OS seems to conflict with them… alternatives to be scoured in the meantime.


With the system refreshed, life seems to have been granted anew into the two year old device… Still updated thanks to the support of Google on its Nexus line of products. Will probably come up with a new set of faculties for apps since updates for them might take some time to complete.


As my primary post for the new year, it only is fitting… like putting on a new pair of clothes and clearing your mind; my daily driver is maintained and ready!

About the author

Mark O.

Mark is an architect and artist who endeavors to design most anything that requires a little bit of thought into it.

Although writing is not considered a primary focus, a little too much time can yield many thoughts that are just begging to be written down.

Armed with a trusty array of content creation devices and surrounded with a continuous flux of technology and life, herein lies those that are fortunate enough to have been given presence through a little bit of movement and a whole lot of iterations.

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