Nexus 7 (2013) LTE and 32GB of Storage Only $149.99

If you are looking for a deal on a great small tablet, Amazon has one for you today.  You can pick up the Asus built Nexus 7 (2013) with LTE support and 32GB of storage for an amazing $149.99.  This is $250 off the retail price and $70 off the latest price on the tablet.  This is a refurbished model from Amazon but it is like-new and it warrantied for 90 days from when you receive it so you have some comfort in knowing they have you covered in case something goes wrong.

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How To Force Nexus Device Marshmallow Updates

As a Nexus owner, I know every month that Google is going to release a security and bug fix update for Android Marshmallow my Nexus 6 and Nexus 7.  The challenge of course is when that update will actually hit my device after it has been released.  Google, like other manufactures, stage these updates and it can sometimes take weeks for it to hit your device.

Don’t get me started on carrier locked versions. -.-

While you can always manually check to see if the latest version of Marshmallow on your device (Settings>About Phone (or Tablet)>System Update), the reality is that really doesn’t get you moved up in the queue any faster and some have suggested it makes no difference at all.

There is however a way to force an update to your device by manipulating the Google Services Framework on your device.  Indeed it is quite possible that this method will work on non-Nexus devices but I have not tested it.  The key thing for you to keep in mind as you try this is that it may take you several attempts to get this to work – and it may not work at all.  In my case, it took me 1 try to get my Nexus 7 (2013) to update to the January build of Marshmallow but it took me no less than 6 tries to get my Nexus 6 to update to the same release.  Patience is important but this could be a way to get an update a bit quicker other than a full-on flashing of the device.  Also, do this at your own risk as you are manipulating how Android operates on your device.  You may have to restart your device and worst case reset it.

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Updated Factory Images For Nexus Devices Released

It was widely expected that today would be the day that Google dropped the January security update for Nexus devices and that appears to be the case.  Google has updated the Factory Images page on their developer site, bringing the latest build of Android Marshmallow to a range of devices.  With the release of the images, users can expect the OTA updates to being shortly to the latest build of 6.0.1 while manufactures and carriers can start doing their testing to get updates out quickly.  It is likely we will see an update from HTC and T-Mobile drop for the One A9 and Nexus 6 respectively in the next two weeks.

The updated images are for all of the devices that were upgraded or released with Android Marshmallow.  Here is the list and the newest build number for each Nexus device.

  • Pixel C:  6.0.1 (MXB48K)
  • Nexus 6P:  6.0.1 (MMB29P)
  • Nexus 5X:  6.0.1 (MMB29P)
  • Nexus 6:  6.0.1 (MMB29S)
  • Nexus Player: 6.0.1 (MMB29T)
  • Nexus 9 LTE:  6.0.1 (MMB29S)
  • Nexus 9 Wi-Fi:  6.0.1 (MMB29S)
  • Nexus 5:  6.0.1 (MMB29S)
  • Nexus 7 (2013) Wi-Fi: 6.0.1 (MMB29O)
  • Nexus 7 (2013) LTE: 6.0.1 (MMB29O)

If you are comfortable with flashing your devices then you can download the files today and update immediately.  Otherwise you will need to wait for the OTA update.

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Android Marshmallow and USB OTG Support

With Android Marshmallow being available now for a couple of months, there has been plenty written on its impressive list of highlight features. My review of the release covered most of those and I have also posted that I think Doze and App Sleep are the true killer features of the release.

But there is another feature that Android users have long wanted out of the platform that has come with Marshmallow: Native USB On-the-go (OTG) support. For those who aren’t familiar with OTG, it allows you to plug in a small adapter to your device and then read things like USB memory sticks, run a USB based keyboard or mouse as if your phone or tablet were a PC. It gives you the ability for example to transfer files from your Android tablet to a USB key to share with others.  In previous released of Android, OTG support was not inherently supported and effectively required that you have your device rooted even if your hardware technically supported it.  That, it seems for Nexus devices, has gone away.

That last phrase is key as I explore this with you.  Right now it appears that the only devices that this works on with Marshmallow are Nexus devices:  Nexus 5, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6, Nexus 6P, Nexus 7 (2013), Nexus 9 and Pixel C.  I can confirm that I was able to connect a USB drive and a mouse successfully to my Nexus 6 and Nexus 7 while I was equally able to connect both to a colleague who as the Nexus 6P and Nexus 9.  Based on information available, the Pixel C should have no problem supporting it either.  Technically the Nexus 5 does support it but there have been reports of challenges getting it to work.  At the end of the day, your mileage may vary so keep that in mind.  Importantly, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to try this out on your devices – especially if you have a non-Nexus device – to see if it work.

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[UPDATE] Strange Notification Drawer Behavior on The Nexus 7 and Android Marshmallow

Android Marshmallow Icon Screen

[UPDATE] This is why I love the Android community.  After posting this, several people responded over on Google+ that this is indeed a feature, not a bug.  In fact the team over at Droid Life reported on this back in May… and I just missed it.

Like many of you who have Nexus devices, I’ve upgraded both my Nexus 6 and my Nexus 7 (2013) to Android Marshmallow and so far I’ve been pretty pleased (let me know how it has gone for you by taking my site poll).  However I have noted a strange behavior with the Notification Drawer and my Nexus 7.  Before I go through the bug report process I want to see if anyone else has seen this behavior and I reserve the right to get smarter:  Did I miss a feature in Marshmallow that would cause this behavior?  Further, for you Nexus 9 owners, are you seeing the same thing too?

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