Nexus 9 Folio Keyboard Review

One of the accessories that really makes the Nexus 9 a productivity powerhouse is the Folio Keyboard for the tablet. Priced at $60, nearly $100 less than what it was a debut, this magnetically attaching keyboard and cover gives you a great feeling and functional keyboard while providing protection for your tablet at the same time.  I have been using the Folio Keyboard over the course of the last several weeks and I have to say that I am impressed with the performance and ease-of-use.  While not everyone needs a keyboard for their tablet, if you have a Nexus 9 and need one, this is not a bad option to consider.

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Get A Free Nexus 9 When You Buy A HTC One M9

Today over at the HTC site, you can pick up a great deal on an Android phone and tablet combo.  Through today, when you purchase a One M9 Android phone, the company is giving you a free Nexus 9 tablet.  The promotion will make the total price of both down to $649, some $399 off the price if you were to buy them separately.  That’s a great deal on two great devices, both of which are upgradable to Android Marshmallow.

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Nexus 9 is 40% Off Right Now at HTC

If you have been in the market for the HTC built Nexus 9, today is the day to make it happen.  Over at the HTC site, you can pick up Android tablet for 40% off the regular price.  To sweeten the deal even more, HTC is throwing in a free Logitech wireless keyboard.  The pricing makes this pure Android experience tablet a real steal with the 32GB Wi-Fi model down to just $287.40.  There is no coupon code required to get the price.  Just go to the HTC site, add the tablet to your cart and the price will be adjusted.

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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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Nexus 9 – $200 Off At The Google Store

In addition to the sale on the Nexus 5X I posted on earlier this morning, Google is also running a great deal on the Nexus 9 tablet.  Right now you can get the 8.9″ tablet for $200 off with the base configuration starting out at just $199.  That price point puts this flagship tablet that is upgradeable to Android Marshmallow in line with some less-than-flagship tablets.  It is a steal really for such a great device.

The sale is on any configuration and color.  For example, the Wi-Fi only 16GB version is $199 while the Wi-Fi/LTE 32GB version is $399.  If you wanted a 32GB Wi-Fi only unit then you can pick that up for only $279.

Nexus 9 – Starting at $199 (SALE) – Google Store

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