Some thoughts on stock Android, rooting, and the Nexus 7

nexus 7 hardware 17 - for some reason we don't have an alt tag here

It’s been about two months since I got my Nexus 7, and I’ve quite enjoyed using the tablet during that time. Despite a few problems, including the screen lift issue that resulted in my having to get a replacement device, the tablet has still provided a great overall experience. However, the reason that I’m talking about it now is that I was tweaking some settings on the tablet and looking for a specific CyanogneMod setting, when I realized something: The tablet was still running the stock software, and I hadn’t noticed or cared.

This might not seem like a big deal to some people, but it is a little different for me. Every device I have is rooted and gets a new ROM, usually CyanogenMod, right after it comes out of the box. In fact, I would have returned my first Android device, the Droid 1, if I hadn’t found CyanogenMod tweaks and themes. So, ever since I started using Android, I’ve always disregarded even custom skin free stock in favor of a custom ROM, simply because they have more features, work better, and allow for more control.

I initially kept the Nexus 7 stock so that I could finish the review, but the fact that I kept it that way months after that without even noticing means that it is the first Android device which I have used in stock form for any amount of time, and liked. Once again, this might not mean much to some people, but to me it says that Android has reached a milestone. When I first started using Android, it was a great base OS on which to add tweaks, themes, and customizations to make it just right. It wasn’t all that great in stock form, but the potential to make something fast, beautiful, and powerful was there.

Now, it seems to me that Google has finally managed to take its good base OS, and craft it into a product that is polished and finished from the factory, and ready to give to more average consumers. I wouldn’t have recommended the original Droid to anyone who wasn’t planning on customizing it, but now I feel comfortable suggesting the Nexus phone and tablet to average consumers. Obviously, everyone’s mileage may vary, but the fact that I didn’t need to customize the Nexus 7 in order to make it work great has me personally convinced that Android is really ready to go mainstream.

Of course, having said all that, I’ll still be rooting my Nexus 7 in the next few days, so those of you who have one of the tablets may want to keep an eye out for it. If you don’t, last month’s Nexus 7 contest is over, but you can  still enter to win yet another one by commenting through this month.

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Aaron Orquia

Aaron Orquia is an associate editor at Pocketables. He has been using Android and Linux since he bought his first computer years ago, and his interest in technology, software, and tweaking both to work just right has only grown stronger since then. His current gadgets include a OnePlus One, a Pebble smartwatch, and an Acer C720 Chromebook.

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12 thoughts on “Some thoughts on stock Android, rooting, and the Nexus 7

  • Got to agree with you there. My coworker has a Samsung Galaxy S3 (I know it technically is customized) and has yet to root it which is usually the first thing that he does. All my stuff is rooted and customized as well (even my Transformer Prime), but I find the biggest reason I root now is to get to the latest version of Android. There isn’t much more I really want from my Tablet (phones might be a different story *cough*tethering*cough*). But I think Google really nailed it with these last two releases and I’m really excited to see what they do next.

  • Wow that’s kinda promising as I was starting to consider picking up a similar device…. Also Didn’t realize teh contest is open again…

  • This sounds so great, to get a device that’s just right. Google certainly had the right idea to start its Nexus line – to show everyone what can be.

    I have yet to try out a real Jelly Bean device, although one of my friends has a Jelly Bean-based ROM and it’s very smooth.

  • Avatar of Closet Nerd

    I agree completely I was telling a coworker the other day how impressed I was with Jelly Bean, he has a samsung sIII which is rooted but he is running the jelly bean update that leaked for Sprint, and he loves it. Normally he’s flashing Roms almost daily I’m pretty excited to see if there really is a 4.2 update coming at the end of the month and what it might bring to the table

  • Avatar of Aura Mae

    I got a Galaxy Note the day it came to AT&T and I just now installed a custom rom to get Jelly Bean. This is by far the longest have kept a phone stock. I have been surprised with how content I was for so long. I have been flashing roms since my Windows Mobile days and this is my third Android phone and I am not enticed by any of the competition.

  • Avatar of Tray Rolin

    Played around with a Jelly bean Rom the other day and have to agree with the general consensus, it’s so much smoother and consumer friendly then other versions.

  • I am in the same exact boat as you. Every single Android device I’ve owned has ended up rooted and a custom ROM loaded. I still have my Nexus 7 stock, rooted of course (only for Ad Removal).

    Still loving it!!!!

  • This is good to hear. I haven’t rooted my phone though have been considering it to get the latest android. Always stayed away from this in the past as I didn’t want to break anything.

  • Avatar of Hayden Smith

    I’m glad you like the device, makes me want to win the giveaway even more if possible!

  • Avatar of Hayden Smith

    I never thought I could want this more than I did, but now I do, thanks a lot for your imput!

  • i have also been impressed with ICS and Jelly Bean releases of Android. its good to see Google listens to their customers.

  • Avatar of Vladimir

    How do you root Nexus 7 3g 4.2.1 rom without changing stock rom?
    There are numerous procedures listed everywhere – but all suggest flusing some other customised rom into device – I just want to be able to enable features that were crippled by Google (using USB port for connecting a functional external storage, enable camera, etc.


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