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Nexus 7: Top Tips and Tricks

Authored by: Steven Blum — Oct 8, 2012

So, you're the proud owner of a brand new Nexus 7. You just opened Google's box and you're ready to have some fun. Maybe you have a few ideas of what you'd like to do with your tablet – watch movies all day long, play Fruit Ninja or read magazines – or maybe you have no clue. In any case, we've got you covered. Here are a few tips and tricks for getting the most out of your new device.

Install a Camera Launcher

The Nexus 7 has a front-facing camera but there's no way to launch it from the homescreen out of the box. Install Camera Launcher by MoDaCo to be able to launch the device's camera straight from the homescreen.

Install Adobe Flash

Apple's iOS doesn't support Flash, but your brand new device does. While the Flash app is long gone from Google Play, you can still install it by downloading the APK from XDA developers (make sure to go to settings –> security first and check "unknown sources.")

Unlock Screen Rotation

A funny thing happened when Eric brought the Nexus 7 to AndroidPIT's offices for the first time: we couldn't initially figure out how to rotate the screen to landscape mode. Eric joked, "I feel like I just bought a giant phone." In fact, you can unlock screen rotation. Just pul down the notifcation bar and click the lock next to "Settings."

Transform Your Nexus 7 Into a Kindle eReader

Seriously, who needs a Kindle when you can download Amazon's Kindle app and sync your e-books to your Nexus 7? It's got by far the greatest number of books of any eReader app.

Play VLC Video Files

When you play MKV, AVI, or such video files, the stock video player will not work and MX player will only support S/W, S/W fast which blurs the video. Instead, try DicePlayer (you can get it from play store here). It supports H/W, which kills my nexus 7 battery a lot more quickly but plays video without over-pixelation.

Install Jelly Bean 4.1.1

Since you're now the proud owner of a certified Nexus device, you should see the option to upgrade to Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean right out of the device. Do it. You won't be disappointed.

Use Streaming Music Apps

Because the storage space on the Nexus 7 is quite limited, I'd recommend using a streaming service like Google Music or Spotify. TuneIn Radio also works well. Unless you spring for a 16GB model, you're not going to have a lot of space to work with.

Don't Forget Your Freebies

Google doesn't advertise this nearly as much as they should, but your Nexus 7 comes with $20 credit – more than enough to download all the top tablet apps right out of the box. You'll be notified of your credit as soon as you open Google Play. Owners can also stream Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon for free (UPDATE: We just learned that Google no longer offers credit for new Nexus 7 owners).

(Top photo: TechCrunch.com)

Steven Blum has written more than 2,000 blog posts as a founding member of AndroidPIT's English editorial team. A graduate of the University of Washington, Steven Blum also studied Journalism at George Washington University in Washington D.C. for two years. Since then, his writing has appeared in The Stranger, The Seattle P-I, Blackbook Magazine and Venture Villlage. He loves the HTC One and hopes the company behind it still exists in a few years.

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