Top 5 Annoyances of Google’s Nexus 7 Tablet and How to Fix Them

front_nexus_7_transparent-300-100The Mrs. has been gushing over Google’s new $200 7” tablet all week now. While this pint size powerhouse is truly a wonder to behold, there are a number annoyances to work around as well. Today we outline some of the device’s superficial failings and discuss how to fix ‘em.

1) My God, It’s Full of Ads – One of the first things that you're sure to notice about the Nexus 7 is the attractive, Kindle Fire-esque colorful mosaic of images that dominates the first two pages of your home screen showcasing all manner of media available for the device. The second thing you’re likely to notice is the space hogging Kindle Fire-esque display wasting the first two pages of your home screen hocking wares from Google Play in a random clutter of marketing posters.

Fortunately, these widgets are simplicity itself to remove. Tap and hold on the top of the offending widget and drag it off the top of the screen where the word “Remove” appears.

2) Headphones Not  Working? – We found ourselves rather perplexed after connecting a pair of earbuds to the Nexus 7 for the first time. They didn’t work. No matter the app or sound settings, all sound continued to come out of the tablet’s speakers. As it turns out, you may have to push surprisingly hard to get the headphone jack to connect. A Google search revealed that our conundrum was not an isolated incident.

3) No Screen Tilt, Rotation, or Landscape Mode? – By the time I finally got a little hands-on time with the Mrs’ new “baby”, the Nexus had been drained of power and pugged into it’s USB charge cable. Flipping the tablet on its side to keep the offending plug out of my way, I was greeted with only a sideways display. Perplexed, I tried turning it upside down. Now I was looking at an upside down home screen. The Nexus 7 wouldn’t rotate the display any direction in any app. Even the web browser would not rotate to landscape mode.

Nexus 7 Settings buttonThe solution was found in the Nexus 7’s settings menu. Swipe down on the notification center and tap the settings icon (circled above). Tap on “Accessibility” and check mark “Auto-rotate screen”. Even with this setting enabled, the Nexus 7’s home screen will not rotate, but at least the apps will. Update: Home screen rotation added in Android 4.1.2 update.

4) Gimme My Amazon Stuff! – Sure, the Google Play store has a lot of great stuff, but what if you’ve already built a library using Amazon’s competing service? Getting a hold of your music and books are simplicity itself. Amazon MP3 and Kindle ebooks both have apps available directly in Google Play.

Installing the Amazon Appstore for Android to download your apps is a little more involved. To Install Amazon Appstore for Android click on this link for Amazon, type your email address into the “Getting Started” box on the top right, and follow the instructions on that page. Once the app has installed, tap Open. Log into your Amazon account and download away.

Once you have the Amazon apps installed you can tap and drag any of the pre-installed Google applications out of your shortcut bar at the bottom of the screen and drag in their Amazon replacements (or any other app, for that matter).

As for Amazon’s video streaming service… Well, that’s an even stickier wicket. At the time of this writing, there is no app available for Amazon video. We have managed to cook up a workaround for getting Amazon Prime streaming to work however. It involves…

5) Installing Flash on the Nexus 7 – While Adobe may have stopped developing Flash for mobile devices and, as of v.4.1 Jelly Bean, Google is no longer including it as a part of the Android OS, there is no good reason why we can’t install the older version of Flash! Sadly, attempting to install Flash from Google Play generates and message that the Nexus 7 is not compatible. Fortunately, this is… not quite accurate.

Nexus 7 streaming Amazon PrimeFrancis Scardino over at Gear Diary has already written a perfect tutorial for installing Flash on the Nexus 7. We actually followed these instructions using both his hosted version of the Flash .apk as well as the recommendation of xScope as a compatible browser. We’ve been able to successfully stream video from both Amazon and Ultraviolet using xScope once Flash was installed.

14 comments :

  1. I can't get sound on streamed videos through Amazon prime after following all the steps...although the picture itself is there. It works in Mozilla Aurora but in Xscope I just get an arrow when video starts to stream and I click it and it then gives me a box with a question mark in it. Any suggestions?

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  2. Nothing really comes to mind and a quick Google search didn't turn up anything conclusive. Some basics would be to remove xScope, do a full shutdown/restart, and reinstall. If Mozilla works okay, it's not a problem with Flash. They do have a user forum at http://x-labs.net/?page_id=114 and a page on Google+.

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  3. Wonderful information. Thank you!

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  4. can u tell me how to stop it loading the mobile version of certain websites?

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  5. From http://androidforums.com/nexus-support-troubleshooting/49449-how-stop-web-pages-loading-in-mobile-view.html

    "On NEXUS 7: To open Desktop web pages, not Mobile...

    For those on Nexus 7, when a mobile page loads by default but you want the Desktop page: in the "Customize/Options" un-labeled button (3 vertical dots, top right) button, there is an option to "Request Desktop site".

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  6. I installed the new version of Jelly Bean so my screen now rotates..problem is now my screen is upside down and will not rotate. the camera is now at the bottom and controls at top...any suggestions? thanks so much

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    1. Try disabling rotation in settings. Then do a full power off (hold button, slide to power off). Start it back up and re-enable rotation.

      I haven't found an official fix for this yet, but a good reboot may set it straight.

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  7. Thanks Michael..your the best fixer upper :)

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  8. How do I get rid of the widgets? They just keep piling up!
    I read somewhere about uninstalling Google search and then re-installing from the play store. Is that correct? Thanks very much.

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    1. Tap and hold on the widget then drag off the top of the screen.

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  9. To install flash you just need to download Firebox Beta instead of Chrome. Dont use Chrome at all.....flash content will play perfectly.

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