What's the best tech-y resources & resource locations for an Android Nexus 7?
October 29, 2012 12:21 PM   Subscribe

I recently decided to pick up a Nexus 7. However, I'm entirely new to the whole Android ecosystem. What are the best resources for finding the best which Android has to offer? (If you can point me directly to the 'Android best-of', that works too)

I'm a techy/programmer type, so while I hadn't paid much attention to winnowing out the best tools and apps so far, I know enough to look into rooting it and things like that. (Apps of a similar bent are preferred, and I know I already want to find the best-possible SSH tool and best-possible code editor)
posted by CrystalDave to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
I found that the Nexus 7 doesn't specifically "need" rooting. I did root my Galaxy Nexus, I would update a device that did not have Jellybean. Jellybean is a good, new-enough OS and most apps you would want to run don't require root. Coming from Apple myself, the 'Google Play' store is actually quite good, I like the Staff Picks and Editor's Choice they have on there as well as the top apps by category (free/paid/etc.). FWIW I rooted/unlocked my iPhone as well, but the hacks were much more compelling there. If you do want to root, head over to xda-developers and dig around, shouldn't take you too long to find what you need, especially being a techy/programmer type like me :o).

One I would recommend specifically for the Nexus 7 is the free app 'Rotation Locker'. It allows you to force the device to change its aspect (horizontal/vertical) based on how you hold the tablet, or lock the rotation. No idea why this wasn't a part of the standard OS.

I also like: BeyondPod for podcasts (Google Listen is okay but BeyondPod is better for podcasts only), Facebook, Dropbox, Foursquare, HBOGO, Amazon Kindle, Talkatone for free calling and SMS (integrates nicely with Google Voice). I also have Windup Knight but tend to play it on my phone since I started there. Nice graphics, cool and challenging gameplay, worth $4 IMHO, but try it to see what you think.

Nice thing is, you can also install apps from the web interface of the Play store onto your device. I do that quite a bit, it's handy.

Enjoy your Nexus 7! I love mine =)
posted by xiaolongbao at 1:13 PM on October 29, 2012

Best answer: There was a post on Reddit's Android subreddit recently that documented some of the best tablet-friendly apps in the Android ecosystem. Definitely worth a look.

There are also Android Tablet-specific and Nexus-specific subreddits that may have useful links and tips.

As to the best possible SSH tool, I've had good luck with VX ConnectBot on my tablet (an HP Touchpad) although in reality it's only useful for certain tasks. I wouldn't recommend serious work in it (it doesn't support easily-loadable colour schemes, I had trouble with UTF characters, among other little pains). You may want to pair it with the Hacker's Keyboard application as well; I've found it often works better than wireless keyboards, as Bluetooth keyboard support in Android starts to fall apart when you begin to use Control, Meta, and other modifiers.

Once they get dual-booting working, you might want to install Ubuntu on your Nexus 7 as a second operating system for a proper terminal environment (I run Ubuntu under WebOS on my Touchpad for this reason). The Ubuntu install for the Nexus 7 currently overwrites Android completely.

Enjoy the tablet!
posted by cvp at 1:52 PM on October 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Try this list.
posted by wwax at 1:58 PM on October 29, 2012

xiaolongbao: There is a built-in rotation lock, you access it from the swipedown menu and look for the icon that looks like a miniature rectangle canted at a 45 degree angle with rotation arrows on either side. Touching it causes a lock icon to appear in the rectangle and the orientation locks at whatever mode it is currently in. Releasing it is the same process.

As for apps, for multimedia I would highly recommend MX player. It plays pretty much everything I've thrown at it. Then there's the ubiquitous Netflix app in the Play Store as well, always a good thing if you have a Netflix account.

On the techie side of things I'm a network admin more than a coder so my interests may not totally overlap with yours from a business standpoint. I do second cvp's endorsement of VX ConnectBot, it's an improvement on the original ConnectBot it was based off of. One niche thing I use surprisingly often is the Network Mapper app. It basically allows you to scan a subnet for hosts and then portscan each of them on demand. Very neat and quick. I also have a WiFi analyzer package that's good for finding lesser used channels in noisy wifi envrionments. Helpful if all your neighbors are blasting out wifi as well and you're getting lower than expected signal power from your router.
posted by barc0001 at 9:14 PM on October 29, 2012

Lifehacker is down right now due to the hurricane, but their lists of best Android apps (here is the Google cache version) have really helped me acclimate. (I recently went to Android from BlackBerry)
posted by getawaysticks at 8:17 AM on October 30, 2012

barc0001: huh, thanks, I learned something! Just tried it, and indeed, that would be what that icon is. I thought it was a 'silent mode' indicator all this time.

The auto-rotate feature of rotation locker is still priceless though =)
posted by xiaolongbao at 7:10 PM on November 1, 2012

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