Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Nexus 7 (2012) Gets A Port Of Android M Preview

 
When Google announced Android M at I/O this year, they also released a developer preview for a small group of devices – namely the Nexus 5, 6, 9 and Player. However, you can now (sort of) add another device to that list: the original Nexus 7.


Owners of the 2012 Nexus 7 are now able to test M preview thanks to a developer over at XDA who has managed to make a port from the Android M SDK images and the source code which has been released so far. This could be a nice bonus for those Nexus 7 owners without one of the few officially supported devices.
As you should expect for an unofficial port of something that isn’t even finished yet, there are many things that aren’t working correctly. The developer is working on fixing the bugs in time, but for now there are quite a few – including some pretty crucial stuff like WiFi and Bluetooth. Here is the list of issues with the current build:
  • No WiFi
  • No Bluetooth
  • No NFC
  • No GPS
  • Screenshots over ADB don’t work
  • SELinux is set to permissive
  • Very weak security
  • Possibly more issues
Fortunately the ROM has been designed to work with a multi-ROM setup, much like the early port of the L preview we saw last year. This means that if you want to test Android M with the Nexus 7, you can do so while keeping a fully working ROM installed alongside and then just dual-boot between them. This way you won’t be completely loosing all functionality of the tablet.

The multi-window option has also enabled in this build so you can play around with that too, despite it not being available by default in the standard preview. While the feature isn’t fully finished, it does seem to work incredibly well for the most part. Some apps still won’t like it though so don’t be surprised if some have glitches or even just crash straight away.
Hopefully the more serious bugs can be fixed soon to make it a bit more useful, although the fact this even exists at this point is pretty impressive.

It will be interesting to see how the original Nexus 7 performs on M eventually as Lollipop hasn’t exactly been smooth. Hopefully the fact M uses slightly fewer resources will result in a faster experience when M is finished, provided the device ever gets a solid custom ROM post release or maybe just maybe an official upgrade. That said, the hardware hasn’t aged that well so we don’t ever expect it to be blisteringly fast.

Anyway, for those of you who have been keen to try out M preview but don’t own a supported device (but do own a Nexus 7 2012), then so long as you are feeling daring you can now download it from the XDA thread and give it a shot!

If you want to see this ROM in action first then there’s a YouTube video below as well a few screenshots.