A must read for nexus 7 owners who want to get plasma active on their device


We are very happy to announce the first testing release of Plasma Active for Nexus 7. Plasma Active, in a nutshell, is a Linux distribution (based on Mer as a core) that is specifically optimized for tablet computers.

Tuomas Kulve and me had been working on the Mer “hardware-adaptation” for Nexus 7 that enables to run Mer-based distributions like Plasma Active on the Nexus 7. Based on this hardware-adaptation and the work from Plasma Active we created an installable “image” that can be used to “flash” the current Plasma Active 3 on the Nexus 7.

Event though very much already works reasonably well, there are still some glitches. So, please don’t expect a 100% working system. We released this as testing version in order to get more feedback and with the hope that others may also contribute to the Mer Nexus 7 hardware-adaptation as well.

Here are two photos of…

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The Nexus 7: My views

Before I start , I must make it clear that it is not an in depth review of Nexus 7, you would find a lot of those on the internet. I am just narrating my own experience from an Indian’s point of view , which a lot of people should find useful.

First of all, I am a final year undergraduate and was thinking of buying a tablet for the last 6-8 months or so. Earlier I wanted to buy the Micromax Funbook but then I thought that if I am buying a tablet, I should go for a good one, at least a decent one. I am not saying that the Micromax Funbook series is bad, they offer a great value for money but unless you are in dire need of a tablet and have a 7-8 K budget limit, I wouldn’t advise you to buy it.

I started checking out the Nexus 7 reviews and found them pretty great. Sure it had some cons, but all of those were fine with me. It didn’t have a back camera , no expandable memory slot and no sim slot ( Now , a 3G version of Nexus 7 is available though, it wasn’t then). I didn’t want a back camera, in my opinion it looks pretty stupid trying to take a snap with a 7″ tablet. I found the on board 16 GB memory pretty decent ( You can always buy a microUSB OTG, connect pen drives or card readers to it if you need). And I primarily wanted to use it indoors, where wifi was almost always available so no issue there too.

It wasn’t available in India officially then , but I found some sellers were offering imported versions on eBay, tradus and indiatimes shopping. I found it the cheapest on tradus, 16K for the 16GB model of nexus 7, so I bought it from tradus.

When I first held it in my hands, it felt pretty nice. The size and weight was perfect, the back had a dimpled plastic which gives it a good grip and you feel that its made to be held in your hands.

Then I switched it on and the whole Jellybean experience combined with a 1.3 GHz quad core Tegra 3 processor and 1 GB of ram blew my mind . I had heard that there were serious lagging problems in older Android tablets, but there were none on nexus 7. It felt smooth as butter thanks to the hardware and Google’s project butter on Jellybean. Its also worth to point out that it was the first and probably the only 7″ tablet to pack a quad core processor.

As of today , I have had the tablet for more than a month and I am still pretty happy with it. I used it to browse the web, play games, watch movies/ tv shows and read Books. It does all of that flawlessly. Watching movies and reading books is an absolute delight thanks to its form factor and its 1280×800 display. The 4000 mAH battery has enough power to get it through any task. I got 9+ hours of screen time while reading a novel and some light browsing with the wifi on. It still had 25% of battery left then.

Also worth mentioning is the stock android experience. Companies like Samsung , Sony, LG, HTC put their own customized UIs over the stock android which may be good in some ways but it puts a lot of bloatware on the phone. It also means that those devices receive updates much later after it has been released,but not the nexus line up. The stock android means that you get the core android OS without any customization which actually looks pretty cool. It is the first to receive any updates from Google , so if you like to stay on the bleeding edge of technology , it would suit you perfectly.

Its kind of like my constant companion now, it helps me to move out of my laptop for lighter tasks and I find that great. Its a good travelling partner too, I watched movies on a journey from my college to home of about 3 hours and it was a pretty good experience.

To conclude, I would strongly recommend Nexus 7 to anyone looking for a tablet with a 10K+ budget. For people who want everything in a 7″ tablet, they can go for the Samsung Galaxy Tab2. I haven’t used it so no idea how good it is but I found the reviews generally positive.

Some musings about the evolution of technology

I remember reading an article about wireless charging when I was in class 9 or so. It described how a professor from MIT ( most probably) got very frustrated when he had to get up in the middle of the night to set his phone down for charging. He came up with an idea of wireless charging with the help of Magnetic Resonance of some kind. It even said that they achieved positive laboratory results, though it was still very much in its infancy.
This article sparked my interest as a boy. I didn’t have a mobile phone of my own much less a laptop but somehow the concept seemed pretty nice to me.
Recently I read on the internet about some smartphones capable of charging from just kept on some charging pads. Its not strictly the thing I read about but its definitely close, there aren’t any wires at least. Some more advancements into this field were also suggested from two other related stories I came across. One was Intel developing wireless charging technologies in its Ultrabook series notebooks  which would enable them to charge phones by just placing them side by side. The other story was Apple applying for a patent similar to the technology the professor was trying to develop. A wireless charging solution which would charge all gadgets in a room wirelessly.  It came with a side note though, the magnetic resonance used to charge the devices could also wipe off data from our magnetic cards like Credit/Debit cards etc. Hopefully that will be resolved when it is actually implemented.
It made me realize that how fast technology is really evolving. I know its kind of rhetoric but seeing such an example  brings it into perspective.
I  being a bit of a geek myself  is always interested in stuff like this and people like me can understand my excitement. I am not in the future telling business but maybe after 3 years, 5 years or 10 years, wireless charging will be as commonplace as Wifi connectivity is in devices today (Phones, Laptops, Tablets).
Something worth waiting for I think, now that the world hasn’t ended .:)