nexus-7-tablet

While all eyes may be on the new Nexus 7, those with 2012 models may want to hold fire before handing over their cash for the shiny new model. AnandTech (via GigaOM) reveals that an upgrade to Android 4.3 could give the older model a whole new lease of life.

One of the common complaints late in the life of the original Nexus 7 was slow storage I/O performance, leading to an inconsistent user experience. After a fresh flash, the Nexus 7 was speedy and performant, but after months of installing applications and using the tablet, things began slowing down. This was a friction point that many hoped would be fixed in the new Nexus 7 (2013) model, which it was. There’s even more to the story though, it turns out Google has fixed that storage I/O ageing problem on all Nexus devices with the Android 4.3 update … 

The reason is the way flash memory is managed. When you delete a file, although Android knows that the space is free, the flash memory controller doesn’t. The two perform a juggling act to keep track of what space is actually free, and the more the device is used, the slower that dance becomes. Think of it as similar to a badly fragmented Windows drive.

The command used to clean up the mess, so that the flash memory controller itself knows what space is free, is called TRIM. With Android 4.3, TRIM is automatically run once a day. It checks that the device hasn’t been used for at least an hour and is either on charge or has at least 80 percent remaining battery-life (which also looks to get a substantial boost in 4.3).

Android 4.3 won’t turn your 2012 Nexus into the 2013 one, but it should give you back the kind of performance you enjoyed when you first bought it.

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