How To Video
Turn a cracked Nexus 7 into an e-book readerWondering what to do with a cracked Nexus 7 Android tablet? CNET's Donald Bell shows you how to turn the damaged tablet into a dedicated e-book reader.
For around $200, the Nexus 7 Android tablet is a fantastic value. With it, you can browse the web, check your e-mail, catch up on videos, play games and generally distract yourself for hours at a time. Unfortunately, sometimes these things get cracked. One bad fall and the screen can suddenly stop working and for something that relies entirely on touchscreen input, that's basically the end of the line. Or is it? I'm Donald Bell and in this how to, I'm gonna how you how to salvage an Android tablet with a broken screen and turn it into a dedicated e-book reader. This Nexus 7 is perfectly fine. I didn't break it for the purpose of this video, but I'm going to get this thing going so that I won't have to use the screen at all. Now, the first problem is that your broken screen maybe partly responsive to touch or maybe not responsive at all. So, to get around this, we're going to temporarily rig up this thing. We're going old school. USB mouse. Take the mouse and connect that to this, which is a USB OTG adapter. You can find this for a couple of bucks online. Connect the mouse to the USB adapter and then connect the micro USB end to your tablet. Now, you should see a mouse that you can move around and click and drag and navigate around your tablet with no touchscreen required. Next, let's go into the System Settings and make this tablet easier to unlock without having to swipe on the screen. Click the app folder and locate settings. Click it and open up Security. The first setting here is Screen Lock. Now, we're going to set this to none. Now, this is gonna leave your tablet totally unprotected. So, if you have any sensitive accounts or e-mails still on here, you probably wanna delete them. The upshot is that you can unlock this tablet just by tapping on the wake button, no pin numbers, no swiping, it just turns on. Now, back to the home screen, you will need to pick or download an e-book reader app that you wanna use. Now, the key feature we're looking for from this app is the ability to use the tablet's volume buttons that turn the pages instead of relying on the touchscreen. You can do this with Google's own Play Books app, you can also do this with the Amazon Kindle app. For a more open option, you could try Cool Reader, which is free and supports every open e-book format under the sun. Now, to get this working, the same trick applies in every case. You open up the app, locate the App Settings and look for an option for volume button control. Make sure it's selected and then back out to the main menu, find a book that you're gonna wanna read and give it a shot by tapping the volume buttons. Once it's working, open up a book that you plan on reading for a while and then unplug your mouse, because from here and out you can use the volume buttons to page forward and backward and you can use the sleep button to switch the screen on or off. You'll still wanna keep this mouse around whenever you wanna change books or if you ever run out of battery and need to relaunch the app. So, it's not a perfect solution but at least you save this tablet from the junk pile. So, that's all there is to it. Hopefully that will give you a little more mileage from your cracked Android tablet. For more videos like this, visit howto.cnet.com. I'm Donald Bell, thanks for watching.