This guide will show you how to create a mini ubuntu laptop from cheap and easy to find parts.

You will need access to a Linux based system to unlock/flash the operating system on the Nexus.


- Nexus 7 Tablet (2012)
- Zagg Autofit 7inch Keyboard Case
- 1x Female USB Port
- Micro USB plug (or salvage a cable)
- Cardboard/Thin plastic (Optional)


- Wire Cutters/Strippers
- Soldering Iron
- Glue Gun (or super glue)
- Electrical Tape
- Mini hacksaw blade (or rotary tool)


(Most of this part of the article is based on a great guide by Read it here

Step 1. First we'll need to download the Ubuntu OS files that are specifically for the Nexus 7. You'll find them on the official Ubuntu site:

- -

When you've done this, unzip the .img.gz, and you'll be left with a .raw file.

Step 2. Next you'll need to install FastBoot, which will allow you to unlock your Nexus 7. Open up a terminal window, and enter the following:

sudo apt-get install ubuntu-device-flash

Step 3. Plug in the micro USB cable to the Nexus, and connect it to the computer you just installed Fastboot on.

Step 4. Now we need to get into the Nexus' boot loader screen. Do this by holding down the power and volume down button. You'll see the Android character pop up, and at the bottom it should say locked.

Step 5. Back over on your computer, enter the following to unlock the tablet:

sudo fastboot oem unlock

Step 6. If all goes well, now restart the bootloader:

sudo fastboot reboot-bootloader

Step 7. We will now erase the existing Android data from the Nexus. (This removes everything already on the tablet, so be aware). First we erase the boot files.

sudo fastboot erase boot

Then we erase the user data

sudo fastboot erase userdata

Step 8. Then we will flash the OS files onto the Nexus. This may take a little while:

sudo fastboot flash userdata raring-preinstalled-desktop-armhf+nexus7.raw
sudo fastboot flash boot ubuntu-13.04-preinstalled-desktop-armhf+nexus7.bootimg

Step 9. Finally reboot, and Ubuntu will (hopefully) boot up and go through its setup process:

sudo fastboot reboot

Step 10. Since this is an older version of Ubuntu, some of the software sources won't work right away, but we can fix this. Open up a terminal on your newly Ubuntu'd Nexus, and enter the following:

sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list

Change all the '' URLs to ''

I also added the official Raspberry Pi sources since they have a lot of good ARM compatible apps. Add these two lines to the sources.list file if you want:

deb wheezy main contrib non-free
deb-src wheezy main contrib non-free

When finished press crtl+x on the keyboard, then y to confirm the changes.

Step 11. Last thing to do is pair the bluetooth keyboard to the computer.


Step 1. I added a bunch of black tape to the edge of the Nexus to make it blend in more with the Zagg case. This is completely optional.

Step 2. Place the tablet in the case, and measure the dimensions of the screen, all the way to the edges of the case. Then use that to cut out a front panel that you can attach over the screen to clean up the design.

I attached mine using sticky tacks and magnetic strips. You can use what you like.

Step 3. Take the USB port, and cut them down, so that the bottom is flush when on a flat surface.

Step 4. Cut the end off the micro USB plug, and strip and tin the 4 exposed wires.

Step 5. Now cut open the actual plug on the micro USB cable, and short the ID and Ground pins (more info here: Then simply solder the USB port to the end of the modified micro USB cable, glue it to the back of the case, and you're finished.