Android device your own

With access to over 110000 apps, deep integration with Google and its apps, and the wide variety of hardware choice, Android has become a popular choice for people in the market for a new, capable phone.

Thanks to Android being available on devices from entry level all the way through to advanced, powerful tools, one can buy a phone that does everything they want and more and an appropriate price.

A lot of people I’ve spoken to about adopting Android have often said that it’s too complicated to learn, and they’d rather buy a user-friendly phone like a Nokia or iPhone.

Android is not that difficult to learn, however, and now that the OS is mature and well developed, compared to earlier days, it makes a good choice of phone to buy – The reason being that it can be used and tweaked to exactly how you like it, and indeed becomes your phone.

Below are a few tips that are good to know when first starting with your new phone:

  • Touch and hold – While on the home screen/desktop, one can touch and hold any open space on the screen. This then brings up a menu where one can access the wallpaper menu, widgets new phonefolder, as well as some other handy functions. Pressing and hold on an icon will enable you to move or remove it by dragging it into the trash can that appears. While in an app, this feature is also often present, opening up a new menu with various choices.
  • Don’t like the ringtones that come with the device? Download a custom ringtone maker and make one yourself. You can also go into your music app, touch, and hold, and select “Use as phone ringtone.” Alternatively, if you have a whole stack of sound clips and songs you like to use, set up a folder on the root of the SD Card (i.e., not within another folder) and name it ‘sdcard.’ In that folder, create the folder called ‘ringtones,’ ‘notifications,’ and even ‘wallpapers.’ This will then tell Android that you wish to have these seen as ringtones in the appropriate settings, and you can then go ahead and choose your tone of choice there.
  • Want quick access to your GPS, Brightness, Wireless, Bluetooth and Sync toggles? Touch and hold on the home screen in the desired spot, select “Widgets” and find and select “Power Control.” Alternatively, there are some great apps on the market that can do this and more.
  • Want to spice up your contacts list with photos? Facebook will sync all of your existing phone contacts with their details on Facebook, including their profile pictures. Their status updates and contact information will also be available in your contacts, as well as a link to directly access their profile. You can also add custom ringtones to specific contacts by going into the contact, pressing menu and selecting “Options.”
  • You can have more than one Gmail account and Exchange account on the device.  In Gmail for example, you just need to press menu, “Accounts” and add a new account.
  • Apps like LauncherPro and ADW Launcher will enable you to customize your app drawers, add transition effects when moving between home screens, theme your launchers, add dock bar and many more different customizations to your home screen experience.

LauncherPro

  • Apps like Astro are like the Windows Explorer for Android – It’s a file manager that will let you browse the files on your phone, as well as install any apps that you may have downloaded via PC or directly off the internet and place on the SD card – Note that you must have the “Unknown Sources” option ticked (Settings ->Applications). This, by the way, is known as sideloading, since the app isn’t installed from the market. If you select “Manage Applications” in this menu, you can also move apps to the SD card (2.2 and higher) (if they’re able to be moved), to save space on the device’s internal memory. Widgets and apps that run as a service/process (i.e., Facebook, WhatsApp, etc.) cannot run off the SD card. All you do is select the app, and press “Move to SD.” You can also “Force Stop” an app, clear cache and clear defaults from this location. Clearing defaults are handy, especially if you want to change launchers, or revert to the original one.
  • Under the Applications settings tab, if you click on “Development,” you can tick “Stay Awake” to prevent the screen from turning off while plugged into a charger.
  • In 2.2 or higher, you can also use the device as a portable wireless hotspot, and use the phones internet connection to surf on your laptop, iPod touch, etc. Look under: Wireless & network settings ->Tethering and portable hotspot, and enable the setting. Alternatively, you can hook up your USB cable and use that.

Above are just a few neat features that Android has available. Stay tuned for more tips and tricks from time to time!

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