Following up on our last post of tips n tricks for Android, here are another five gems to help boost your Android experience.
Respond to Calls by Text Message
There’s no way of knowing when you’ll receive a call, and all too often they come in at inopportune times when you can’t talk. With Android, you don’t have to send these requests blindly off to voicemail in the hopes that they leave a message. With devices running Gingerbread (3.x) or newer (Ice Cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean), there is a great little feature on the incoming call screen alongside Pick Up and Ignore: ‘Ignore with Text.’ If you select this option, it will pull up a short list of standard messages to send to the person, so they know why you aren’t able to pick up and whether you’ll be able to call back later. In the personal settings of your phone, you can also customize these messages to fine tune them for your specific needs. All in all, this great little feature can help out by preventing those annoying ‘why didn’t you answer me’ discussions.
Voice Recognition for You
The voice recognition built into Android is an amazing thing. It is very robust and capable of being used in a search, for dictation, voice dialing and much more. The downside, as with all voice recognition, is that it is not entirely accurate. If you happen to have an accent or not speak particularly clearly, the problem can be far worse. Fortunately, there is a way to fix this long term, namely, Personalized Voice Recognition. Over time, Android is smart enough to learn the particulars of your voice based on the corrections made and will improve in accuracy to the point where speaking becomes far easier than typing.
Voice Recognition Safety
Voice recognition is an incredible feature, but it’s not without its weaknesses. I recall one time when, after using it to send text messages to a colleague, I then proceeded to have several minutes of a personal conversation with a friend who was with me. Little did I know the phone was still recording everything and had my full private discussion neatly typed up and ready to send to a co-worker. For those paranoid of sending the wrong thing, Android comes with a setting under voice recognition: Block Offensive Words. I highly recommend using it if you use your phone in any professional manner, or if you just want to make sure you never accidentally send an offensive message to your grandmother.
Monitor Data Usage
Not everyone is lucky enough to have an unlimited data plan, and many phone companies take advantage by charging obscene rates for data use overages. For this reason, many people are rightly paranoid about using too much data, sometimes to the point where it takes away from their enjoyment of the phone. To rest easier, Android includes a Data Usage in the Settings menu. This will show you exactly how much data you’ve used, and even better, what you used the information on. You can even set warnings, so you know when you’re about to run out.
Switch Between 3G and 4G
4G LTE, for those who haven’t experienced it yet, is incredible and actually lightning fast. Whenever possible, I highly recommend using it. As it is a new network, however, its coverage can be rather spotty in some areas. If you happen to be experiencing a problem, under your mobile network settings, you can switch from 4G to 3G in Preferred Mobile Network. Often when your signal is too weak or keeps cutting out this can be just the trick to get it back.