Yes, Virginia, Your Android IS A Robot!
The latest Android version is KitKat 4.4
Navigation, Let Your Fingertips Do The Walking
- To Select: touch the icon or link
- To Open: touch and hold the icon or link
- To Browse Scroll : Drag across the touchscreen with your fingertip (when you drag or flick a list, a scroll bar appears on the right.)
- To Fast Scroll: Flick across the touchscreen (drag quickly and release)
- To Zoom: Zoom in by tapping twice quickly (double-touch; repeat to zoom out. OR, drag-pinch two fingers together to zoom in, apart to zoom out.
NOTE: You can flick your home screen left or right to see multiple home pages.
Actually, Your Android Is Just A Tiny Laptop
Yes, it's true. For all intents and purposes, you are holding a mini-computer. If you've just purchased your first Android cell phone, this overview should get you started on enjoying its many functions. A recently purchased Droid will have the latest Android KitKat operating system, however, if yours is last year's model, it would have the Jelly Bean. First we'll review the basic operational points, and then walk through the use of three applications. Once you are familiarized with operating your Android, you should have no problem exploring its many user-friendly apps and widgets.
Operating Your Operating System
Here's a quick review of operation. Once you turn it on (push button on edge of phone), wake up your phone by swiping the padlock to unlock it and your home screen will appear. On the bottom you will see a few icons on the "dock"--why is called it a "dock"?--think of applications like boats, they come and go with their own menu bars, but the dock stays. A small permanent group of docked icons per your android app are the Home, Back, and Trash icons on the very bottom. Plus, you can dock your own icons, those apps that you use the most, some may already be there for you, however, you can dock your own by dragging any icon from your touchscreen onto a dock at the bottom, just as you would pull a favorite site icon onto the top menu bar of your laptop--it's just a shortcut.
Depending on the model of your phone, the operating screens may look slightly different, but they all operate the same. The icon on the bottom of your phone that looks like a little house is your home screen button. Tap it to get to your home screen. You actually have three or more home screens by flicking to the right or left. Your home page is also your launcher.
There is also a Favorites tray for quick access to aps that you use most often, which you can switch around. To see all of your apps, tap All Aps and you can browse by swiping through screens, such as Photogallery, Notes, Contacts, Music.
To exit any app, tap home, or go to the previous screen by tapping the back button.
Top Android Widgets
- Beautiful Widgets: Offer battery-status widgets for your home screen such as clock, weather in different display styles. ($2.88 from Android Market)
- Android Market: Cycle through a comprehensive 'store' of Droid apps and widgets. (preloaded)
- Amazon MP3: Music store and storage. (free from Android Market)
- Google Search: Access to Google. (free from Android Market)
- Newsweek Mobile: Scroll through current event content. ($1.99 from Android Market)
- ESPN ScoreCenter: Get schedules and live-scores from your favorite teams. (free from Android Market)
- Wireless-Radio: Toggle your favorite radios. (Preloaded; assign Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth and Airplane Mode widgets to your home-screen.)
- YouTube: Lets you search for videos. (free from Android Market)
- IMDb Movies & TV: Displays rotating selection of news and reviews. (free from Android Market)
- The Coupons App: Displays promotions from popular stores (free from Android Market)
BELLS & WHISTLES:
- To open special options, touch and hold an icon or other item.
- To quick access the App tray, touch the Launcher Icon (triangle inside of circle).
- To see recently dialed numbers, touch Phone > Recent.
- To sleep/wake your phone, press Power/Lock .
- To set screen timeout, press Menu > Settings > Sound & display > Screen timeout.
- To search, press Search .
- To show last few apps, press and hold Home .
- To turn sound on/off, press and hold Power/Lock > Silent mode.
- To turn airplane mode on/off, press and hold Power/Lock > Airplane mode.
MINI SOFTWARE: Apps & Widgets
Widgets are simply small applications you can upload (a graphical element on your home screen that shows data at a glance, such as a sports scores, current weather, etc). There are thousands of apps and widgets available for your Droid. Here we'll review the more popular ones such as: Android Market, Instagram, You Tube, Google Map & Google Search, R World Online, Android Market, Social Networking, and Gmail
Home Screen Shortcuts & Links
To add an app to your home page, find a home page with enough blank area for a new icon. There are two ways to do this.
- Open the app tray (the open d by the icon on the bottom of the screen). Scroll around until you find one you want; press and hold icon; then, you’ll be instantly moved to your home screen, move your finger to where you want the icon placed. Tap to run the app. You can reposition your icons by long-pressing on it, and dragging it where you want it to go as long as there is room, you can even move it to other home screens by dragging off the right or left of your screen.
- Long press on a blank area on your home screen. A drop box will appear with Shortcuts, Widgets, Folders and Wallpapers. Choose the one you want.
How to remove: (This does not delete app, it just removes the alias icon; to remove the app you need to uninstall it)
Long press and hold, then drag it towards the bottom. The middle section will turn into a trashcan, when you place it on it, both will turn red. Let go, and it will be deleted.
Organize with folders: If you end up with too many icons on your home screen, you can organize your icons by putting a group of them into a folder. Long press on your home screen and choose Folders, then choose New Folder. Drag and press icons into the new folder. Open the folder by tapping it. Rename the folder by long pressing on its name, then type name. Close the folder by pressing X in upper right or press the Back icon.
Switching from alpha to numeric keyboard: Tap ?123 Button on bottom left of the keyboard display, to return to alpha, top abc button in same location.
Android Market App
This is where you can find downloadable apps and widgets. There are thousands of free and paid programs. All of your pre-downloaded apps and widgets will also show up here.
To locate and add an app or widget to your phone, select the Market icon (looks like a little suitcase) on your home screen. The top menu bar will show Apps, Games, and Downloads, (Downloads have either already been installed or purchased from another phone.), so we'll select Apps. Now the top Market menu offers Top Free and Top Paid, which is nice to check out if you're just browsing. As you scroll through app products, you'll see they are all labelled as Free, Installed, or with a Price.
To search for a particular app, tap search (magnifying glass) on the Download screen, and type in your app or widget title. Once you select an app, you’ll see a menu offering Notes, Comments, and Screen Shots. If you check one of these out, tap Done at bottom to go back to the Install page. Tap Install. A screen will appear with this message: This application has access to the following: Your location, Network communication, etc. This is a little warning about what the app is doing and will have access to from your operating system. Tap OK. The program will automatically install in seconds—you can drag the notification bar down to watch it downloading.You will get an Installation Complete message when the install is finished.
To find your new app, go back to Market to find it and select Open, or go back to your Home Screen Launcher, you will see the new icon and can open it from there.
BELLS & WHISTLES:
Change your mind on an app purchase? You can uninstall within 24 hours. Go to your Market section and find your app. Select Uninstall at the bottom and your payment will be refunded.
Once you have installed ap, you can either sign in or register for an account. You can register quickly through Facebook if you like. There, you can choose to follow your Facebook friends or Instagram friends. Next you'll see a stream of scrollable photos, this is the home screen. The Instagram menu has four buttons: Home, Explore (for viewing photos from other users), Camera (opens the Camera Ap and is the starts sharing), News (find updates from users you follow), and Profile Page (access profile info).
You can share photos by either by using existing ones or by taking new ones.
Sharing A New Photo: Tap open the Instagram Advanced camera icon (square with circle within) for the default way to acquire photos. Your photo shot will appear, and depending on your Droid version, you may be able to tap to focus. Your flash icon is on the top right if you need it. Tap photo icon to take picture and you will see a new screen where you can apply filters and enhancements before publishing it. Here's what they do:
- Square with broken outline: Will add a frame
- Teardop: Applies a circular or horizontal blur around the photo that you can increase or decrease by pinching, and you can also rotate the blur area with two fingertips. (X is no blur)
- Circle with comma insert: Changes vibrancy of color intensity.
- Tilted box: Rotates photo.
- At the bottom is a row of preset filters that you can experiment with; for not filter choose Normal.
Tap Next (double arrow at top right). Here you can type in caption for your photo, including a hashtag if you like (e.g. #epicrainbow). You can tap an icon that will add your new photo to your Photo Map; add a different name to the location; simultaneously publish to Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and others; Publish by tapping green checkmark in upper right corner.
Sharing An Existing Photo: If you want to use an existing photo, tap the Gallery icon (mountain range in square) and pick a photo from one of your albums.
- VIEWING PHOTOS: Visible on home tab, here you can like or leave comments; refresh with circular arrow at top.
- OTHER USERS: You can check out other instagrammers photos by tapping the instagrammer's profile user name or profile photo, you can see all of their photos, and leave comments if you like.
- EXPLORE: Use the explore tab (looks like star at bottom menu bar), see photos from around the world, every time you tap refresh, you will get a new set of random photos. Tap thumbnail to open, and then you can like or comment on it. You can also open the user's profile and follow the user.
- HASHTAG SEARCH: Tap search icon and choose Tags. Type a keyword and you'll see a list with of hashtags relating to or including your keyword. Do not use spaces in hashtag searches.
- LIKES: To "like" a photo, double tap a photo, or tap the heart icon. It will turn red, indicating it is 'liked'. You can undo by tapping again. The color will change back.To see all of your "liked' photos: Go to your Profile page, Settings page, Photos You've Liked.
Google Map App
Select the Google logo (green G) on your touch screen or open All Apps to find it. Once you select it, a keyboard will come up and it's just like using Google Map on your computer. Type in your address and search, once you see the specific destination, select (tap on it).
On the next screen, select the icon that looks like a right turn sign. You'll now see three options: Tap Driving Navigation (If your phone has more than one GPS app, tap Navigation under Complete Action Using.) Tap Accept on the nest screen. Your phone will now calculate driving directions and search for a GPS signal.
BELLS & WHISTLES:
- Use the call, save, and share icons by sliding the information card up from the bottom of the screen. (Includes street view of the location, ratings, and reviews)
- Tap the silhouette icon for quick access to your map data. (Includes reviews, saved addresses for home and work, nearby offers, saved places, and recent searches.)
- Traffic and satellite layers have been relocated to a general menu. Simply tap on the gray tab along the bottom left-hand side of the app and the menu will slide open, allowing you to enable your desired layers.
- Press the search box at the top and scroll down the page to find Explore (replaces Local feature), where you can choose from eat, drink, shop, play, and sleep. (Includes category menu to find places without knowing the business names.)
- If you want to save Google Maps so you can access them while offline, just say or type "OK Maps" in the search box.
Tips source: Nicole Cozma / C/net
How to use Skype on your Android phone
Top Droid Apps
Lifehacker is a cool little site that offers "Tips, Tricks & Downloads For Getting Things Done", and every year posts a survey of Best Android Apps. The following links survey their "favorite, must-have applications."