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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

General Android phone usage/tutorial

You may check flash/video demo first:

Android Usage tips:

  •    To add new folder to desktop(home screen) do long press on it - and click on new folder. To add program to home screen(or new folder) - just click on up arrow first -> long press on programs(like camera, maps) and then drag it to home screen/folder.
  • I could not find out how to delete stuff from home screen.(you have to press the application that you want to delete for a long time - and once the thrash-can icon appears - delete it). I then realized that I can also move stuff on home screen - and I should probably create a "new folder" on home screen - and keep some of my favorite stuff there.
  • When in doubt - always press home button or back button to go back.. Keep habit of pressing menu button to explore your app. If they keys dont work then reboot it.

  • The other thing I missed was forward button -but quickly realized that I just need to press on home button continuously - and it will show all recently opened applications.(though in browser if you press menu you see a forward button)
  • Similarly if you press on power button continuously - you will get options to turn sound off, vibrate etc.

  • For any opened applications - click on menu button to see settings/quit button (eg for exiting GPS - you need to go back to map - and press on menu button)

  • If you are using camera - then always click on area(in the screen) that you want to focus on.

  • You will find lots of useful stuff in "settings" eg Sound and display or about phone(press menu on home screen)

  • I always tend to forget about the trackball(optical mouse) which can be used to scroll web pages or help in copy/paste etc. The main used of this  is to click on camera. But I later realized that I need it in some games(especially when it says press the "up button" - you then need to flick the optical mouse up)

  • In phones contact person settings - you can set up a separate dial phone for particular contact or even set it up to always redirect to voice mail(for that contact).
  • The best android tip  may be to DOWNLOAD "Amazon App store" from You may get certain paid apps for free - and sometimes at better price as compared with Android Market. However installing amazon app store is not trivial(may 2011) ,  You have to have lots of free space in  SD card. And you may also need to move folder called ".android_secure" - else the download will never happen.

Initial Playing around with your android phone:

I would say initially try :
  • Set up your google/gmail account first.
  • GPS - with text to speech navigation.(which works even while you surf) ... However it may be noted that you may not know that its working in background - and hence to quit it you should press on menu button while its active - and click on exit navigation.
  • Camera - and try uploading it to flickr - or send it via email.
  • Camcorder
  • FM transmitter(headset may be needed - which also acts as antenna)
  • Normal browsing with "voice search"
  • Try Voice dialing app.(after you added contacts)
  • Using mail client - setup any outlook(office) that you may have.. Also setup hotmail,gmail by just typing user/pass.
Warning: Please note that you should check mail settings - to ensure that you don't check mail frequently.  Also once you setup mail client then it may force you to have screen lock - with at least 4 characters - screen password(irritating but secure) - to secure certain email accounts(not for hotmail/yahoo/gmail). 
Removing Screen Lock:
If you add certain emails accoutnts , then it may force you to choose screen password. If you have setup screen lock and lost screen password - then you will need to reset the device (and loose all contacts/applications etc) . . However - If you know your password then you can use "No Lock" application from android market - it works on incredible(assuming its running in background)  - you wont have to type the screen lock password(this again may take cpu/battery). Though having screen lock can be advantage - if you dont want others to use your phone.
(however nolock app may not work on startup - and may  sometimes
freeze some keys - and hence you may need to kill it with Advanced
Task manager)

Cool things to do with our phone:
  • Get weather widget directly on home page, use mail client for checking hotmail/yahoo/gmail, places/urbanspoon app for nearby restaurants.
  • You can check map to see local traffic(turning traffic option on in layer section) daily before commute.

  • You can charge it via my cars usb charger(check usb wattage specs before trying) - and then listen to pandora (or slacker)radio in my car by putting the headset output of droid incredible into the cars voice(aux in) input. Hence you wont need satellite radio.(ipod users has been doing this for long time - but now you get internet radio with incredible)

  • You may organize favorites apps on Desktop/home page( and in folders)  so that you can access the favorite apps in one click  - and other ones in 2 clicks.
Android Phone Battery Tips(Android tuning):
Make sure that for the first time - you charge it overnight - else you wont get max battery life(or your display power would be wrong).

In order to save battery for each application (eg lookout or mail client) -  open it individually - click on menu button - and see if there is option to limit its usage.
(eg for lookout - I disabled antivirus protect, for mail client -I asked it download it manually)..

When you start phone - notice the running applications in Task managers.
(if you think some application is running needlessly the remove it)
For playing games (or local music/photos) - you can even go to airplane
mode(where all internet/phone connection may be disabled)
If you have apps like skype - then you may remove option to
automatically intercept international call.(assuming you dont use that)

If you have set up mail - then ensure that you dont sync it automatically.

Check all the autosync options - and see if you dont have stuff like flickr automatically doing autosync.

Of course you can also use apps like Advanced task killer to stop unwanted
applications.(but its a pain to always use it)

Consider disabling live wall paper, wifi, blue tooth - if you dont use it.

The best way to get more batter power is to use less display eg Go to settings->sound and display ->Change display to low(and turn animation off)

Monitor usage of application (and remove the ones that are power hogs). You can easily do this by going to Settings->About Phone->battery. This link will show current battery power in more detail - besides it will also tell you the percentage of battery used by all apps - since it was charged. You can then remove any offending applications.

Tips for AT&T users(or other users) who need limit bandwidith:
Some carriers limit internet usage, hence you may :
a) check 3g signal on top appear or light up to find apps which uses Internet.
most free apps will use internet to show ads and hence you may go to airplane mode(disable all connections) while playing games.
b) You should note that google gps map/navigation uses internet.
c) use apps like Myatt or Myverizon to check how much internet was used
by particular application(like gps )

I could not find any way to filter R(or x) rated apps in android market.
(though R rated or porn material are not allowed in android)
You should noted that android 2.2 should be lot faster then android 2.1(however cisco vpn etc may still not work)
Why do people root(ie jailbreak) their phone ?

I beleive jailbreaking (eg iphone) you own phone is legal per recent court rule.
(however certain applications may not be allowed eg wireless broadband)
People root their phone to get admin access to their phone.
This allows them to:
a) Get corporate(eg Cisco )vpn working(even though it does not work in android 2.1 or android 2.2)
b) Install cool developement and monitoring tools
c) Do Wifi tether or even set your phone as wifi router.(probably not allowed)
d) Overclock(go faster) the CPU .(will take more battery)
e) Remove crapware like cityId etc(that your carrier may have forced on you)

Higher chance of virus.
The installation software may mess up your phone(or may itself be a virus)

Please leave comments (with line number) for any part that needs to be
corrected/changed/removed. (This is a draft version and some instructions may not apply to your phone)


  1. Very helpful and informative. Going set further, I work with disabled populations, people with Parkinson's disease. SMArt phone problems include on screen keyboard too small, too sensitive, heed apps to focus on basic needs (simple phone use, GPS for when person gets lost and or phone gets lost, basic internet access, to easy to hit wrong or extra buttons, etc.
    What phone is best (easiest and most adjustable for disabled persons needs?

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