Android 101 – Part 2: Tips and tricks to enhance your Android experience
Welcome back for part two of our little Android 101. Last week we covered some tips to help navigate your Android-based device. Now that everyone has had a week to become experts, I present to you some advanced tricks that will make you appreciate what Android can offer.
If you’re ever walking down the street and feel the need to send a text message, you can use the voice activation feature to instruct your Android phone what to do all without taking your eyes off your destination.
To use voice activation, press and hold the Search button on the handset (it looks like a magnifying glass) and then speak into the phone. Voice activation works by telling your phone what to do, similar to how dictation software does on your computer. The only requirement is you need a connection to the Internet as your voice is submitted to Google’s voice recognition servers where it is then deciphered and transferred back to your phone.
You can use voice activation for various purposes, some of which include the following:
• Text: send text to [recipient] [message] — example: send text to Dave meet me for pizza after work.
• E-mail: send email to [recipient] [subject] [body] — example: send email to James Detzler reminder don’t forget to pick up milk.
• Directions: navigate to [location] — example: navigate to Traverse City.
• Place phone call: call [contact] [phone type] — example: call Gretchen mobile.
Other voice activation commands available are:
• Listen to music: listen to [artist/song/album];
• Write note: note to self [note];
• Search Google: [query];
• Open website: go to [website];
• View a map: map of [location].
Move your apps to the SD card
If you’re like me and love trying out new applications, then I can guess you are tired of your phone constantly saying that you are low on space. I mean, most phones let you insert a microSD card to add more storage, right? Well if you have Android 2.2 Froyo or higher installed, then you are in luck.
As it stands today you can only install apps to your phone initially — then move them to SD card separately. You can do this by going to Settings > Applications > Manage Applications and clicking on the app you would like to move. If the developer has enabled it, you will see a “Move to SD card” button allowing you to now shuffle it to your memory card.
To help make things easier I recommend the app SDMove. SDMove is a tiny Android app that lists your apps, letting you see at a glance which ones can be moved to the SD card and which can’t. If you’re quickly running out of space and need to free things up quick, this can save many seconds of annoyed fiddling.
Install a different app store
We all know Google has the Android Market and Apple has the App Store, both for purchasing and installing new application and games. But aren’t they for different Operating Systems? Yes they are, and this is where Amazon’s App Store comes in. Amazons App Store is not available to download from the Android Market, but you can find it by going to amazon.com/appstore. Once there, enter your mobile number or email into the “Get Started” section near the top to have the application sent to your device.
Once you have it installed the fun can began. Amazon has made a deal where they are trying to gain a loyal following, as they appear to be launching an Android tablet soon, and are giving away one paid app for free each day. This is one sure way to try out some different software and get a great deal on others. For this reason alone the Amazon App store should be one of the first applications installed on any new Android device.
These are only a few of the many things you can do with your Android device. There are many others and we have only scratched the surface.