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Getting the Best Out of Your Android Phone - Power-User Tips

By Edited Oct 20, 2016 0 0

2012 really was the year of the Android phone. With huge handsets like the Samsung Galaxy S III, which some consider to be the best mobile phone on the market, dominating sales, Android really came into its own. And 2013 doesn't look like it's going to be any different. The projected launch of the Galaxy S 4, Samsung's new heavily feature-laden flag ship model, looks set to send Android sales rocketing again. Android is becoming the operating system of choice nowadays, thanks to its simplicity and flexibility. If you're the proud owner of an Android, then today we're going to give you some tips and suggestions so that you can get the most out of your device. From customisation to hacks, we've got it all. So read on and make your Android the best that it can be.

Get the Best Mobile Phone Keyboard for You...

Unsurprisingly, most of us spend an awful lot of time typing on our smart phones. From emails to status updates, that little on screen keyboard gets a lot of use. But the keyboard on Android phones is actually customisable. There are several apps that customise your keyboard, but they all fall into one of two categories. The first is the swiping keyboard, best exemplified by the Swype app. This is where you put your finger on the keyboard and slide it around to each letter until you finish a word. It takes a bit of getting used to, and it's a steep learning curve, but fans say that it makes typing faster and more efficient. The other category is predictive keyboards, with Swiftkey being the app of choice. This kind of keyboard learns the kind of things you type over time, and eventually starts guessing the next word in your sentence. It's like the old Nokia T9 dictionary gone wild.

Get Direct Contact...

Direct contact is a feature of Android phones that a lot of people don't know about, or don't use. But it's incredibly useful. Everyone has someone on their contact list that they call or message more frequently than anyone else. By pressing and holding your finger on a blank space on your screen you'll get a short cut menu which will allow you to add a direct contact icon to a particular person on your home screen. Then, when you want to call or message that person, you can do so immediately by hitting the icon, with no messing around in menus and contact list.

Organise Yourself...

One of the best mobile phone features of recent years is the ability to create folders, just as you do on your home computer. And Android phones can do this extremely easily. Once again press and hold your finger on a blank part of your home screen and wait for a menu to come up. Then press folder on the menu. Name the folder whatever you like, then you can drag and drop icons into the folder on your home screen. This is particularly useful for keeping all your mobile games in one place, or just for cleaning up a cluttered home screen.


The nicest thing about Android phones is the pure level of customisation that you can get, especially when compared to the iPhone. Wallpapers are a good starting point, letting you change the background of your phone to whatever you wish. There are preloaded wallpapers on all phones, or you can use any photo that you've taken with your phone. Alternatively, find a picture on the web that you like and save it to your phone, or download a wallpaper app from the Android app store. Once you have a wallpaper, you might want to get some widgets. These are the little icons that appear on your screen that you touch to access apps and other features. They're also fully customisable, and can be downloaded or designed in any way you wish. Again, changing widgets involves simply pressing and holding on a blank space on the home screen until you get that menu, and then choosing the widgets option.

Advanced Customisation...

If you're up for a little more of a challenge and want a really unique phone, then you might want to try a launcher app. Basically a launcher will change the entire look of your phone to a given theme, in much the same way that Windows themes work on a desktop. You can change everything from the simple wallpaper and widget stuff to things like how many pages you get on your home screen and how you can navigate around your phone. LauncherPro is the most popular launcher app out there and is pretty easy to use.

Get a New Web Browser...

Far too many people stick to the pre-loaded web browser that comes as default on their phone. But you really don't need to do that. All the major browsers now have mobile versions, and it's as simple as heading over to the app store and grabbing what you want, they're all free. That way you can have your preferred browser on your phone as well as on your computer.

Manage Your Contacts...

Managing your contact list really does make your life more efficient. Once your contacts are in your new Android phone, there's a whole list of things that you can do with them. One of the nicest features is being able to separate contacts out into groups, meaning your work colleagues and your family go in different phone books, which is great for people with hundreds of contacts to scroll through. Contact customisation is another nice feature, letting you assign different ring tones and even different vibrate patterns to contacts you have, so you know who's calling before you even look at your screen. And if you have a gmail account attached to your phone, you can manage your contacts list from the gmail web site on your regular computer, which makes typing a lot easier.



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