Friday, 2 March 2012

Top 10 android setup tasks for a new android user

Kickstart your shiny new android phone including the Droid family, Evo 4G, Galaxy S or other Motorola, Samsung and HTC android phones.

For the best experience, open this page on your android phone, so you install the apps just by clicking on them.

  1. Import contacts:
    • Export contacts to CSV, import to Gmail contacts.
    • Sign in to your phone with your Google account, if you haven’t done that yet.
    • Browse to Contacts>Settings>Display options>Select “Only contacts with phones”, and also Google>Manually select all groups. Then sync.
    • While you are at it, use the Email app to setup your school/office email too. Use IMAP or Exchange settings to ensure that email read status is synced to your phone.
    • Install Gtasks and sync your todo lists with Google tasks. 

  2. Facebook and Twitter:
    • Install the Facebook and Twitter apps.
    • Select to import data on your existing contacts. Pictures and other address data are the automagically added to your contacts.
    • Set Facebook and Twitter to update once every 4 hrs to prevent your friends from draining your battery. The Facebook sync setting could be in Contacts>Settings>Accounts or in the app itself

  3. Home screen:
    • Install ADW launcher to get a better home screen.
    • Select ADW launcher to open by default when the Home button is pressed.
    • Set the number of screens to 3 and apps to scroll vertically. Thats feels a lot better on the Galaxy S phones.
    • Set desktop rows to 5. Theres a lot more screenspace on large screen phones.
    • Select fade app labels for some nice animation.
    • If you want to reset the launcher for any reason, browse to Settings>Manage apps>ADW launcher> Reset defaults.

  4. Home screen widgets:
    • Install Beautiful widgets, one of the best Time and Weather widgets.
    • Try out some clock skins and pick the one you like.
    • Tap on Time to open alarm, Date to open calendar and Weather to open a nice animated weather widget.
    • Galaxy S phones have the WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, 4G, enable/disable buttons in the notification area, but you might want to place Power Control, an android standard widget, on your home screen and have better control over your battery.
    • While disabling the GPS, enable Geo location using WiFi to retrieve current location without sacrificing battery power.

  5. Get your phone back if you loose it:
    • Install Contact Owner.
    • Enable the security pattern in settings,
    • Setup Google Voice if needed
    • Add your email and the Google Voice number to your contact. You can use a friends number instead too.
    • Get Contact Owner to show your email and the phone number on the password screen, so the finder can reach you to give back the phone.
    • Also, enable Latitude in maps to track the location of your phone.

  6. Find your background:

  7. Change phone settings automatically:
    • Install Timerrific
    • There are apps that use GPS or phone battery levels to change settings automatically, like Tasker and Power Manager
    • Timerrific is better though. It changes settings based on time/day and is nice to the battery.
    • Now you can set the phone to vibrate at office/school and turn off WiFi when not at home.
    • While you are at it, install No Signal Alert, so you don’t miss important calls. Your phone will let you know if it looses signal.

  8. Don’t type, scan (or write):

  9. Other must have Apps:
    • Music, News and TV apps are always a must.
    • Pandora, Slacker radio or Last.FM: Free personalized radio
    • NYtimes: Award-winning journalism of The New York Times
    • NPR: Listen to NPR shows
    • TV shows from CBS, The CW, CNET, ET, Showtime, CBS News, CBS Sports and much more!

  10. Last but not the least change your ringtone:
    • Android comes with some nice ones, you can create your own too.
    • Install Ringdroid. Copy any MP3 to your SD card to edit and set it as your Ringtone.
    • You can assign a specific ringtone to a contact too.

How to import contacts into android

Export contacts from Outlook or Outlook Express (or any other application) to csv format and then import to gmail. That should do it for most users.

If you have your contacts on an old GSM phone, you could export them on to the SIM card and then import them to your new phone.

Google Contacts

While you are there, try the “find duplicates” functionality. You can also add contacts into groups. The groups show up on your phone too after the sync.

Now on your android phone, browse to Contacts>Settings>Display options>Select “Only contacts with phones”, and also Google>Select all groups.

If you want to pull social contacts too, install the Facebook and Twitter apps and select to import data from all contacts. You should then see pictures and other address data added to your contacts auto magically.

Important Android features not available in iPhone

Android and iPhone are among the most popular phones in the market at the moment. Their popularity has been raised by the unique features which can be found in these phones. The following are some unique features in Androids but are conspicuously missing in iPhones.
True Application Combination
Although the iPhone has in the recent past introduced the Google voice in their applications, the experience is still unmatched to that of the android. The iPhone apps direct the user to a default dialer as well as visual voicemail apps that will assist you to navigate it manually. Android offers a classic option where the user can set the feature once and the rest of the calls dialed through the phone go through Google Voice. This app integration feature has also made it simple to use custom SMS, phone, browser apps and voicemails.

This is an important feature used for several purposes such as viewing flash sites, playing games and watching flash videos are just a few of the common tasks you will need the flash for. Android has this app ready in the system hence you can be assured you can access all the flash features hassle free.

Alternate Keyboards

The Android offers a variety of keyboard options such as innovative like swipe, text predictors like Swiftkey and downright adventurous such as 8pen. Typing can be really painful if you have a phone with small keyboard. This is the reason why Android provides a variety of keyboard options to their users. However, the keyboards are available as apps hence the user will have to import and install them. This process is very simplified hence everyone can accomplish it conveniently. These systems are rare in regular phones but they offer the kind of features that you would be on the lookout for.
Among the most essential and powerful applications found in the Androids is the Tasker. It provides a simple for automating the Android into a superphone. You can either turn settings on or off for particular location, applications, time of day or any other reason you can think of. All you need is to prepare commands of what you want done on your phon and save the settings. Tasker has ability to access even the furthest folders in your phone and implement the commands. This application is rarely available in other phones. 
 Customized Home Launchers

Although iPhone users who have jailbroken their phones their phones can customize their home screens to a certain extent, they cannot attain the kind of experience delivered by the custom home launchers of Android. There are third party launchers offering a offering a wide range of home screen features on the phone such as shortcuts, gestures and low level settings that can enhance performance of older phones. Irrespective whether you are using the highly modifiable ADWLauncher or incredibly fast LauncherPro, the third party launchers have limitless configurations you can add to your device.
Although these applications normally occupy large spaces on the screen, their role can be substituted for nothing more. Whether it is a weather or music widget showing you the song playing in the background, nothing can replace the experience of the apps. The most important is the `to do’ list which is brought to your face such that you will not have to look for it. People who have jailbroken iPhone can also find widget apps but unfortunately they can only be stored the lock screen instead of home screen that you are constantly swiping through. 
Detachabale Storage and Battery
The open nature of Android allows the use to remove and upgrade batteries and SD card conveniently. If your micro-SD card is full, you can get a bigger card and pop it in easily.