Whether you have just taken out a new contract on a smartphone or have been using your phone for months and want to know what more it can do for you, it’s never too late to learn a thing or two to get more out of your Android device.
Owning a typical Android smartphone has a number of benefits, but have you ever looked at just how many functions there are, here’s a list of what I could think of – Phone, Email device, compass, GPS Sat Nav, Digital Map, Pocket Torch, Video Camera, Digital Still Camera, Webcam, Spirit Level, MP3 Player, MP4 Player, Radio, Handheld Gaming Device, Pocket Watch, Alarm Clock, Personal Organiser, Dictaphone, Calendar, USB Storage Device, Web Browser, Translator, Photo Viewer, On Demand TV Viewer, USB Storage Device, Web Encyclopaedia/dictionary/thesaurus, Social networking device, Personal shopping advisor (Google shopper), Digital book/magazine subscription service/reader, Sky TV Scheduler, Stopwatch, Calculator, Guitar tuner, Video editor, Photo editor, Note Pad, Audio trimmer, Online document storage etc... The list does go on!
Here are a few tips for making the most of an average smartphone scenario, let’s say a mid-range Android device with 500 texts, 300 minutes and 512 mb of data allowance a month...
Tip #1: Use your data!!
I would recommend to anyone with an Android device and a social networking account, email account, ebay account, blog or all of the above – Get a data plan! A data plan will really bring your device to life. Your typical data plan gives you 512mb of allowance, which unless is explained in everyday terms doesn’t sound like much, but trust me, for most people this is by far more than enough. A lot of people I know have an allowance but are too scared to use it in case they go over their limit, so the first piece of advice I can offer is to monitor your usage online, or even easier, download an app called ‘my data manager free’ from the app market which lets you know how much internet you have used.
Having a data allowance allows you to have your email account, social network, maps, internet browser and online document storage at hand 24/7, but other uses include necessary software updates as they are released and the ability to have your contacts/messaging backed up online as you go.
Tip #2: Use your noggin, and WiFi!
When indoors, or at any WiFi access point I seriously recommend reverting to WiFi in your settings for obvious reasons. Thats it!
Tip #3: WiFi Video/voice calling
There are a number of services, namely Skype, which offer this. I cannot explain how handy yet under-used this is in the world of smartphones. Add all your friends who have a smartphone and start taking advantage of high-quality, free unlimited chatting.
Tip #4: Lost again!
Can’t find your way around in the car? Get yourself a car phone charger and start using your free GPS! It’s amazingly simple to use and just as good as your average TomTom or NavMan. Type or even speak your destination into your Android, amend your preferences and away you go, turn by turn navigation right there!
Tip #5: You’ve shot, now share!!
What do you do with your photos taken with your phone? Most of you will keep them there in your device to show to whomever is lucky enough to be in your immediate vicinity. A great app for photo sharing with all your friends is a little app called Facebook! I’m sure you’ve heard of it, what makes it so great is that most people either have it, or know a close friend who uses it – and that’s what sharing photos is all about...
Tip #6: Organise your life!
I’m just as guilty as most of you – until recently I never really used Androids great calendar app, I seriously recommend it as not only is it an extremely concise organisational tool with a reminder function, you can even add photos, maps, navigation and invites to contacts, all backed up online just in case you lose your phone! The alarm clock ain’t too shabby either!
Tip #7: Holy Google Batman!
The best thing about owning an Android phone is the amazing free Google suite of apps and utilities, here’s a brief rundown and explanation of my faves:
Google Goggles: Ever seen a landmark, brand logo or product you recognise, but just can’t remember what you need to know about it? Goggles allows you to take a picture of whatever you want, scans the image, then will take you to every bit of information under the sun!
Google Shopper: Found something but want it cheaper? Shopper has a barcode scanner, voice recognition and text search, so if there’s a bargain to be had, you will find it on your Android.
Google Maps: A suite in its self – Google Maps is the centre of your navigation, places, route planning etc, and the best part is its all free!
Google Translate: With well over 50 languages to choose from, you can travel the world and never be lost in translation, with voice and text translation this app is a must-have for travellers.
Google Reader: I subscribe to a couple of blogs, and Google reader is an amazingly efficient way of feeding new articles right to your smartphone via RSS feeds.
Google Search: Good ol’ faithful! Google search is as simple, yet advanced as ever. Search for anything with your voice or text for almost instant results.
Tip #8: Try it yourself!
At the end of the day, the only way you will learn to get the most out of your phones features will be to have a mess around yourself, what’s the worst thing that can happen? Go explore – you’re paying for it, get your moneys worth!
Follow me on Twitter @virtuoso666
Follow me on Twitter @virtuoso666