Blog/20141218 Getting started with Android

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1 Getting started with Android

It's tricky to write detailed guides that cover Android, because each version is different, and often manufaturers use their own UIs. Moreover, these things are not too hard to figure out, by googling around, or by trial and error. What's more important is to know what can be done, i.e. to know what's possible, so you can then try to do it. Here's a list of activities to explore.


2 Basic calling and messaging

  • Make a call
  • Write an SMS message
  • Add a contact to the address book (and then go online with your laptop, and find the same contact through the web-based interface)
  • Add number to contacts following a call
  • Write an email and send it to somebody
  • Message somebody on Google Hangouts
  • Initiate a voice call on Google Hangouts
  • Do the same with Skype, Facebook messenger, etc
  • Install "Facebook messenger" and compare the "full Facebook app" with "Facebook messenger".
  • Install "Google Keyboard" and try to do keyboard input via "swiping"
  • Download an attachment from an email, and locate it in the Downloads on your phone.
  • Set up an email signature on gmail

3 Connectivity and basic settings

  • Turn mobile data on / off.
  • Put your phone into silent / vibrate.
  • Connect to a wifi network.

4 Documents

  • Install Google Drive, Google Documents, Google Sheets, Google Slides.
  • Create a new document in one of those apps on your phone, and
    • find the document online (through the web-based interface)
    • share the document (on your phone) with a contact.
  • Edit the document offline (on your phone), and see how it updates (in the web-based interface) when you have internet.

5 Pictures, video, audio

  • Take a picture, record a video, record an audio clip
  • Email these to somebody
  • Add those to Google drive and share them with somebody

6 GPS and navigation

  • Install Google Maps and OSMAnd
  • In OSMAnd, download the maps for your country.
  • In both maps and OSMAnd
    • locate a landmark,
    • share your GPS position via text message and email.
  • Use OSMAnd offline
  • Create an offline map in Google Maps (note that these expire after some time)
  • Use Google Maps and OSMAnd to set a driving route to GPS coordinates somebody provided to you.
  • If you want to learn more about GPS, install GPS Test and GPS Status
  • Turn GPS on / off.
  • Use an app of your choice to record a GPS trace.

7 Social media

  • Read your facebook messages
  • Subscribe to a community on Google+

8 Various

  • Backup: If you want to back up your SMS messages, explore "SMS Backup & Restore".
  • Browsing: Add a link to a frequently used site to your home screen.
  • Hot spot: Turn your phone into a WiFi hotspot
  • Create a calendar event with a reminder. Invite some people to it. Set a location for the event.
  • Power your phone from car-based USB power (e.g. through an adaptor for the 12V connector)
  • Change the ring tone / message tone of your phone.

9 Home screen

  • Create a folder on your home screen and add some apps to it
  • Add a Gmail widget to your home screen
  • Add a Google Calendar widget to your home screen
  • If you need to have a weather forcast, install the BBC Weather app, and add a widget to your home screen
  • Add a widget for your alarm to your homescreen.



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