Archive for the ‘ANDROID’ Category

8 tips on how to protect your Android touch screen


Noways, smartphones and tablets come with the toughest and most scratch-resistant touch screen panels, thanks to such materials like Corning Gorilla Glass. It takes a lot to break and damage them. This,on the other hand, is not impossible if you behave recklessly with your Android device. Here are some precautions to consider in using your touchscreen.

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1. Only use your fingers or stylus, if one comes with the device, like the Galaxy Note 3 for example. The Sony Xperia Z Ultra allows you to use pencils on the display, however this should not be done with any other device.
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2. Avoid letting your touch screen come into contact with other electrical devices. There are many people who think that magnets will damage your phone, when it fact it likely won’t. The only thing that a magnet might do is mess up your built-in magnetic sensor which is used for compass apps.

3. Electrostatic discharges, meaning a sudden surge of electricity between two connected electrical devices, could ultimately cause the touchscreen to malfunction. This might happen when your smartphone is placed near an object isolated to the ground that conducts electricity.

4. This may seem obvious, but do not tap your phone with any sharp objects or bang it to make it work if it’s being laggy. Your smartphone isn’t like your old TV set. Also, though you might get over excited while playing Candy Crush, do not apply excessive pressure to the display.

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5. Ever heard of the term burn-in? This is what sometimes happens when you leave the touchscreen idle for an extended amount of time without deactivating the display. What you’ll see when you switch to something new is an afterimage, ghosting or screen burn-in, all terms apply here. If this is happening to you, check out how to fix a screen burn-in. To prevent this from happening though, set the lock screen to turn off after a certain amount of time in the settings of your smartphone or tablet under the lock screen section.

6. Invest in a screen protector, sleeve, padded bag or hard case for your tablet or smartphone. There are many cheap but effective ones that you can find on Amazon, WalMart, eBay etc. If you drop your phone, scratches are the least of your worries, but shattering or cracking can happen even with the most durable of panels.

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7. Avoid exposure to direct sunlight. Leaving your smartphone or tablet with an LCD display out on the patio in mid summer can really damage the quality.

8. When cleaning your display, use a microfiber cloth, which is ideal for touch screens. You can even use the one that came with your sunglasses. Be careful if using a moist cloth. Simply dampen it slightly or breath on the screen and then wipe it down gently. If you do end up using water, make sure that it is distilled water since normal tap water often carries calcium and other types of minerals. Do not over-rub. Let your phone air dry if there is any water left over so that you don’t accidently push any liquid into the phone’s inner hardware.

What tips do you recommend when it comes to taking care of your touch screen?

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Android 4.4 KitKat tips, tricks and secrets


 

What’s hiding in Android 4.4?

Android 4.4 is the most polished and feature-rich iteration of Google’s mobile OS yet, and comes with plenty of new and exciting functions to keep fans happy. However, not all of them are immediately obvious from the start.

Allow us to educate you on some of the most interesting and useful tips, tricks and secrets hiding in the software. Grab yourself a hot beverage, find a comfortable seat and prepare to taste the future of smartphone software.

18) Fire up Google Now with just your voice

It’s possible to activate Google Now – Android’s answer to Siri – simply by saying “OK Google”. When you’re on the home screen, simply utter those two words and you’ll be prompted to speak your next command, which can be anything from asking for Google to search the web to setting an alarm for a particular time. Just be wary of any annoying friends shouting the same phrase when you’re trying to do other things on your phone.

17) Switch on Developer Mode

Developer mode used to be a part of Android’s settings menu that was easily accessible, but recently Google has hidden it away to prevent users from tinkering too much. However, it’s still fairly easy to discover if you know what you’re doing – go to Settings > About Phone and then tap the “Build Number” section seven times. This will unlock the developer menu, allowing you to access a whole number of nerdy features.

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16) Taste the next generation with ART runtime

Android uses Dalvik runtime by default, which is described as a “just in time” compiler. That means it does all of the application processing as and when it’s required. Moving forward, Google is looking to use ART runtime, which is a “ahead of time” compiler. ART is actually featured in Android 4.4 already, but it’s not enabled by default – you’ll need to enter the Developer menu to switch it on.

Your handset will reboot and it will take a short time to recompile your apps – you may even notice some stability issues – but on the whole, ART should be quicker and friendly on your battery. As more apps are optimised to use ART, you’ll find it more beneficial to use.

15) Use Wi-Fi to determine your location to save battery

Previously with Android, determining your location was based almost solely on GPS, which consumes a fair amount of battery life. Android 4.4 now comes with three modes for this functionality.

High accuracy uses GPS, Wi-Fi and mobile network signal to get a fix on where you are, while Device Only relies totally on GPS. In the middle there is Battery Saving mode, which abandons GPS and uses Wi-Fi and your mobile network – amazingly, this is still pretty precise, and doesn’t drink as much juice. Go to Settings > Location > Mode to pick the one that suits you.

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14) Keep track of your movements each day

Another cool Android 4.4 feature is the power to track the steps you take each day, as well as differentiate between walking, running, cycling and climbing. This ability hasn’t been leveraged as much as you might expect, and only a few apps make use of it right now.

One is the highly polished Moves app from ProtoGeo, which tracks your movements and gives you data on how many steps you’ve taken, as well as a visual “storyline” of your daily life.

13) Exit immersive mode

One of the new features of Android 4.4 is the “immersive” mode, which basically removes all of the on-screen interface to give you an unimpeded view on your current application. Apps that support immersive mode should automatically remove UI elements, but if you want to get them back, simply swipe down from the top of the display – the notifications bar will magically re-appear.

12) Install an alternative SMS client

Hangouts replaces the default SMS client in Android 4.4, and while it does the job perfectly well – integrating instant messaging and text chats – some people will no doubt long for the old way of doing things.

Thankfully, it’s possible to specify a different app for SMS messages. Find one that you like on the Google Play market, install it and then go to the Settings menu within Hangouts. Tap SMS and then SMS Enabled, and you’ll be able to select the app you want to use.
Android 4.4 tips

11) Record your phone’s screen

Taking a screenshot in Android used to be like pulling teeth – you had to connect your phone to your PC in order to grab any kind of on-screen image. Since Android 4.0, we’ve had the trusty “Volume down and Power button” combo, but 4.4 goes to the next level – it features the ability to record video from your screen as well.

As it is primarily aimed at developers who want to add video to their app listings, taking advantage of this native feature is quite tricky – you’ll need to follow these incredibly detailed instructions – but it’s a smart bonus nonetheless.

10) Remotely wipe your phone if you lose it

Losing your phone is a painful experience – especially if it provides your daily Flappy Bird fix – but the amount of data contained on our handsets means that having it fall into the wrong hands can have all kinds of negative ramifications.

Google has your back, however, and provides the means to remotely locate and wipe your phone should it go walkabout. You’ll need to enable it from the device before you lose it, though – go to the Google Settings application in your app drawer and select Android Device Manager, then turn on “Remotely Locate This Device” and “Allow Remote Lock And Factory Reset”.

The latter option also allows you to remotely change the lockscreen password, should you be too scared to wipe the entire device. In the event of your phone going missing, visit the Android Device Manager page online and you can choose to ring (even if the phone is set to silent), lock or wipe the phone.

9) Get the stock Google UI on your non-Nexus handset

Don’t have a Nexus device but crave that uncluttered stock experience? Fear not, you don’t have to rush out and invest in a brand new blower – you can get the same result by installing KK Launcher from the Google Play market.

Alternatively, you can download the APK file of the Google Experience interface yourself. It’s available from Android Police. Before you install, make sure third-party apps are switched on in the Settings menu. Android blocks third-party installs as standard.

8) Switch launchers quickly

One of Android’s big advantages over its rivals is the ability to change your launcher, which essentially means you can drastically alter the way your homescreen looks and behaves.

Previously, switching between launchers was something of a pain, but Google has now added a quick and easy toggle in the settings menu – so now there’s no excuse not to try the many amazing launcher alternatives available on the Google Play market.

When you have more than one launcher installed on your phone, the Settings menu will show a new “Home” option – tapping this will bring up all of the available launchers on your device, allowing you to toggle between them quickly and easily.

7) Enable lock screen widgets

Lockscreen widgets are one of Android’s more recent innovations, but in Android 4.4 they’re not enabled by default. To turn them on, you’ll need to drop into Settings > Security and tick the “Enable Widgets” box. To add widgets, simply swipe from left to right on your lockscreen and tap the “plus” icon. You can choose from Gmail, Calendar and Google Keep, amongst other things.

6) Print wirelessly

Regardless of how much we now rely on paperless documents, there comes a time in everyone’s life when a digitally signed PDF just isn’t enough and a hard copy is required.

Android 4.4 thankfully has wireless printing baked-in, with HP’s Cloud Printing application doing the heavy lifting. You’ll need a compatible printer of course, and only certain apps support the feature at present, but it’s unquestionably quite handy to be able to send a document through the air and transform it into a physical sheet of paper with nothing but your phone.

5) Gain an easy speed boost by disabling animations

The animations that occur as you move between applications and screens might look pretty, but they can slow you down – especially as they essentially force you to wait a short period before moving to another page or loading an application.

Thankfully, it’s possible to reduce the time they run for or disable them completely, both of which will make your handset feel faster. Go to Settings > Developer Options and scroll down to the Drawing section. Find the options which refer to animation scale (Window, Transition and Animator) and toggle them all to “Animation Off”. Your UI might not be as pretty in motion, but it will be so fast you may even struggle to keep up.
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4) Keep an eye on your data usage

Most carriers enforce data allowance limits these days, which means media-hungry mobile owners with their fingers in all kinds of cloud storage pies are at risk of running over and incurring prohibitive fees.

Thank goodness then for Android’s built-in data usage monitor, which tells you exactly how much you’ve been gobbling up via your mobile network. You can set warnings for when you’re close to your limit, or have a ceiling that disables data traffic the moment it is reached. You can even specify a day in each month where your allowance renews and reset the data counter to zero accordingly.

3) Link up your cloud storage accounts with Android’s Storage Access Framework

Storage Access Framework is basically a grander way of saying all of your data can be accessed from one convenient menu. When you’re prompted to locate files you’ll notice that a side-menu has all of your connected cloud storage accounts – such as Drive, Dropbox and Box – listed, so you can easily pull content from these sources without having to open multiple applications. It’s one of Android 4.4’s most potent features, yet it has received very little attention.

2) Dismiss an alarm before it bothers you

There are few social situations more awkward that an alarm that you no longer need sounding during a meeting or when you’re trying to blend in on public transport. Only appearing in public naked comes close, in our opinion. You may not think it’s quite that extreme, but you’ll still be thankful of Android 4.4’s advance alarm notification system.

An hour before the alarm is due to fire, you’ll get a pop-up notification on your screen which allows you to dismiss it before it has chance to sound and make everyone on the bus look at you.

1) Get under the hood with Process Stats

Smartphones are very much like computers in your pocket, and sometimes it’s nice to get super-detailed in order to get a better understanding of how things are ticking over. In Android 4.4, Google has added a Process Stats section to the Developer Menu, which contains all kinds of information about which apps are running, what processing they’re using and how long they’ve been running since you booted up the phone. It’s gloriously geeky, and ideal for those who want to fine-tune their handset’s performance.

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11. Load Flash content on demand


Loading plug-ins on demand keeps your phone from automatically downloading Flash content.

One of the great things about having an Android phone is that you can view Flash content, including videos, that the iPhone can’t render (at least, not right in the browser). But if all that rich web content is slowing down your browsing – or you’re bumping against the limit on a metered data plan – you might not want to load all the Flash content on a page automatically. No problem.

On the Settings page of the stock Android browser, tap “Advanced.” On the next page, change “Enable plug-ins” from “Always” to “On demand” and restart the browser. Now when you get to a Flash video on a page, you’ll see an arrow icon where the content would be. Tap it to load that bit of Flash. Simple as that.

 

10. Expand and contract notifications (Jelly Bean)


Android 4.1 Jelly Bean makes it easy to handle notifications without having to launch lots of different apps. Here, the notification shade shows a preview of a recently taken screenshot, and gives us the option to share it via email, text, or social networking.

Android 4.1/4.2 “Jelly Bean” gives you a good amount of control over your notifications — and in a lot of cases, you can deal with them without ever having to switch over to the appropriate app. If you’ve missed a call, you can return the call or respond with a text message, right from the notification “shade.” If you’ve got a new email, you can read the first few lines of it without launching the mail app (just slide two fingers outward to expand). You can even access your settings straight from the shade — just tap those sliders up on the top of the window.

 

9. Respond to a call with a text message


If an incoming call is important but you can’t pick up right away, you can respond with a text instead of ignoring it outright.

Sometimes, important calls come at inopportune times, like when you’re in a meeting or deep in face-to-face conversation. What do you do when you can’t pick up, but don’t want to blow the caller off? Android has you covered.

If you have a device running Gingerbread, Ice Cream Sandwich, or Jelly Bean, the “incoming call” screen will give you three response options: pick up, ignore, or “ignore with text.” The way to select that option varies from phone to phone (on most Samsung phones, you slide the call icon up rather than left or right), but the result is a list of canned text messages like “Can’t talk now. Call me back in five minutes?” You can even include custom messages on this list to send to your caller, presumably averting uncomfortable “Why didn’t you pick up your phone?” discussions later on.

If you’re running Froyo, check out the free “Incoming Call Plus (beta)” app. It’ll give you the same feature, although you’ll have to put up with a different-looking “Incoming Call” screen.

 

8. Switch between 3G and 4G networks


You can force your 4G phone to connect to 3G networks only, to conserve battery or to avoid chewing through a data limit.

By now, most Android phones have a 4G antenna — but lots of 4G networks are spotty, and sucking down data at that speed can drain your battery or put you over your monthly data allowance pretty quickly. What’s to be done? The easiest fix is to manually select between 3G and 4G networks — for example, maybe you only want to turn on 4G when you’re in an area that has good coverage, or maybe you want to force your phone onto 3G to avoid draining your battery. Look for the “Mobile networks” subsection of the Settings screen, then check “Network Mode.” You can set it to CDMA only (3G), or LTE/CDMA (3G and 4G). This setting might vary depending on where you’re living or what network you’re on.

7. Google Voice integration


With careful setup, Google Voice can replace regular texting on your phone. Here’s the dialog box that allows Voice to capture incoming text messages.

One of the best things about Android is its tight integration with the Google Apps suite. The Gmail client, for example, is leaps and bounds ahead of its iOS counterpart, giving you the ability to tag, filter, switch accounts, and do just about everything you can do on the desktop version. Maybe the most versatile member of the Google Apps squad, though, is Google Voice.

Voice gives you a new phone number (or you can carry over your existing mobile number) that is tied to your Google account. You can do all sorts of nifty things with this number, like setting different voicemail greetings for different callers, forwarding the number to a separate line (or two), and having voicemails automatically transcribed to text so you can read them like regular messages. If you’re moving to a new city, you might also consider signing up for a Google Voice number with a local area code – that way you can hang on to your original number, but also get the benefits of local calling rates.

With the proper setup, you can also use Google Voice to get free texts – even if your phone plan doesn’t include texting. Your Google Voice number can both send and receive texts for free, and your Android phone will give you the option to use that Voice number as the default. Alternatively, you can tell it to forward texts as emails (you’ll be able to respond to incoming texts by email, as well). As long as you keep the data portion of your phone plan, you can pretty safely drop the messaging part.