Friday, October 14, 2011

Android Tips

Mostly anyone who knows me even a little bit knows I'm a big Android fan. But I understand that a lot of people have some very bad impressions of Android based on either past experiences or just plain not knowing how to really use Android.

One of the things that I do like about Android is the fact that it's a OS that we have really seen evolve. I joined the Android bandwagon when it was still in version 1.6 and each new version I always see something new and exciting. However, I do understand that someone who used a Android 1.6 phone at some point, may think Android is simply the worse thing ever. I honestly feel that if these people would try out one of the newer phones they would be very surprised.

The other big reason I believe people have issues with Android is the lack of knowledge on how to use it. So here are some tips.

Task Killers: All these apps that kill tasks you are not using in order to free up more memory for the phone. These are horrible things to use. Android DID have the need at one point to use them, however Android does manage all of it's memory by itself. When you use a task killer you are running the risk of killing very important system task. This of course results in a phone that doesn't work very well.

Live Wallpapers: They are nice aren't they? But they can also be very bad for your phone. Don't get me wrong, there is a lot of very good very well made live wallpapers out there that wont bog down your system and steal it's battery power. However I would say the vast majority of the ones you find out there are very poorly made and even though they look great, they are most probably killing your phone. Personally I prefer to either stay away or use one of the google provided ones.

Widgets: Widgets are one of the main things I like the most on my Android phone. I love having all this information right there when I turn on my phone. But with widgets, you also need to be careful. It's more of a "Just because you can do it doesn't mean you should" rule. Having a widget there displaying statuses from your Google + account is most probably ok. But if you have one widget showing Google + statuses and another one with Facebook statuses and another one with your Twitter and another one with your emails and so on, then you are killing your phone. Can the phone handle it? Sure it can, but it will use up a lot more data trying to keep all these things updated and it will also use a lot more battery power. Too many people complain about battery power and then you look at their phones and they have a ton of widgets there.

Accounts: Be it a Google + account or an Email account, every time you add more accounts to Android it is more things that it assumes it needs to sync up for you. You need to go into the settings and tell it not to automatically sync whichever you don't really need it to automatically sync up. This is once again for the same reason as the Widgets, more emails that it has to download = more data and more battery used. Another thing to keep in mind is how often these accounts are set up to sync up. You have to ask yourself, do you really need to know what your friends posted every 15 minutes? or would you be ok knowing once every hour? Or maybe once every 2 or 4 or 6 hours. Or maybe you could just have it set up to manually check only when you feel like checking.

Screen Brightness: This is not really an Android thing, more of an overall smartphone thing. But with widgets Android does make it super easy to change the brightness of your screen. So I strongly recommend downloading a brightness selection widget and keeping your brightness at a rather low setting unless you really need it to be higher. This will go a long way in saving battery power. Personally I use a widget called "Brightness Level", it's very good and free if I remember correctly.

3G is not so bad: Most of us in the Android world live in a 4G world. And we LOVE our 4G speeds. However, keep in mind that if you are going to be away from a desk most of the day and you don't think you'll be doing any heavy web surfing, then switching your phone to 3G mode might be a good idea. 4G is fast, but it also requires a lot more battery juice than 3G.

So basically LEARN how your phone works and how you can make it work better. Unlike Apple and iOS, Google doesn't assume it's users are idiots that will simply mess up their phones if allowed to do certain things. Google gives you the option of doing a ton of different things to your phones, but obviously if you do them all then you will have problems. Apple doesn't really want to hear people complaining so they just limit the hell out of iOS. Apple also doesn't like bad marketing. So yes, their phones usually work better because they don't have a whole lot of anything to process. And Apple LOVES to have people talk about how their phone just works.

Now I'm not going to bash the iPhone. The iPhone 4 is an amazing phone and I'm sure the iPhone 4S will be as well. Android is certainly not for everyone. Plenty of people out there need something like the iPhone, simple and easy to use without too many bells and whistles. But when I see a young smart person follow apple simply because they believe all the hype, that's just sad in my opinion.


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