How to Make The Most of Your Droid

I am talking about your Android phone/gadget, possibly a Huawei Ideos U8150 that you are using to read this post. A lot of people complain about the battery life of the phone, and the data-consuming nature of the device that can make it costly.

Android is Cool, no?

Saving Power and Data

  • Turn off background data: Go to settings–>Accounts and Sync–> and uncheck Background data. This saves your battery life and ensures no unnecessary updates will take place. However, to view your email if you are using the native gmail app, you have to refresh to synch mail.

    For someone like me with over 20 apps that always want to update themselves or send me notifications, background data is always turned off otherwise my phone will be buzzing constantly. Gtalk, market updates, facebook chat, Google+ notifications, foursquare pings etc

  • Turn off 3G Networks/Turn Off Data Mode: Go to Settings–>Wireless and Network–>Mobile Networks–>Uncheck Use Packet Data.

    You can turn off data mode so that even those apps that use the internet even with background data off will not do so. Or you will not accidentally download info, or when using an app that’s offline like a game, no Google Ads will appear.

    You can also set the phone to use 2G networks, which use less power.

    For the Galaxy S II, turning on/off data network mode can be done by long-pressing the power button, then selecting the activate/deactivate data network option.

Useful Apps
You have to have a gmail account to be able to log into the Android market. From here, the sky is the limit as to the number of useful, entertaining, useless but entertaining, cool but useless, uncool and uselful, informative apps etc. You can download anything.

Because of the amorphous nature of the Android market, some apps maybe of wanting quality, and some may be malware. Check out the publisher before installing an app.

Some apps come installed in the phone, others you have to download/buy. I find Google maps very useful. If your Droid has a flash camera, download flashlight, an app that lets you use the flash as a torch.

SoundHound is another cool app which identifies songs playing, searches for them on YouTube, fetches the lyrics and other information. You can even sing to it!

Other apps I have include: WhatsApp (awesome for chatting/texting), Facebook for Android, Twitter for Android, Foursquare For Android, Google+, Tumblr, linkedIn, QQ Player (for all your videos, plays most formats including avi), Angry Birds, Dictionary, Racing Moto, Bible, Google Sky Map, My Days (for ladies only), Tweetdeck, Skype, Talking Tom, Opera Mini for Android, Dolphin Browser, Workout Trainer, Wikipedia, Bartender, AroundMe, SDA Sabbath School, Zword, Matatu, Documents to Go, WordPress for Android, Pixlr-o-matic, WeAreOpen, Mocality, Racing Moto (an awesome game)… etc

Let me know in comments which cool apps you have/use. I’ll download them.

Upgrading the OS

You can upgrade your OS manually or automatically. To do it manually, you have to root your droid and go through some process I don’t want to try. Anyway I will get someone who has done it to do a guest post.

To upgrade your OS automatically. Go to Settings–>About Phone–>Software Update–>Check for Update. If there is an update for your phone OS you can then download it.

Make sure you back up any data saved before you try any upgrade.

Tethering

All Android phones are capable of providing internet to like up to 8 devices around them. So you don’t need a modem if you have a droid.

You can tether wirelessly, providing a wifi hotspot where 8 devices can connect to. You can also tether via USB where only the comp can use the internet on your phone and it drains less power from your battery than wireless tethering. Make sure you put a password for your wireless hotspot, lest someone snoops on your connection!

To tether go to Settings–>Wireless and Network–>Tethering and Portable Hotspot–> Choose your option whether USB or Portable Hotspot.

Once you have done this, go to Your computer and you can connect and start surfing. Make sure you have bought sufficient data bundles from Safaricom (actually this is the only internet I use on my phone)

In Summary

The cool people use Android
There is so much you can do with your Droid (doesn’t matter whether low-end or high-end), like editing photos/videos, editing/viewing office documents (Excel, Word, Powerpoint etc), please feel to explore your phone and make the most of it.

The native Android browser is one of the best mobile browsers around and you can even blog on it, though the screen size is a problem. Try out various keyboards and pick one you are comfortable with.

P.S.

As you have realized, I never end a post without a P.S.! Anyway, do not forget to vote for my video here. Please do me this favour, the registration process is a short one.