Google’s Android operating environment for smart phones has added competitive innovation in ways that the iPhone alone could not.
But its flexibility demands tweaking. Whether we own a Droid, HTC or R2-D2, for the most efficient use, you need to customize a few things to your preferences.
Note: Not all suggestions work on all Android versions or phones.
1. Back Up Your Data
PC, laptop, tablet, TV, game box . . . any device that stores important information or just data that would be a hassle to duplicate, should be backed up. Your Android phone is no different. Using an app such as MyBackup, you can save your apps, contacts, call logs, texts and settings. You can save them to your SD Card or the secure MyBackup server. Another app, SMS Backup, periodically saves your text messages to your Gmail account.
2. Use Widgets
Android 2.2 includes more home screen space. One of the ways I take advantage of this space is by adding widgets. One of my favorites is CalWidget, which lists my appointments by date and time for up to a month ahead.
To find widgets, search the Android Market or simply Google it: Android Widgets. In addition to many music widgets (e.g., Pandora), others you may find interesting include Sticky Memo, Pure Grid Calendar, Picture Dial, FlightView and Scoreboard.
To add a widget, hold your finger on any open space, then select Widgets from the pop-up menu.
3. Use Shortcuts
Shortcuts are set up the same way as widgets, except you select Add Shortcut from the menu. Shortcuts are handy for things like one-touch dialing. For example, you might flick the home screen left or right and put your most called people there.
To add a person, after selecting Shortcut from the menu, touch Direct dial and pick the person from the contact list. One-touch texting can be set up by selecting Direct Message instead.
Another common shortcut is a frequently visited web page. Just long-press on any site in your Bookmarks and then select Add Shortcut.