- MAYCNN:currently updated every ~1 month; version ID is the ID of last entry in the post history.
- M87XAJ:fully outlined with the most essential and/or timely details first and/or in-bold. So to skim, just read in order the top-level points and, when a match, its bold points.
- M33YGV:title: CONSTRUCTING: Android user syllabus
- MAZBWQ:subsections: WHAT & WHY, WHEN, WHERE, COST, WHO’S PARTICIPATING, WHAT TO DO, ADDITIONAL DETAILS, POST TODO, CREATORS, ADDITIONAL DETAILS FOR ORGANIZERS/DEVELOPERS, FOOTNOTES, POST HISTORY.
One of the best introductions to Android that we have found is contained in wikiHow.com’s “How to Use an Android Tablet.” The Seven Steps below have been modified from this source. On certain steps, links will take you to wikiHow.com for more details.
Be aware that learning to use Android is an ongoing process. You’ll be using your device as best you can from the very beginning and, if you become an Android addict like the rest of us, you’ll never stop learning about new apps and new techniques . At first, you may miss out on things you’ll find about later. You may also do things the hard way because you don’t yet know the easy way. But keep at it! You won’t permanently damage your device by experimenting. In fact, that’s the only real way to learn.
- Get past the screen lock, familiarize yourself with the touchscreen, and find out what version of Android your device is running on.
GETTING ACCESS: You can access your Android device from the initial screen lock by pushing an entry icon, usually pushing up or to the right. Later you will learn how to create a keyboard or graphic pattern password to provide security in accessing your device.
TOUCHSCREEN: According to Wikipedia, “A touchscreen is an electronic visual display that the user can control through simple or multi-touch gestures by touching the screen with one or more fingers.… The user can…control (what) is displayed (for example by zooming the text size)…(and can) interact directly with what is displayed, rather than using a mouse, touchpad, or any other intermediate device….”
How does a touchscreen work and what are its limitations? Again, Wikipedia explains the capacitative touchscreen found on most phones and tablet
CAPACITATIVE TOUCHSCREEN: “Acapacitive touchscreen panel consists of an insulator such as glass, coated with a transparent conductor such as indium tin oxide (ITO). As the human body is also an electrical conductor, touching the surface of the screen results in a distortion of the screen’s electrostatic field, measurable as a change in capacitance. Different technologies may be used to determine the location of the touch. The location is then sent to the controller for processing.
“Unlike a resistive touchscreen, one cannot use a capacitive touchscreen through most types of electrically insulating material, such as gloves. This disadvantage especially affects usability in consumer electronics, such as touch tablet PCs and capacitive smartphones in cold weather. It can be overcome with a special capacitive stylus, or a special-application glove with an embroidered patch of conductive thread passing through it and contacting the user’s fingertip.”
But what IS Android?
OPERATING SYSTEM: Android is a free, Linux-based, open-source operating system (OS) initially designed for mobile, touchscreen devices and first developed by Android, Inc., which Google backed financially and bought in 2005. Since Android Beta was released on November 5, 2007, followed on September 28, 2008 by Android 1.0, the first commercial version, several versions have been released, code-named – who knows why? – for sweet foods such as Donut, Eclair, and the widely-distributed Gingerbread (2.3 and higher), Today (early 2013) most Android smartphones and tablets are sold with Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0 and higher) or Jelly Bean (Android 4.1 and higher or 4.2 and highter). While Android’s basic operating structure remains similar, details vary by version, with more functionality being added over time
FIND YOUR VERSION: Your device’s Android version will be listed in the About Phone section of the Settings panel, often accessed from a pull-down screen at the top or a pop-up panel at the lower right. Remember how you found it because you’ll be accessing Settiings quite a lot..
- Understand the functionality of the three-basic touch-capacitive keys.
These basic control keys are used for controlling applications and other basic commands:
- HOME: The home button (house icon): This is used to jump to the home screen of your Android device. If pressed in between another activity (game, or application), the OS puts the activity in the background. Using this button will, usually, not shut down any application or game; instead, it will run in the background.
- BACK: The back button (arrow icon): This is used to go to the previous page or activity.
- MULTI-TASKING: Multi-tasking button (multi-screen icon): Android tablets running Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0) and higher will have a multi-tasking button. Tapping this button will give a list of all applications running in the background. Swapping a running application to the left or right (in the multi-task screen) will close the application. This is particularly useful to clear RAM and speed up the device.
- SETTINGS: Older Android tablets may have an options (or settings) button (represented by three parallel horizontal lines). This button gives the user access to additional options for particular apps. This button is not found on devices running Ice Cream Sandwich or Jelly Bean out of the box.
- SEARCH: Some devices may have a search button, very handy – but if yours doesn’t, a search app will be on your device and you can create an icon for it on your home screen, equally handy.
GOOGLE ACCOUNT: Once you are used to the interface, you’ll have to set up your Android device. While the OS (operating system) is very easy to use, you’ll need a Google account to download apps. The link above guides you in setting up a Google account, in case you don’t already have one, It also points out that a smartphone or tablet will take the place of many personal tools, not only bringing your email to you day and night, but providing such essentials as the weather, the time, and GPS (global positioning service) – plus your contact list and calendar synchronized with your computer and any other mobile devices you own.
ACTIVATING YOUR PHONE, USING WI-FI: If your device is a phone, you will, of course, need to activate it with your service provider (Verizon, Sprint, etc.), which will proide not only phone service but instant data transfer (the amount and speed being based on your provider’s plan).However, if you have a tablet or an unactivated phone, you can immediately access the world with your device wherever you have wi-fi available. And even with an activated phone, you will continue to use wi-fi when available to minimize chargeable data use.
CHECK THESE INTRODUCTORY SOURCES: Unfortunately, the wikiHow.com link does not do a good job of familiarizing you with other introductory aspects of Android. For that, I would recommend Gozmodo.com’s “How to Use Android” and several YouTube videos that allow you to visualize in a way that plain text cannot. “Android – A Beginners Guide (Part I)” will (if you have patience for an almost 24-minute video) give you a good overview covering three different Android smartphones. A shorter (8:21) YouTube offering, “Android Tutorial, Walkthrough, Guide for Tablets. (3.0, 4.0 Icecream Sandwhich) (sic)” gives a visual overview on an Ice Cream Sandwich tablet like mine (Acer Iconia).
YOUR FIVE SCREENS: The main thing you need to learn now is that Android provides you with five screens. Home is at the center with two additional screens to the right and two to the left. Here you will set up icons representing the apps and widgets (small apps with specific functionality) that you will use to make your device uniquely yours, helping you accomplish tasks and bringing you information on literally thousands of subjects.
YOUR LIST OF APPS AND WIDGETS: A full list of all the apps and widgets on your device can be accessed through an icon made up of tiny squares, found on all screens, often at the bottom or upper right. From the full list of apps and widgets, you will pull the icons for the desired tools down to the screens where you want to put them.
REMOVING AN ICON VS. UNINSTALLING AN APP OR WIDGET: You can remove an icon from the screen by touching to highlight it and dragging it to the trash (which will be highlighted to show you where to go). This does not, however, remove the app or widget from your device. It just takes it off the screen, where you have easy access. Under Manage my Apps in Settings, you will learn later how to remove (uninstall) an app or widget from your device.
STORAGE ISSUES, EXTERNAL MICRO SD CARD: Since space on all devices is limited, you may find yourself picking and choosing among applications. However, this brings up a new topic – Storage. Most devices accept an external micro SD card where you will store photos, music, videos, and other files. It’s also possible to move some apps to the external card to save space on your device. You can add and remove files on your external card, either by connecting your device to your computer or by removing the card from your device, inserting it in an SD card adapter, and putting that into your computer. In Ice Cream Sandwich, Android will show two storage devices — one separating the apps and operating system and storage area on the device itself and one on the external card. Confusing? Yes, but you’ll get used to it.
OK, now you’re beginning to feel comfortable with your Android device and you’re beginning to discover what it can do.
A WHOLE NEW WORLD: This can range from predicting the weather – to playing games, games, games – to recording voice notes – to taking, editing, and sharing photos and video clips – to keeping up with Facebook and Twitter – to listening to music (streaming from Pandora and Rdio or loaded on your device) – to watching movies (streaming from Netflix and YouTube or loaded on your device) – to reading compass points and measuring decibel levels – to learning how far you walked today – to receiving map directions as you drive – to finding and sharing recipes – to keeping up on sports scores — and much, much more! Whew!!
Not to mention that all the news of the world is now streaming into your device from former print journalists and new citizen journalists and bloggers who are reinventing their profession before our very eyes.
PRE-LOADED APPS VS. DOWNLOADING APPS: The key to this smartphone/tablet revolution, changing the way we do almost everything these days, is the hundreds of thousands of applications now available. (To quote Apple, “There’s an app for that.”) Your device will come already loaded with several applications, some of which are rightfully called “bloatware” and which you may hate and ignore (since you won’t be able to remove them). But one you will not ignore is the app for Google Playstore, your main source of apps for your device. Note that the Playstore also sells books, videos, and music, so be sure to go to the Apps section. Many apps are free or very inexpensive. And the good news is that once you buy an app, Google remembers, so you’ll be allowed to download it to future devices at no extra charge.
PLAYSTORE ISN’T THE ONLY APP SOURCE: Unlike the iPhone/iPad’s Apple App Store, Google Playstore is not the only source of Android apps. In fact, some very cheap tablets (I bought and returned two before biting the bullet and purchasing a good one) don’t even come with Google Playstore loaded (the manufacturer probably refused to pay Google’s fees). The next-largest source is Amazon Appstore for Android, whose app you can download through the web browser pre-installed on your device – but which will not load until you change your settings to accept apps from “an unknown source.” (Change it back later.) If you want to search further for Amazon apps, here’s a link to some lesser-known sources such as GetJar and AppBrain.
APP SAFETY AND FUNCTIONALITY: Application developers often complain about the strict requirements imposed by Apple, but for users, they serve a purpose, ensuring the safety and functionality of the apps you download. Google tries to ensure safety and functionality, too, of course, and user comments on each app (plus the number of copies already distributed) are helpful in guiding your choices.
- Customize your Android.
Google’s Android OS gives you the power to customize your device in many ways. The links below are recommended by wikiHow.com.
- SMART ACTIONS: Make custom Android smart actions. Setting up smart actions will carry out specific activities when specific conditions are met. Smart actions can be customized to suit your needs. Note: Smart actions may not be available on all devices. However, you can download similar apps from the Google Playstore.
- SAVING YOUR BATTERY: Adjust Screen Timeout. The screen timeout time can be a drain on the battery, especially if it is too long. Setting up a screen timeout is the one of the best ways to save power while your phone is on, and battery life is something you will be giving a lot of thought to.
- CREATING YOUR OWN LOOK: Creating your own wallpapers, widgets, etc., further customizes your device.
Speeding up your device can be done in a number of ways:
- YOUR FIRMWARE: Update your version/ firmware. Device manufacturers roll out updates occasionally to fix bugs, reduce lags, and improve performance. Be on the look out for updates for your device.
- UPDATE APPS: App developers are constantly updating their products. Most updates install automatically, but, if not, download and install updates to keep your apps running smoothly and compatibly.
- TASK-KILLERS: Download a task-killer application. Some devices come with an in-built task manager while most don’t. Task manager will allow you to close the apps that are running in the background (and using up RAM).
- CUT DOWN ON WIDGETS: Remove unneeded widgets from your screens. Widgets are useful to quickly access important apps or get information. However, unneeded widgets use up a lot of processing power and will slow down your device.
- Protect your device and back-up your data and your app/widget arrangements
VIRUS PROTECTION: Get an app for virus protection. Some of these apps also help you disable and/or locate your device if it’s lost or stolen. Here’s a detailed analysis of why your Android device needs protection and which free apps are recommended. I’ve had good luck with Lookout, a popular free app which also provides back-up functionality.
PRESERVE YOUR DATA: Back up your data to your computer or an external storage. You can also try backing up on the Google Cloud, now known as Google Drive, or other other cloud storage services. Many apps will help you perform this important task. Here are some recommendations.
REMEMBER WHAT’S ON YOUR DEVICE: To preserve a list of the apps and widgets you have collected — as well as the arrangement of app and widget icons you have so carefully assembled on your five screens — taking screenshots of the five screens as you have arranged them, as well as of your app/widget list will provide a permanent record. The screenshots will be saved on your external SD card in your photo gallery – and should be backed up along with the rest of your data.
TAKE SCREENSHOTS: With Ice Cream Sandwich, you can take a screenshot by pressing the volume and power keys at the same time (volume down with some devices, up with others) This is tricky to get the hang of, but it does work. Screenshot apps are also available.
-end of WHAT & WHY
-end of WHEN
- MKDTTX:Designed specifically for All-level at-your-own-pace (in-person) training but could be used elsewhere.
- MKDU53:Initially developed for OCAndroid Main Meetups starting 2013.03.28Thu per point MKC0VB & MKCCWZ.
-end of WHERE
-end of COST
- MKDU9U:See initial use.
- MKDUA3:Potentially more.
-end of WHO’S PARTICIPATING?
-end of WHAT TO DO
-end of FUTURE PLANS
- M0T9VV: Mostly based on OCAndroid‘s Android-specific meetings from the 1st one (2010.10~) to present (2012.03.14): approximately 40 meetings.
-end of ADDITIONAL DETAILS
- MKDUB9:Lucy moves to this post the content of her OpenOffice Writer doc.
- MKCHZL: see the end of the post history for status.
-end of POST TODO
MKDUDS: DestinyArchitect for overall formatting.
-end of CREATORS
-end of FOOTNOTES
- MKDTWT:Yesterday OCAndroid head Leader Destiny suggested to user Leader Lucy she make this & she agreed.
- MKDU07:He originally suggested Google Drive storage so she made it as a OpenOffice Writer doc, so she made that.
- MKDU0T:then it occurred to them a JotHere post would be better.
- MKDTIY: I Destiny now created this post by Copy to new draft (of http://1.JotHere.com/967#M0T2P6 latest MKCSGA) then gave it fresh IDs & content.
- MKDUFL:Destiny added the overall subject including title q(CONSTRUCTING: Android user syllabus) and WHERE content; added categories “syllabus MKDUQ3”, “Meetup.com/OCAndroid Main Meetup M5FFB6”, “Android OS LSIW3D”, “user MKDUZQ”, 1st draft pst2013.03.28Thu1122.
- MKDYXJ: I Lucy on MKDZ11(Getting Started on Your Android Device).odt, turn on “Record Changes” and “Versioning” and “Save a version on each close”, and save a version, then move the content to new Getting Started content unabridged; save draft 2; pst2013.03.28Thu1305.
- MKE9IT: Lucy proofread and fixed formatting.
-end of POST HISTORY