Your guide to Android Applications

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Your guide to Android Applications

  1. 1. Your guide to Android Applications Make the most of your HTC MagicTM
  2. 2. Your guide to Android Apps What is Android? Google Android is quite simply revolutionary, and that’s saying something in a world where mobile phones now pack in every last feature from built-in cameras, MP3 players and web browsers to the not-so-revolutionary ability to make and receive calls from just about anywhere. Android liberates your handset from a glitzy, but fixed device into something much more liquid, a tool that can be moulded to your requirements rather than the other way round. Navigate your Android-powered phone Part of Android’s success is down to the fact it turns your mobile into a handheld computer, with its own open-source operating system, large-screen display and support for an infinite number and variety of plug-ins known as Apps. The touch-screen enables you to navigate your phone’s features quickly and easily, and this user interface is in a constant state of development, resulting in an ever- improving experience for the end user. The touch-screen keyboard is a headline feature for those with keyboard-less handsets - it pops up whenever you tap inside a box or form, and provides tactile feedback in the form of vibrations and sound to give you a more realistic typing experience. Auto-correct features help minimise spelling mistakes, while you can even bypass the keyboard altogether when searching by utilising its new Search by Voice feature. You can use your handset in landscape or portrait mode - as you flip the screen, Android adjusts to your new position, enabling you to take advantage of whichever aspect ratio suits you best for that particular task. Get started quickly Android contains everything you need to get started quickly: a web browser, email tool, contacts manager, music player, and camera and camcorder utilities. Your Android-powered handset comes with a SD card slot, enabling you to quickly and easily expand its storage capabilities, enabling you to use your mobile phone as a camera and portable video recorder. 1
  3. 3. Your guide to Android Apps Your “home page”, the screen that appears when you first power up your handset, can be customised as you see fit, enabling you to place shortcuts to favourite apps, widgets and web sites among other things. Exploit the power of the web Android is more than simply a tool for accessing the internet on the move - it takes full advantage of the technologies built into your handset to deliver features and functionality your laptop or PC can’t deliver. Take the handset’s built-in video recorder: in the space of minutes you can have shot your video, saved it and then shared it via email, SMS or by uploading it to YouTube - all without having to power up your PC. Thanks to your handset’s built-in GPS receiver, you’ll never worry about getting lost again. This works in conjunction with your internet connection and the Maps app to provide you with access to Google’s Maps, all centred on your current location. Need more visual clues about where you are? Switch to Street View for a bird’s eye view of your surroundings, helping you orient yourself easily. If your handset has a built-in compass, you can even use this in conjunction with Maps, enabling you to rotate the view shown simply by moving your phone in the appropriate direction you wish to look. You can even purchase an App that turns your phone into a sat- nav device, enabling you to cut back on the number of gadgets cluttering up your home - and at £26, CoPilot Live works out cheaper than a dedicated sat-nav device. An App for every occasion Part of Android’s secret is its open-source background, which encourages anyone and everyone to develop Apps, which plug into your phone and provide extra functionality. There are thousands available - some paid-for, others completely free - and you can browse them all from your handset. Manage your fitness and diet, play games, get the latest footy scores, keep in touch with Twitter - it’s all here, and more Apps are appearing all the time. The best Apps take advantage of your phone’s extra features to offer unique 2
  4. 4. Your guide to Android Apps services you couldn’t get elsewhere. For example, Qype Radar provides you with thousands of reviews of hotels, attractions, restaurants and more based on your current location, while ScanTell enables you to get more information (and compare prices online) about any CD, DVD, book or video game simply by snapping its cover or barcode with your handset’s camera. Tap into Google Android takes full advantage of its links with Google to take full advantage of its search capabilities. The Maps app is one example of this, tapping into Google Maps, but plans are afoot to enable you to tap into other Google services too, including full access to Google Docs, enabling you to view and edit your documents directly from your Android-powered handset. In the meantime, the enthusiast community has moved to plug the temporary gap: GDocs is a free App that enables you to edit and synchronize files with your Google Docs account, albeit without support for formatting. The future The beauty of Android is that it’s so customisable and extendable that the sky literally is the limit. A recent update introduced the on-screen keyboard, video recording capabilities and stereo Bluetooth for hands-free calling and listening, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. If there’s no App out there for what you want to do right now, you can be sure it won’t be long in coming, and those with programming experience might be inspired to try themselves when they see what resources are freely available for wannabe Android programmers. Now Android is out there and established, Google is ready to push the boundaries, which can only be good news for mobile phone enthusiasts. 3

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