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Beginner's guide to Android - Chapters Summary

Welcome to the easy Beginner's guide to Android that will show you how to unleash the power of Android! Every day hundreds of thousands of Android phones and tablets are sold, it's the most popular smart-phone all over the world. This site will take you through how to get started step-by-step. This is not a "geek" site, it's for Android beginners. When you've gone through this site you will know how to use most of the functions. We suggest you go through each chapter in sequence, but you can easily jump too, using either the chapter headings below or the navigation bar to the left. Here is a brief summary of each chapter:

If it's your first time to visit this site we suggest you take a look at the Site Introduction chapter, so you'll know how to navigate the site.

  • What is Cloud Computing? We'll go through the new way of doing things where your smartphone is communication not only for voice but also for data traffic straight through the "cloud" using 3G/4G/LTE instead of the old ways using a cable to a PC, so most of your data, e.g. photos, is backed-up in the "cloud".
  • A smartphone is much More than a phone, it has many sensors and functions like cameras, GPS, accelerometer, connectivity to databases in the "cloud" etc, so there are a number of new exciting functions you can perform when you combine all those capabilities.
  • The Introduction to Android chapter gives a brief background and history of Android and how it was started by the Open Handset Alliance led by Google.
  • The How is Android different chapter highlights the flexibility & diversity of Android and how it differs not only from featurephones but also other smartphone systems.
  • How to provide input provides the basics of using the onscreen keyboard which we need in order to go through the setup process.
  • Setup explains the steps and what information you need when you activate your Android device for the first time.
  • The Lock Screen chapter first explains the basic touch screen operations and shows how to get into your phone when it's in sleep-mode. It also explains the security you can employ.
  • Home Screens shows your main interface to the Android system, how to navigate between the home-screens, the various components and examples of the various styles you get from different manufacturers.
  • The Menu Button chapter shows the difference between mostly older Android phones that have a Menu button and newer devices without and how that impacts your operations.
  • The Notification Bar is a central concept for Android devices, that's where you can see the status of the device, get notifications centralized (instead of the annoying pop-ups like in other systems), so this is an essential chapter to understand.
  • The App Drawer is like a repository for all your apps, some people see it as a very similar to the iPhone's homescreen.
  • The Add wallpapers, Apps chapter shows how you can change the wallpaper on your home-screens and add shortcuts to apps you always want to be quickly and easily accessible.
  • Widgets on Homescreens: Widgets are a unique feature of Android, they are basically small programs that run and show you live data in your home-screens. They can be of various sizes and are essential to know.
  • Contacts and Bookmarks on Homescreens: These are special shortcuts that you can place directly on your home-screens.
  • Settings - Phones and Settings - Tablets describe how to get to the settings for phones and tablets. We also go through some of the most common settings, while the rest are explained in subsequent chapters.
  • Keyboard & Input takes a more in-depth look at the versatility of the Android system enabling you to change the basic keyboard settings, change input language, even change keyboard and input methods!
  • Import contacts to Android shows how to import phone numbers, email addresses etc to your Android device.
  • Create & change contacts shows how to add and change an individual contact.
  • Phone calls: The most basic thing a phone is supposed to do. This chapter shows how you use the Contact book and other tools to simplify this.
  • Messages such as SMS is also a very basic phone function, but we explore some of the extra functions Android provides in this area.
  • The Gmail 2.3, Gmail 4 and Use email chapters show how to use the email functions for Google mail and other emails. This is really a core-function of a smartphone. Since the Android 2.3 and 4.x versions are quite different they have dedicated chapters.
  • Apps are really the core of smartphones, so how do you get them ? Get Apps: Play Store and the Web Play Store chapters show how to get apps directly from your Android device or using a regular web browser.
  • Most apps are free, but some are not: in order to get those apps you need to set up a payment system, the Set up Google Wallet chapter shows how to do this.
  • It's easy to install many apps, so sometimes you may want to remove the ones you don't use so much, this is shown in the Remove Apps chapter-
  • There are several hundred thousand apps, lots of choices. The Recommended apps chapter provides some suggestions for various categories.
  • The Run more than one app chapter describes one of Android´s strong points: Multitasking.
  • Android is developing rapidly and manufacturers come out with firmware updates. Update the device shows how you can apply these updates.
  • Start all over: Reset describes how you can start from scratch by resetting your device to the way it was when you purchased it. To reset means you wipe everything and start all over again. This is useful in cases if you feel you "messed" up with the Setup, or you've installed some update to the system that has given you problems. Other situations may be if you plan to sell or give away your phone, so you want to take out all your personal contents.

This site will provide you with many how-to instructions, they are illustrated by screen-shots of what you'll see on the phone. You will also see a short-hand menu notation, as given by this example:

Menu -> Settings -> Privacy

That means you should first press the phone's Menu button, then the Settings pop-up menu, then the Privacy selection.