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1 year ago

From the Android Forums: Importing contacts and Nexus updates

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LolUmad asks in the Android Central Forums:

Hello.

I just sold my Nokia 920 and got a Nexus 4. I have two questions for the aware:

  1. All of my contacts had to be imported in from my microsoft.live account. How do I add them all to my Google account (so that next time I get another android phone I can just have them imported in automatically)?
  2. How do software updates work? Automatically or do I have to do something.

Thanks in advance.

Welcome aboard, and we're glad you asked! Your first question is a pretty common one, and luckily it's also a really easy one thanks to the settings built into Gmail. Since you're coming from a Windows Live account, you can have Google import your contacts automatically via the web. Open your Gmail account in a web browser on a computer, and look for the settings icon in the upper right. Open the settings, choose the "Accounts and Import" tab, and in the list choose "Import mail and contacts". This will copy everything over to your Gmail account, which syncs with any Android device you're signed in to. 

For anyone not using a web-based service like Windows Live, importing contacts is still pretty easy. Just export them from your mail client into a .csv file and you can import that file in your Google Contacts page. Either way sure beats typing them all by hand.

For your second question. the answer is both! Updates will come automatically from Google to your Nexus 4, and you'll know you have one because of the notification icon. Google rolls the updates out pretty slowly at first, and many times we don't like to wait. You can sideload an update pretty easily if you're the type who doesn't like waiting in line. It involves a little work at your computer's command line, but it's not really hard. You can find all the information you would every want to know about sideloading updates in the Nexus 4 forums.

Have a question you need answered? (Preferably about Android, but we're flexible.) Hit up our Contact Page to get in touch!

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1 year ago

Changing Twitter apps? Remember to free the token

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It's no secret that Twitter is holding a tight rein over third party developers with their limited number of tokens rule. We've seen clients go under because of it on both Android and Windows Phone, and it certainly was a factor in the development and release issues we've seen with Carbon that has everyone up in arms.

In case you haven't been keeping up with it all, Twitter has placed a limit on the number of users who can connect an application to their Twitter account. Folks writing new apps are allowed just 100,000 "tokens" by default, severely limiting how many users can actually use their application with Twitter. There's plenty more rules, and if you're in a position that needs to know them all be sure to visit the Twitter developers site

There is something we can do to help, though. When you connect an application to your Twitter account, it's listed in the account settings online. From there, you can revoke it if you're not going to use the application, thus freeing the token for someone else to use. It's pretty simple to do once you know it's there, just look in the settings > apps section of your Twitter page on the web. It's a small, but important thing we can do to help the developers who make Android great. Hit the break, and see exactly how it's done.

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1 year ago

Ten basic Android terminal commands you should know

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For a lot of us, the fact that we can plug our Android phone or tablet into our computer and interact with it is a big plus. Besides the times when we've broken something and need to fix it, there are plenty of reasons why an advanced Android user would want to talk to his or her device. To do that, you need to have a few tools and know a few commands. That's what we're going to talk about today. Granted, this won't be the end-all be-all discussion of adb commands, but there are 10 basic commands everyone should know if they plan to get down and dirty with the command line. 

The tools are easy. If you're a Mac or Linux user, you'll want to install the SDK as explained at the Android developers site. It's not hard, and you don't have the whole driver mess that Windows users do. Follow the directions and get things set up while I talk to the Windows using folks for a minute. 

If you're using Windows, things are easier and harder at the same time. The tools themselves are the easy part. Download this file. Open the zip file and you'll see a folder named android-tools. Drag that folder somewhere easy to get to. Next, visit the manufacturers page for your device and install the adb and fastboot drivers for Windows. You'll need this so that your computer can talk to your Android device. If you hit a snag, visit the forums and somebody is bound to be able to help you through it. 

Now that we're all on the same page, enable USB debugging on your device (see your devices manual if you need help finding it, and remember it was hidden in Android 4.2), and plug it in to your computer. Now skip past the break and let's begin!

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1 year ago

How to tag Wifi access points as mobile hotspots on your Android device

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There are many reasons why you might want to use a mobile hotspot with an Android device. Maybe you're using a tablet without a mobile data connection of its own. Perhaps you're traveling overseas and hoping to avoid data roaming charges. Either way, Android 4.1 comes with well-hidden option that lets you properly mark mobile access points -- we're talking something other than your home router or the AP in Starbucks -- as mobile hotspots, allowing you to better control your use of mobile data.

Take a look after the break.

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1 year ago

How to enable system sounds on your Android device

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Part of having a modern smartphone is the media experience. Today's Android phones rival about any desktop system when it comes to audio and visual cues for the way you interact with them. Case in point -- audible alerts for system UI actions.

Making your Android phone or tablet give you an affirming "tick" when you press a button or unlock your screen is easy. Open your settings, and find the "Sound" entry in the menu list. You'll see something like the above, where you can set the standard ringtone and notification. If you scroll down a bit you'll see where you can enable or disable the audible prompt when doing things like dialing a number, or unlocking your phone. What's really cool is that you can set these sounds individually, so your phone only makes the noises you want it to make.

Once you have things set up the way you like, just press the back button and leave the settings menu. Now you're set!

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1 year ago

How to share Photo Sphere pics on Google Maps

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Deep links and even embedding panoramas can be done, but it takes a few steps

I might have mentioned once or twice how Photo Sphere is one of my favorite features of Android 4.2 on the Nexus 4. And I might have slightly bemoaned how the only real ways to view someone's Photo Sphere pictures are on Google+, either in a desktop browser or Android's Google+ app. (And I might have mentioned all that in a single post, yesterday.)

Google Maps also got a nod, and I think it's going to be my go-to method for sharing Photo Sphere pics for a couple reasons.

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1 year ago

From the mail bag: Is Android affected by the recent Java security issues?

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Russ8611 writes, 

Hello Androidcentral! I was just curious if any of you guys feel like reporting on the Java vulnerability and let us know how it affects Android as a platform. I know most people say they don't need Java on their computers, but isn't Java needed by Android, especially by developers? Thanks!!!

That's a nasty mess, isn't it?

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1 year ago

Weekend project: Customize your home screen with UCCW, the ultimate custom widget

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Anytime you see folks discussing the virtues of Android, you hear the word custom being thrown around in one form or another. We're not talking about ROMs or kernels or anything like that, we mean the built in options to make your Android phone look like no other phone -- widgets. Specifically UCCW, the ultimate custom widget.

Ultimate is a pretty bold claim for any developer to make, especially when you're talking something as personal as the way our phones look. UCCW works it though, and is a way to change the look and feel of your home screen in a way only limited by your imagination. It's a "master" widget, which is simply a blank canvas that's painted the way you decide, either through your own talent or from themes (called uzips) that other talented folks have created.  Hit the jump, have a look, and get customized.

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1 year ago

From the mail bag: What the heck does deodexed mean?

18

Clark writes,

What the heck does odex and deodex actually mean? I see the terms mentioned in almost every custom ROM thread and can't find an answer that I can understand. I'm hoping that Android Central can help out.

Awesome question, Clark. And one I think we can answer in terms that most folks will understand. As you've noted, you see the terms odex and deodexed in many forums posts about custom ROMs or assorted hacks for phones and tablets both. It takes a lot of work for developers to create deodexed ROMs from "stock" ROMs, like the ones offered from both OEMs and Google alike.

To begin, we need to know what an odex file is.  It's a part of an application (the .apk file) that has been prebuilt to make the Dalvik Virtual Machine load it faster using less resources. If you look in the /system/app/ folder on your Android phone or tablet, you'll see that just about every application has both an .apk file and an .odex file. These files work together through the Dalvik VM to make the apps run as they should on our devices. Let's break it all down after the break.

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1 year ago

Ask AC: How to tell when HDR is enabled in Android 4.2

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D3lit3 writes in our Nexus 4 forums,

I was taking pictures with my baby and I realized that the HDR mode does not show a tick when you enable it. Thus I am left in confusion because I never know if my pics have HDR. Am I missing something? Thanks.

Don't be left in confusion, D3lit3! While this only applies to the stock camera app in Android 4.2, it is a change, and a little easy to overlook. When you're in HDR mode -- or any other scene mode, you'll see it listed in the circle in the corner. That circle may move around a little bit, depending on which way you're holding the phone. (Also, tap that circle to pull up the settings buttons.) But that's where you'll see it.

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