One of the shining features of Android is its ability to understand what you want. Case in point: the voice-to-text feature. You speak, it listens. Here's a quick tip for an easy Google search. Hold down the search button on your phone. A window will pop up telling you to "Speak now." Do so, and Google will automagically search for whatever you said. Go ahead. Try it.
One of the most personal things about your phone is what ringtone (and with Android) what notification sound you have. Using a program called RingDroid, it is possible to create custom ringtones and notification sounds from music you already own directly on your Android phone. Follow these steps and you will be rocking in no time:
Start the app and either scroll to find a song or search for it and click on it.
You will see the editing screen (as above). Here you will want to drag the start/stop markers and make a clip under 30 seconds (ringtone) or just a few seconds (notification).
When you are satisfied, hit Menu > Save or the little file icon in the bottom row.
Now you will select what type you are making. Choose between ringtone, notification, alarm, or music. Also, you can create a custom name.
Hit "save" and it will ask you if you want to make your song the default ringtone/notification/alarm. If you choose no, you can always go back into your notification or ringtone selector under Menu > Settings > Sounds & display and select what you want.
RingDroid is a great piece of software, and should work with any non-DRMed music file. Once created, the clips will be stored in sdcard/media/audio and can be accessed directly with Astro or by mounting your SD card onto your computer.
Every Android phone has a standard set of buttons at the bottom. They may be physical -- with parts that move -- or they may be capacitive, reacting to your touch. The order may change, but the functions are the same. You'll find:
Home: Returns to the main home screen. Hold down to see your most recently used apps. (Tip: Try tapping it again once you're at the main home screen and see what happens.)
Back: Takes you back a level in an app, or back a page in a browser, etc. (Tip: Hold down while browsing to quickly access bookmarks, history and most-visited sites. Thanks, Snapdragon0503!)
Menu: Tap this for additional options in an application, or from the home screens. (Tip: Hold down to make the keyboard appear.)
Search: Brings up the search function. Could be search within an app, Google search, or universal search of contacts, bookmarks, apps, etc. that are in the phone. (Tip: Hold down to launch voice search.)
Most Android phones have four buttons, though occasionally a manufacturer will do without the search button.
Froyo only: Want to change the way Android sorts your contacts? Maybe you like last names first. Or what if you want to only see contacts who have phone numbers. It's easy to do. Here's how:
Once you're in the contacts application, press the Menu button. (That's the little one that looks like a series of four lines.)
You should see six new buttons. Press the "Display Options" button.
You're now in the options menus for your contacts.
From here, you can tell your phone to only show contacts with phone numbers, sort the list by first or last name, view contacts by their first or last names, and choose whether to show contacts from all accounts connected to your phone. That's handy if you don't want all of your Facebook friends showing up in your contacts list.
Note that carrier customizations may break this feature. :(
2 years ago
Don't void your Droid X warranty: The 'Pull' tag is for the battery
We mentioned in passing the other day that the innards of the Droid X can be a little confusing, so let's do this up right. There's a little tab that sticks out from underneath the Droid X's battery that says "Pull." Now, if your Droid X came with its battery in place, chances are you'll logically pull the tab to remove the battery. That's what I did, and I didn't think twice.
But we've seen a bit of confusion over this. [Android Central Forums 1, 2, 3]. And as Slashdot user jddj points out, if your Droid X is shipped to you, it likely won't have the battery pre-installed. Next thing you know, you see a little yellow tab that says "Pull" -- as well as "Do not cut," which makes you think you're supposed to remove it by pulling. Do not do this.The pull tab is to help remove the battery. Do not cut it. Do not pull it loose. It's supposed to be there. Jddj writes that calls to Verizon and Motorola ended in a voided warranty over the removal of the FCC info, and nobody wants that.
So -- A handy (albeit somewhat regrettably snarky) instructional video is after the break. Hope this saves a few of you some headaches. [Slashdot]
A question we get quite often from you guys is "How do I add a second gmail account?" Consider that question answered in the video above. Note that I'm adding a Google Apps account, which is the same as a normal gmail account, just with a different domain name.
Anyhoo, it takes about 30 seconds to do, and you can sync all of your e-mails and contacts, just like with a "normal" gmail account.
Us Android nerds love acronyms. And one that we throw around an awful lot is "RSS." Let's take a look at what it is, and how (and why) you should use it. In a nutshell, RSS -- which stands for Really Simple Syndication -- is a way for us, the website, to push information to you, the reader, without you having to come and get it. And it's a pretty handy service.
The universal RSS symbol is that orange guy you see up top here. (Minus the headphones.) When you see it, either on a web page or somewhere on your browser, it means that there's an RSS feed about, and it's waiting to be subscribed to.
A universal truth about RSS is that you're going to need some sort of "reader" to decipher it. And that brings us to ...
On your desktop
Above is what you see when you click on the Android Central RSS link. (Erm, it's what you see if you don't have a default RSS reader set up yet.) You can see several options for RSS readers on the right, including Yahoo, newsgator, Google, netvibes, etc. Or you can subscribe with any reader you want. Me? I use the web-based Google reader. Which looks like this.
This is Google Reader. From it, I have access to the hundreds of feeds I follow, bringing thousands of stories to me every day, updated constantly. The news comes to me. I don't have to go searching for it.
Sometimes you'll see an RSS feed link end in "xml." That's completely normal, so don't freak out.
On your Android phone
And that brings us to your RSS on your Android phone. The two main ways you'll be likely to use RSS are for news, and podcasts.
Above are but two ways to use RSS news feeds on your Android phone. On the left an RSS news widget in the new Sense UI. On the right is the Google Reader mobile version. Some RSS readers sync with your Google Reader feeds. Some require you to add the feeds manually. We'll have an RSS reader roundup in the near future.
RSS feeds also are how you subscribe to podcasts on your phone, using what's called a "podcatcher." Really, it's just another RSS reader, tailored for podcasts. (See our podcatcher roundup for some of your favorite apps for that.) Most podcatchers (the good ones, anyway) have categories of podcasts to choose from, or allow you to search for specific shows. Google's "Listen" podcatcher goes one further and allows you to subscribe to podcasts via Google Reader. The podcast RSS feed is then synced to Google Listen on your phone.
Another way to add podcast feeds on your phone's podcatcher is to directly add the RSS feed. Attention Google Listen users: That's what you have to do to add our podcast feed, as for some reason Google still hasn't indexed it. You either need to sync it from the Google Reader side, or manually add http://feeds2.feedburner.com/androidcentral?format=xml.
Here's a helpful video.
And that's it. Adding a podcast to a podcatcher -- or any RSS feed to a reader -- is as simple as adding the RSS link. Easy. As. Pie. Now get to subscribing!