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October 24th, 2014

AndroidPhone_Oct20_AOctober has become the de-facto month where Google announces and even releases new mobile devices for their Nexus line. This range offers a pure Android experience, without manufacturer overlays or delays with updates. On October 15, Google officially introduced not one, but three new Nexus devices, along with the next version of Android.

Android L becomes Android 5.0 - Lollipop

While Google announced Android L earlier this year, little was said about what the full name of the next version of Android would be. The company finally laid speculation to rest with the announcement that the next version of Android will be 5.0 - Lollipop.

This is the first major update to the Android platform pretty much since Android 4.0 was released back in 2011. While the different versions of 4.0 introduced useful features and changes, the overall look of the system has largely remained the same. Android 5.0 will change this, with what is called Material Design, which brings a universal look (user interface) to apps across all devices.

Beyond a new look, 5.0 will introduce a new operating environment and coding that allows apps to run faster and more efficiently on existing hardware. Support for faster and more powerful processors is also being included so over the next few years you can expect to see phones and tablets become even more powerful.

To begin with, Android 5.0 will be available on the newly announced Nexus devices, along with older Nexus devices (7, 7 (2012), 5 and 4), some Motorola devices, and all Google Play Edition devices. The company has not set an official release date for this update, but you can probably expect it sometime in mid-November. Other devices will have to wait until the manufacturers can adopt this version of Android to their systems.

The Nexus 6

Like most other popular devices, there have been solid rumors about the Nexus 6 all over the Internet. True to these ruminations, the 6 will be made by Motorola and will be a large phone - 6 inches in fact. Here is a brief rundown of the important specs for business users:
  • Screen size - The display is 5.96 inches diagonally, with the total size being 6 inches from top-left to bottom-right.
  • Battery - The battery is 3220 mAh, which should be more than enough to see you through a day. Motorola has also included their fast-charging technology which can produce six hours of use from a 15 minute charge.
  • Processor and RAM - The processor is a top of the line Snapdragon 805 quad core 2.7 GHz. There is also 3 GB of RAM, which means there is more than enough processing power to run everything you need.
  • Memory - The device is available with either 32 GB or 64 GB of storage.
  • Price and availability - Unlike previous Nexus devices, this phone starts at USD 650 for the 32 GB version, while the 64 GB version costs USD 700. Pre orders for this device start on the Google Play store on October 29 with the device being released in mid-November of this year.

The Nexus 9

The Nexus 9 is the newest tablet in the Nexus line. Made by HTC, it looks to have been designed to compete directly with the iPad Air. Here is a brief rundown of its tech specifications:
  • Screen size - The display on this device is 8.9 inches diagonally, with the total size being 9 inches from top-left to bottom-right.
  • Battery - The battery is a 6700 mAh, which should be more than enough to see you through a couple of days of use.
  • Processor and RAM - There is a high-quality processor running at 2.3 GHz. There is also 2 GB of RAM, which means there is more than enough processing power.
  • Memory - The device is available with either 32 GB or 64 GB of storage.
  • Price and availability - This tablet starts at USD 400 for the 32 GB version. There is also be a keyboard case, which looks similar to those purchased for Microsoft's Surface. The device is available to pre order from the Google Play store on October 17, with a release date of November 3 of this year.

The Nexus Player

This new Nexus device is the next step in the evolution of the Chromecast, or Google's device-to-TV broadcasting device. Like similar solutions, it allows users to stream content from their devices, or stations like Netflix, onto their TV or HDMI monitors. While at first glance this may not be the most useful device for businesses, there is one feature that could prove popular: You will have the ability to broadcast what's on your device's screen on your television screen.

This includes Chrome tabs, so if you use cloud-based software like Google Apps you can technically use this to stream presentations or to collaboratively work on documents in a meeting format.

Coming in at USD 99 per set, this could be an affordable solution for companies who don't want to invest in a projector, or who already have a television screen in their office. The system went up for pre order on the Google Play store on October 17.

If you would like to learn more about Google's Nexus devices contact us today and we can help you make the right tech decisions for your business.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

September 25th, 2014

AndroidPhone_Sep22_AMobile operating systems incorporate a huge number of similarities when compared to desktop systems, with one of the most useful being the ability to create folders. On Android devices, folders are used to group similar types of apps together, thereby reducing the space taken up by icons. If you have an Android device, do you know how to manage your folders?

Creating folders

On most devices, when you install a new app the icon will be automatically added to your home screen, or onto a screen where there is space. While this is useful, many of us have a large number of apps installed, and it can be a bit of a chore actually finding the icon you are looking for.

The easiest solution is to group icons together into a folder. This can be done by:

  1. Pressing and holding on an app on your device's home screen.
  2. Dragging it over another app and letting go.
You should see both of the icons moved into a circle and kind of hovering over each other. This indicates they are now in a folder. It is important to note that these folders only appear on your home screen. If you combine say Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn apps into a folder on your home screen, they will not be put into a folder in your app drawer.

Naming folders

When you create new folders, you will notice that there is no text below the icon as there is with other icons. This is because you need to name the folder, which can be done by:
  1. Tapping on the newly created folder.
  2. Tapping on Unnamed Folder in the pop-up window.
  3. Naming the folder.
  4. Pressing Done at the bottom of the keyboard.
The name you assign to the folder will show up under each icon on your home screen. If you are going to use different folders, it is a good idea to pick names related to the apps they contain. For example, if you put all of your email apps in one folder, call the folder 'Email'. This will make your apps easier to find.

Adding/removing apps from folders

You can easily add apps to folders by either dragging them from the home screen over to the folder and letting go, or:
  1. Opening your device's app drawer (usually indicated by a number of squares).
  2. Finding the app you would like to put into a folder.
  3. Pressing on it, and holding your finger down until the home screen pops up.
  4. Dragging it over the folder you would like it to be placed in.
  5. Letting go.
If done right, the app's icon should be automatically dropped into the folder. You can also remove apps from folders by tapping on the folder where the app is, pressing on the app, then dragging it up to Remove, which should appear at the top of the screen. This will remove it from the home screen, but will not uninstall the app. You can also tap on the app and move it out of the folder to an empty place on the home screen.

Moving folders

You can move a folder's location the same way you do so with an app: Tap and hold on the folder until the screen changes slightly and drag it to where you would like it to be. On newer versions of Android, the apps should all move to make room for the folder.

Deleting folders

Finally, you can delete a folder by either dragging all of the apps out of the folder, or pressing and holding on the folder until the screen changes and dragging it up to Remove. This will remove the folder and all the stored app icons, but it won't delete the apps.

If you have any questions about using an Android device, contact us today to see how we can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

August 26th, 2014

androidphone_Aug26_AWhen you first get your hands on your Android smartphone, you’ll be asked about location services and whether you want to enable them. Google and your carrier will have its own location services that you’ll need to approve as well. But what you might not know is that there are actually a few other options for location services with Android which can affect your smartphone’s security. To that end, let’s take a look at how to change some of these Android settings.

Photos and GPS tagging

Your Android smartphone gives you the ability to attach GPS coordinates to the pictures you take, known as geo-locating or GPS tagging. This lets you arrange pictures in albums by locations, or lets Google+ stitch together stories of your trips. Geo-locating images in itself isn’t a bad thing, but you can get into trouble when you broadcast sensitive locations to the world. For instance, a picture of your expensive watch with a GPS tag of your house isn’t the best idea.

Four ways to control geo-locating photos:

  1. Go to your camera settings and you’ll find an on/off toggle.
  2. Simply go into Settings>Location and from there you can decide if you want the location saved along with your images.
  3. Download an EXIF editor and manually remove the location information from specific images.
  4. You can also turn off location services altogether by going to Settings>Location.

Discrete location settings

Apart from location settings in photos and GPS tagging, Android actually has three discrete location settings which allow you to set how accurately you want location reporting to be. You can find these at Settings>Location, Note that this affects your smartphone’s battery life immensely.
  • High accuracy: This uses the GPS radio in your phone to pinpoint its exact location from satellites while making use of nearby Wi-Fi and cellular networks too.
  • Battery saving: This mode only uses Wi-Fi networks and mobile networks to identify locations, and while it might not be as accurate it will help your phone last longer.
  • Device sensors only: This only uses the GPS radio to find you. It may take a little more time to find your location since it’s not using nearby Wi-Fi and mobile networks to get your general location first. This also uses more battery.
Having your location settings turned off will not only help keep your smartphone’s security intact, but also help strengthen your smartphone’s battery life. Interested in learning more about Android phones and their functions? We have solutions for you and your business.
Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

July 31st, 2014

AndroidPhone_July28_AIn many countries when you go to buy a mobile phone, and more specifically an Android phone, from a carrier the mobile carrier will often install their own apps onto the device. These apps, commonly referred to as bloatware, are usually tied into a service that your carrier offers and are for the most part ignored by most users. The problem is, the majority of users don't really want these apps but when they try uninstalling them they often quickly find that they cannot. However, there is something you can do about this issue.

Bloatware defined

Read Android themed blogs and you will eventually come across this term. When it is used to refer to mobile phones, bloatware is software that has been installed by carriers or device manufacturers. These apps are generally useless, unwanted, or are value-added apps - meaning apps which you need to pay extra for in order to use e.g., a music service run by your carrier.

The kicker with bloatware is that you don't get a choice as to whether or not it is installed on your phone. The reason for this is because carriers and manufacturers install the apps before you purchase the phone. Many carriers have contracts with manufacturers to actually install the software before the device leaves the factory.

Is bloatware bad?

Mobile bloatware often gets a bad rap, especially because much of it is unwanted by users. That doesn't mean the apps are 'bad', or malicious. In fact, some users do actually use the software that comes installed by mobile carriers. The issue many have is that they have had no say in the matter and as a result feel forced into using certain apps, when they would rather be using something else, or would never have downloaded these apps in the first place.

In short, the vast majority of bloatware is not overly useful but it is by no means malicious. It's really more of an annoyance to many users.

Can I get rid of bloatware?

The short answer to this question is: No, you usually can't get rid of bloatware. Some of it can be uninstalled, but most of the apps installed by the carrier or manufacturer aren't able to be deleted.

That being said, there are two options you can consider:

1. Disable bloatware on your device

While you usually can't uninstall bloatware, phones running Android 4.X and newer do have the option of disabling it.
  1. Open your device's Settings panel. This is usually done by sliding down from the top of the screen and selecting the person icon with five squares followed by Settings.
  2. Tap on Apps and swiping right so All is highlighted at the top.
  3. Scroll to the app you would like to disable and tap on it.
  4. Press Disable.
  5. Tap Ok in the warning that opens.
  6. Once you do this, the app will be removed from the home screen and will no longer run in the background.

2. Purchase devices without bloatware

If you are currently looking for a new device, or are looking to upgrade your current phone, an option would be to purchase a device that doesn't have bloatware. For example, most phones you purchase separately from your carrier won't have carrier specific bloatware. Take for example Nexus devices. These phones, when bought outright, only have stock Google apps like Calendar, Gmail, Chrome, and Google Play store installed. Of course, if you buy the device from your carrier, there is a good chance it will have the apps on them. So it is best to look at the big-box stores or retailers.

If you are unsure as to whether the device you are looking at has bloatware installed, try asking the salesperson or looking at online reviews. As a general rule of thumb: If you buy the device from a carrier, or on a contract, the device will have some bloatware on it - most carriers have a stipulation on the agreement you sign giving them permission to install it, or noting that it is installed. When you sign the contract you thereby agree to have the apps on your device.

The major downside to buying devices like this for some users is that you have to pay full price for the device. For some this is worth it, while others are ok with the odd bit of bloatware if they get to pay less for their device.

Looking to learn more about Android phones? Contact us today to see how we can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

July 3rd, 2014

AndroidPhone_June30_AGoogle Docs is becoming an increasingly popular tool for many business users, especially due to the fact that the solution offers a powerful suite of productivity apps like Docs and Slides. Earlier this year, these apps went mobile, with Google releasing standalone mobile versions of Docs and Sheets. The popular presentation creation app Slides was missing however, with Google explaining that it would be released 'later'. Well, Google has delivered on their promise and released a Google Slides app for Android devices.

What exactly is the Google Slides app? I thought it was part of Google Drive...

As many who use Google Apps know, productivity apps like Slides, Docs, and Sheets are part of Google's cloud storage app - Drive. If you have used the Drive app on your phone or tablet, you likely also know that you can create, edit, and share documents via this app.

This development is an effort to extend the capabilities of Drive, while simultaneously making it easier for users to access their individual files. For example, if you are a heavy user of Slides it can be a little annoying and time consuming to open the Drive app, search for the file you want, open it, and start editing. Now, if you have the app installed you can open it for immediate access to your related files, in this case Slides.

The key here is to think of the Slides app as a branch of the Google Drive App, as all of your files are still linked to Drive. Create a presentation using the Slides app and it will show up automatically on Google Drive as well as in the app. This app has all the same features as the Drive version, it is just that the app has been specifically written for mobile devices and designed for ease of use.

What can I do with this app?

As we stated above, the main focus of the Slides app is to allow you to create and edit presentations from your Android device. As such, there are a number of useful features:
  • The ability to create and edit presentations offline. As long as you have accessed a Slides presentation while online, it will be made available for you to open and edit offline as well. You can also save individual presentations to your device's hard drive and have the file updated when the presentation is.
  • Advanced sharing features. You are able to share your presentation from a mobile device and have users on their devices or computers collaborate on the same file.
  • Automatic saving of presentations created and edited on the Web. As long as you have an Internet connection, changes made to files via the app will be synced with Google Drive and reflect on all versions of the presentation. If you are offline, the changes will sync when you are next online.
  • The ability to open, edit, and save Microsoft PowerPoint presentations directly from the app. This is a big feature, largely due to the fact that many businesses use PowerPoint instead of Slides. What this means for you is that you can view these files without PowerPoint installed on your device.
  • Full editing capabilities. You are able to create slides, add text, edit slide order and the overall format of your text and slides.
  • Present directly from your device. You can run presentations on your device or connect to a projector using adapters that can usually be purchased for your device.

Where can I find the Slides app?

This app is available now on Google Play. To install it you can:
  1. Open the Google Play app on your device.
  2. Press the magnifying glass and type in Google Slides.
  3. Tap on the app and select Install.
  4. Open the app when it has been installed.
When you open the app, you should see all of your slides related to your Google account pop up in the app.

If you are looking to learn more about Google's apps on your Android device contact us today to see how we can help ensure that you get the apps your business needs most.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

June 3rd, 2014

androidphone_June2_AIt’s undeniable that the number of Android users has grown tremendously over the past few years. With more customized features and increased apps, many people are turning to the Android operating system. As with most mobile device owners, they find it essential to maximize storage space on their smartphones and tablets. The question is: "How can I boost storage space on my Android device?"

MicroSD card:

The best way to get more storage on your Android device is to buy a microSD card. A decent 64GB card can be bought for as little as USD$40 and inserted straight into your smartphone or tablet. Go to Settings and Storage and assign what you want to be saved to your microSD card in the future, as well as moving existing files to maximize storage space.

It's important to note that not all devices have microSD storage slots. The Nexus 5, for example, does not support a microSD card, so make sure your device can support expanded storage in this way first.

Cloud storage:

While a fair number of Android devices do have a microSD card slot, an alternative option for freeing up space is to use cloud storage. Those that haven’t embraced the changes the cloud have brought may find it a little tricky at first, but it soon becomes second nature. We recommend using cloud storage apps to store images, important files, and any files which are either too big or too small to make accessing them via a data connection worthwhile.

One of the best ways to access cloud storage is to download an app to your Android device. The perk here is that with most cloud storage apps, you can set these to automatically back up selected files. Make sure to check that your files are saved on the cloud app and then you can delete the files from your smartphone or tablet to create more space. The only downside to this is that you’ll need Internet or data connection to view photos on your Android device.

Delete unused apps:

If you have a new Android device and you’re already running out of space, you can free some by deleting any bloatware that might have come preinstalled on your device. Some bloatware apps can’t be deleted, but most of them can be removed. Simply go to Settings then tap Apps and then tap the app you want to delete and press the Uninstall button.

If you’ve had your Android device for some time, chances are that you have downloaded many apps including those that are rarely used now. Uninstalling these apps is a great way to free up some space. Simply open your app drawer, tap, and hold on an app to uninstall. When your home screen pops up drag the app to the top of the device and drop it over Uninstall to delete.

Wireless hard drive:

A wireless hard drive is a final option for gaining access to more storage space on your Android device. It is exactly the same as a portable hard drive, except that you connect to it via Wi-Fi.

One of the best wireless hard drives available right now is the Kingston Digital Wi-Drive 32GB which can be bought for as low as USD$50. These wireless hard drives are usually available from 32GB to 1TB, so make sure you choose one that will cover your future usage as well.

Having more storage space on your mobile device will not only enhance your work security but also give you some room to breathe. Looking to learn more about Android phones and what each one has to offer? Call us today for a chat.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

May 8th, 2014

AndroidPhone_May06_AA new security problem, known as Heartbleed, has infiltrated the Internet and caused havoc to both large companies and individual users. Despite the efforts of major companies to release updates to counter its effects, the damage has still been enormous. What you need to do is learn more about Heartbleed and how you can counter this threat on your Android device.

The whole Internet community was thrown into chaos as soon as word about Heartbleed leaked out. Major companies were quick to respond and released updates to counter Heartbleed. It is a threat that you need to be aware of.

How Heartbleed works

Heartbleed is a weakness in the OpenSSL software which allows any attacker to steal information directly from the memory space of an application. This information includes private keys which keep data securely coded as it travels in the Internet.

This problem may seem insignificant to some but it’s important to note that the kind of information that can be stolen may include login data and online financially related accounts like PayPal and other money transferring sites.

The extent of damage caused by Heartbleed

Given the popularity of OpenSSL, the extent of damage expected is high. In fact, it did not come as a surprise that this threat even reached mobile devices through installed mobile apps. This is because mobile apps have built-in encryption to allow users to log-in safely.

Smartphones and the Heartbleed threat

Apple has claimed that its iOS is safe and Heartbleed cannot cause any problem to iOS devices. The same cannot be said though for all Android devices. Google has admitted that almost all versions of Android from 4.1 up contain vulnerable versions of OpenSSL. These devices are relatively safe though since all but Android 4.1.1 had the heartbeat feature turned on by default. However, the possibility of some OEMs switching the heartbeat feature back on in their phones is not remote, making the threat still very much real for all.

Bluebox and the Bluebox Heartbleed Scanner

In response to this threat, security software company Bluebox has developed an app that can scan your phone, available on the Google Play Store. When the Android major master key vulnerability was discovered in the past it was also Bluebox that stepped in and released a similar tool to address the issue.

This latest scanner allows smartphone users to check their devices to see whether they are safe or not. The Bluebox Heartbleed Scanner looks for apps installed within a device that carry their own OpenSSL versions. In turn, it checks the versions of the library to see if heartbeat is enabled.

The user’s part in addressing the problem

It is important to remember that once the scanner has detected apps that show vulnerability, the user need to do two things. Firstly, you need to report this in the apps review section of Google Play Store. This warns other users of an app's vulnerability. Secondly, you need to send an email to the developers. This notifies them and allows them to address this problem in their next update releases.

If you have any questions regarding the security of your devices, contact us today to see how we can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

April 10th, 2014

AndroidPhone_Apr07_AOffice Mobile was first introduced as Pocket Office in 1996, with only Word and Excel included in the suite. Pocket Office was then changed to Office Mobile with the release of the 5.0 version of the Windows Mobile OS. With this release, PowerPoint was included in the Office programs. When Office Mobile 2013 was released for Android devices, an Office 365 subscription was needed to use it. However, in somewhat of a surprise move, Microsoft has recently lifted this requirement making the home version of Office free to use on Android tablets and phones.

Free you say? Is it time to ditch Office 365?

Not so fast! If you are a business owner, it's not advisable to ditch your Office 365 subscription. This is because the Office app is free for home use, but if you have an Office 365 business account, you need to have a paid Office 365 Business subscription to edit and save documents.

The benefits of using Office on your Android

The Microsoft Office Mobile suite is a collection of mobile versions of the popular Microsoft Office. Since it’s now available for free, you may want to take advantage of what the programs have to offer.

One of the benefits of having Office on your device is that you can access or create files while on the go. Even if you’re not in front of your computer, you can still be productive as you work on important files anytime, anywhere. It is integrated with OneDrive so your files are synced, allowing you to continue working on your computer after working on your mobile device.

Office on your Android supports popular Word, Excel, and PowerPoint formats so you won't have problems opening and editing files. Office Mobile is also optimized for tablets and phones, making it convenient to use even on a small screen.

Office Mobile core applications

Office Mobile is a stripped down version of the Office Suite. Limited applications and features are available to make it work smoothly on mobile devices. Word Mobile, Excel Mobile and PowerPoint Mobile are the three programs that come with it.

Word Mobile

Word Mobile can be generally used like its desktop counterpart. While the desktop version supports more file formats, the mobile version is still be able to open a Word file that has an unsupported format without editing options. To enable editing, you must first save the file as a .DocX file which is supported by the mobile version.

Images, tables and lists can be added to a Word Mobile document. Other features that you can use include: find and replace, word count, and spell checker, though some fonts are not supported. For example, page breaks, footers, headers, endnotes, and footnotes cannot be used, though these will be kept if the original file contains them.

PowerPoint Mobile

PowerPoint Mobile was the last application to join the Office Mobile suite. On the Android version you can open, as well as edit presentations using PowerPoint, whether from the desktop or Web version. When it comes to authoring, it is only possible to edit text and add notes.

Excel Mobile

This application is compatible with its desktop counterpart. The Android version lets you open, save, edit, and create spreadsheets in '.xlsx' format. Files saved in '.xls' can also be viewed but not edited or saved. Using Excel Mobile, you can create graphs and charts, format cells and use formulas for simple calculations. Split panes and full screen mode are also supported.

Mobile Office is a fantastic addition to your Android apps, especially now that it comes for free for home users, and for business users with paid Office 365 subscriptions. You can now have the flexibility of accessing documents or working on important files anytime, using your mobile device.

If you have questions about Mobile Office connect with us and we will help you find productivity boosting solutions.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

March 13th, 2014

AndroidPhone_Mar10_AToday's smartphones offer users a lengthy list of features, from Internet connectivity to barometers or even GPS, they really are a highly mobile computer. That being said, many of us still use them primarily to communicate. These days, the preferred method of communication is the SMS or text. If you have a new Android phone there are numerous apps that offer text messaging and it can be difficult to locate your texts at first.

On the vast majority of Android devices there is more than one app that supports text messages. Here is an overview of the apps and how you can find text messages on your Android device.

The stock 'Messages' app

On almost all Android devices, especially those that use what's called an overlay (the device manufacturer's take on Android), there is the stock Messages app. When you first set up your phone, this is the app that will allow you to view and send messages by default.

Most devices already have a shortcut to this app on your device's home screen, usually in the drawer at the bottom of the screen. It usually looks like a speech bubble or an envelope with the words Messaging below it.

  1. Tapping on this app will open your text messages allowing you to read, send and reply to any messages. If you can't find this app, try:
  2. Clicking on the Apps icon on the bottom of your phone. It is usually represented by two rows of grey dots.
  3. Looking through the apps that come up. You are looking for an app with any of the icons listed above, or is called Messaging or SMS.
  4. Tapping on the app once you find it.
If you like, you can press on the app's icon for a second or two and then drag it to your device's Home Screen in order to place a shortcut there.

Google Hangouts

On new Google Nexus devices - especially the Nexus 5 - you probably won't find a messaging app. That is because Google has eliminated it, instead turning Google Hangouts into the new text messaging app.

Hangouts started as the instant messaging platform of Google+ and was then introduced as the new version of Google Chat, and finally the messaging platform on Google devices. In other words, Google Hangouts is the one app for instant messaging and texts across Google's platforms.

If you have the Hangouts app installed on your device, your text messages should show up when you open it. If you can't find your messages/would like to use Hangouts as your SMS app you can do so by:

  1. Opening Hangouts and signing in (if you need to) using your Google account.
  2. Pressing the three vertical squares at the top-right of the screen.
  3. Selecting Settings followed by SMS.
  4. Tapping on SMS Enabled followed by Default SMS app in the window that opens.
  5. Selecting Hangouts.
Your text messages should show up within a few seconds in the main hangouts messaging screen.

Which should I use?

This is a question some users have asked, as it can be slightly confusing as to which app they should be using. The true answer to the question is either! The stock apps, and Hangouts both offer full text messaging capabilities, it really comes down to which you prefer. Some apps present SMS messages in a clear and easy to read manner which some people prefer over Hangouts, while Hangouts is preferred by others, especially Google users.

If you are looking to learn more about the features of your Android phone, contact us today to see how we can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

January 16th, 2014

AndroidPhone_Jan13_AWhile it is often hard to believe, the smartphone is simply a computer that has been shrunk down into something we can hold in our hands. Anyone who has used a computer knows that these machines will eventually freeze or stop working - it's inevitable, and the same can be said for smartphones. There will come a time when your Android device freezes. The question is, do you know what to do when this happens?

If your Android phone or an app on the phone has frozen, here are two things you can try.

Frozen app? Try to force close it

Oftentimes when people say their phone has stopped working, the phone is running fine, it's an app that isn't working properly or which may have frozen completely. Because this does happen from time-to-time, Android has a built-in way you can force close apps when they stop working. This can be achieved by:
  1. Hitting the home button on your phone to go to the Home Screen (If you are in the app).
  2. Sliding down the notifications menu (slide from the top of your phone's screen) and tapping on the profile icon in the top-right.
  3. Tapping on Settings followed by Apps.
  4. Scrolling to the app that has stopped working and pressing on it.
  5. Pressing Force stop under the app's icon followed by OK.
These steps will close the app and usually keep it closed until you reopen the app again. However, some apps are essential and need to remain open in order for your phone to operate properly. If you are unsure of what an app does, don't force close it.

Did you try turning it off and on again?

There is a long-running gag on the tv show the IT Crowd where the techies in the basement answer every phone call by asking the caller if they have tried turning their computer off and on again.

While this may sound silly, and maybe even a little patronizing, restarting your device could be the solution it needs. In fact, many common errors are usually fixed by simply restarting your device. There are two types of restart you can execute:

  1. If you can still navigate your phone - Press and hold the power button for a second or two and the shutdown window should open. Tap on Power off and wait a few seconds. Your screen should go black and the device will be off. If you have low power, it may be a good idea to plug your phone in and charge it for a few minutes before starting your device up again. This type of shutdown/restart is the best because it allows your device to close all apps and stop all processes before it turns off.
  2. If your phone has frozen - This means you are not able to select apps and pushing the buttons does nothing. Android devices have different force restarts with most requiring you to hold the power button and volume down buttons for up to 10 seconds. Others require you to hold the power button and both of the volume buttons down. When the screen goes black, your device should switch off.
When a device has frozen, many people take the battery out - this should be an absolute last resort, as you could damage your device. If you can't remove the back cover of your device to get to the batter, don't try to remove it. Instead, try a forced restart. If this doesn't work, try plugging your device in and letting it charge for a few minutes before restarting it.

Should the device still not work, the best thing to do is to bring it to a mobile expert like us. We may be able to help you. And, if you are looking to learn more about your Android device, contact us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.