Mastering Your Tablet: Android Edition

Posted on Aug 25 2014 - 4:29am by Nick Caruso
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iStock_000016314048_LargeIn my last post about mastering tablets, I focused on Apple’s iPad and discussed how real estate professionals can utilize it to simplify their day to day tasks. A few Housecall readers suggested I tackle a similar post but with Android tablets, so this blog will focus on the Almighty Google’s operating system.

Droid users praise Google for its flexibility; the Android platform is extremely customizable, allowing users to do what they want with it and dig as deep as they want into its functionality. Depending on how much time you fiddle with its settings, you may miss out on some very useful features. It's also worth noting that there are many different versions of Android out there, so menu settings may differ slightly. That said, with a little investigation, any Droid user should be able to take advantage of the following tips. Let’s dive in, shall we?

Power Saving Mode to the Rescue! Let’s be real: Agents are always on the run and your tablet is most likely your partner in crime. That means it’s probably a struggle to keep battery levels up – or you’re constantly trying to find an open table at Starbucks so you can Power Up (in more ways than one). There are many ways to keep your Android battery life in the green, but don’t forget to turn on the power saving mode that Google has enabled for Droid devices. Dig into the Power Saving Mode Settings to turn on Power Saving Mode. With that feature enabled, your tablet will instantly throttle unnecessary functions and apps so that the device is using the least amount of power possible. It throttles the CPU of the tablet to be gentler on the battery, while also reducing the frame rate of the screen and lowering the brightness automatically when possible. It may not seem like it, but turning this on could guarantee more than a couple hours of extra battery.

Keep Tabs on Data Consumption. Now that 3G and 4G mobile broadband are the norm, you could be eating through far more data on your tablet than you think. Want to prevent a surprising (and outrageous) data bill? Android owners can track Data Usage in their settings and can choose to be alerted when they reach their data limit. Choose a data usage cycle, stay posted on your data consumption weekly or monthly, and say goodbye to skyrocketed bills.

Nighttime is the Right Time. Burning the midnight oil again? If you find yourself utilizing your Android tablet at night, inverting the colors of your screen can help prevent severe eye strain, headaches and lack of sleep. Open up your tablet’s Settings and head to Accessibility – Inverted Rendering. This option is only available with the Ice Cream Sandwich OS and above, so if your device is a bit older, you may have to forego this option. For Ice Cream Sandwich users, try this at the beach too – it’ll help greatly in direct sunlight!

Locate and Erase a Lost Tablet. As discussed in a previous blog for the iPhone, Android devices can also be located and erased remotely, which comes in handy if your tablet gets lost or stolen. First, check to make sure the Android Device Manager is installed. Then from that same link, select your tablet (or phone) from the menu. From here, you can see the location of your devices, lock them or erase them. But make sure to set this up now just in case you need it later.

Further Customize with Widgets. One of the key features separating Androids from iPhones is widgets. Widgets are advanced app icons with partially interactive information. Widgets will auto-display portions of information – such as, your next appointment or a glance at upcoming weather. Widgets can be resized to fit various spots on your home screen as well as to display various amounts of info. To place a widget on your home screen, press and hold on a blank space and select “Widgets.”

Get an App Refund. The Google Play Store has one of the largest libraries of apps in the world. The problem? There are a lot of bootleg fakers in the store just trying to trip you up. Fear not! If you realize you’ve purchased a dud, you have 15 minutes to secure a full refund. Go back to the product page for the app you want a refund for and you’ll see the Refund option in front of you. Be quick though! Once time runs out, you’ll be out of luck.

Hopefully these tips will help you get to know your Android device a little better. Further exploring the nooks and crannies of your device's Settings will also help you find tidbits here and there that can boost your mobile performance and help you learn how to faster navigate your tablet.

Have any tips or shortcuts you'd like to share? Sound off in the comments section below!

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Nick Caruso
is RISMedia’s Senior Editor. He enjoys geeking out over new technology, candlelit dinners and long walks on the beach.

 

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