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Topic # 88434 16-Aug-2011 10:25
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I know nothing about Android. Not a thing. I don't know about configuration, common apps, upgrades, rooting, even really how to use it. Is there a good quick start guide somewhere?

I'll probably be buying a tablet this week, the Asus eee Transformer, if I like the look of it, otherwise it might be a while until I get a smaller pad or a phone. I'd probably work out how to use it, because like most people here i'm pretty technical, but quick start hints would be handy.  I'm coming from a 2G iPod Touch, which I like fine, but the screen's too small and it's feeling pretty slow these days.

Specifically i'd like to know:
 - How do you download apps?
 - Do you use the stock web browser, or is there a better one? Is it free? Someone mentioned Dolphin HD.
 - Is there a way to disable flash, but start it when I tap it? Like flashblock for the PC.
 - How do you do ad blocking? On a PC I use a hosts file and the firefox adblock extension.
 - Can anyone recommend a good rss reader? Ideally one that will give me grey text on a black background.
 - Is it easy to set up synchronisation with google calendar, gmail, etc? I'm sure it is, given who makes Android. How about other email boxes, over imap? I quite like the common inbox on the iPod.
 - Should I use a stock email application, or are there better ones?
 - Are there good games for tablets around? I prefer thinking games, but two player games (on the same tab) could be interesting.
 - Can/should you sync it with a PC, to back it up?
 - Is there a good alarm clock app? Unit conversion? How about a password store? I use SplashData on my iPod, I have the iPod and PC versions and they sync with each other.
 - What are widgits? Are there any good ones that I should know about?

I have no problem paying for good apps.

Plus, what do I need to know that I haven't asked?! Thanks for any replies or information :-)





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  Reply # 507188 16-Aug-2011 10:53
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- How do you download apps?

Just like on any apple product – via the market on either the tablet or your desktop
web browser

- Do you use the stock web browser, or is there a better one? Is it free? Someone
mentioned Dolphin HD
.

Personally I hate dolphin HD (which is free) and currently I am using the latest beta of
FireFox, but I change my browsers all the time…

- Is there a way to disable flash, but start it when I tap it? Like flashblock for the PC.

Suppose you could kill the task and the relaunch it, but why?

- How do you do ad blocking? On a PC I use a hosts file and the firefox adblock extension.

Just the same, there are apps that will modify the host file on the phone or you can do it
yourself

- Can anyone recommend a good rss reader? Ideally one that will give me grey text on a black
background.


I use google reader because its tied to my desktop experience, so when I mark something as
read on my computer, it follows over flawlessly to my phone. Pulse is another very popular
reader, but a bit to bloated for my liking.

- Is it easy to set up synchronisation with google calendar, gmail, etc? I'm sure
it is, given who makes Android. How about other email boxes, over imap? I quite like the
common inbox on the iPod.


Simply log into your Gmail account and you are done. As for other accounts, just add them
the same way you would on an iPod, very simple, very easy.

- Should I use a stock email application, or are there better ones?

Stock is fine, but I use the Gmail application (which is not the same as the stock email
application) and find it does everything I could possibly want it to do.

- Are there good games for tablets around? I prefer thinking games, but two player games
(on the same tab) could be interesting.


I don’t really play games so someone else can take this.

- Can/should you sync it with a PC, to back it up?

Depending on the software Asus use, yes? Obviously all your contacts etc are backed up via
Google, and there are apps to backup your SMS conversations. There are also good backup
applications (Titan Backup) which do a good job of any sort of backup you would need.

 

- Is there a good alarm clock app? Unit conversion? How about a password store?
I use SplashData on my iPod, I have the iPod and PC versions and they sync with each other.


Clock: Stock clock is perfectly fine

Unit conversion: Must be the most made application on any platform… millions of them

Password: PassKey + dropbox = win

- What are widgits? Are there any good ones that I should know about?

Widgets are like an application, except they are always open and sit on your home screen,
so if I have an RSS widget on my desk it will keep updating with the current information
from the RSS feed, so I never actually need to open the RRS application. This is just one
of MANY uses for widgets, they are the biggest difference from iOS in my opinion and really
make Android a winning OS.




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  Reply # 507191 16-Aug-2011 10:55
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+1 for the Gmail app. Its great.

Android + Gmail (and contacts, and calendar) is actually quite awesome.




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  Reply # 507196 16-Aug-2011 11:00
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Thanks Privoxy! Thanks Tony.

Do you mostly use the web browser for the google web apps, or are there actual apps for it? On the iPod apps worked better, because of the small screen, but when I played on the Acer A500 web apps worked ok. I do use gmail, google calendar, google contacts, google reader, probably others too.

Any rss reader I use must sync with google reader. I don't like the google reader website though, I use NetNewsWire on the iPod. Having a black background with white writing would be a huge win for me though, I read them late at night in bed and the big screen would put out too much light for me.

I don't like flash because it's mostly advertising and uses a lot of resources. I use flashblock on the PC, so I can easily start one flash applet if I need to.




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  Reply # 507201 16-Aug-2011 11:05
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I have never used Google web apps on my phone, most web apps have a proper full application which makes it just that much better.

There are a huge number of every type of application you would need, just like on the Apple Store. Finding an RSS reader which lets you skin/theme it however you want will be a 30 second hunt. I have never had a need so never really looked.

A lot of the RRS readers do sync with Google so you will never be limited on choice.

Firefox has a full addon department for the mobile platform/version so I am sure there will be some sort of flash block there.



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  Reply # 507202 16-Aug-2011 11:07
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Thanks again , i'll take a look once I get my hands onto a tablet :)




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  Reply # 507208 16-Aug-2011 11:17
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There are multiple app stores, right? I know there's a standard one, an amazon one, and probably lots of others. Is each just an app that lets you download other apps? Do they all work much the same as the Apple App Store, just choose your app and it installs?




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  Reply # 507210 16-Aug-2011 11:19
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See https://market.android.com/ that's the equivalent of App Store



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  Reply # 507211 16-Aug-2011 11:21
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Thanks Langers. What about the Amazon app store? They have free apps every day which is a bonus.




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  Reply # 507235 16-Aug-2011 11:50
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timmmay: Thanks Langers. What about the Amazon app store? They have free apps every day which is a bonus.

Unless it has changed since the last time I looked, the Amazon Market is not usable for us living in NZ. 



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  Reply # 507284 16-Aug-2011 13:11
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I got the Transformer :) It's charging now, i'll have a play after work.

gcorgnet:
timmmay: Thanks Langers. What about the Amazon app store? They have free apps every day which is a bonus.

Unless it has changed since the last time I looked, the Amazon Market is not usable for us living in NZ. 


What about if I have a VPN to the US? I can configure my router to route via Astrill.




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  Reply # 507287 16-Aug-2011 13:14
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timmmay: I got the Transformer :) It's charging now, i'll have a play after work.

gcorgnet:
timmmay: Thanks Langers. What about the Amazon app store? They have free apps every day which is a bonus.

Unless it has changed since the last time I looked, the Amazon Market is not usable for us living in NZ. 


What about if I have a VPN to the US? I can configure my router to route via Astrill.


I guess that might work.
Maybe someone else that has tried it can enlighten us... 



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  Reply # 507288 16-Aug-2011 13:18
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Apparently it's not too difficult, there are plenty of instructions using TOR, but a VPN should work too.






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  Reply # 507555 16-Aug-2011 20:52
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Since we are on android basics - how do I purchase apps on android market? Do I need to open up an account and transfer funds via credit card? (All the apps I have downloaded to date are free apps).



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  Reply # 507556 16-Aug-2011 20:56
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It uses google checkout. Just search for google checkout on a PC (it's just easier), give it your credit card details, and then you can buy things with one tap.




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  Reply # 507581 16-Aug-2011 21:35
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My addition to this discussion is to make sure you use a task manager.

One of the things about Android is that when you open an app it stays open. A task manager allows you to set up a list of apps which will close once they haven't been used for a while.

There will probably be on on stock which will be fine but if not there are plenty in the market.

The Opera browser is pretty cool. It is free and does some nice tricks such as allowing you to set nine thumbnail favorites. I've never used an iOS device but as I understand it one of the main differences is that you can do more in the browser as it can handle Flash.

Most widgets aren't much use. The exceptions for me are the calendar which I have open as a widget on an entire screen and the widgets for music players. I have two music players the stock for music and WinAmp (free), PowerAmp is also popular but costs. The widgets allow me to have access to the basic Play, Pause, Forward, Back controls without actually opening the full application.

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