4 Things That’ll Improve Your Love of Android

One of the biggest complaints I hear from new Android users is always that the new device doesn’t feel like an iPhone (or iPad). That’s the whole point, but you need to make sure you’re taking advantage of Android’s customization ability to fully appreciate the Android OS. Here are five ways to get more love from your Android device.

Add a profile picture

Recently, I lamented that I wished more of my contact had profile pictures.

Ketan Soni disagreed with me, but I think even he’d agree that seen blue heads (or circles with letters) everywhere gets mundane.

The great feature about Android is that it links to Google, which links to the world — everyone has a Gmail address. Adding profile pictures, as opposed to logos or nothing, gives the world a glimpse at you. Plus, since Android links contacts to profiles, all of your friends get to see you when you call, text, or email them.

After you’ve added your profile (and hopefully your friends do, too), you can also individualize your contacts’ pictures. This is especially handy for those friends who refuse to update their profile.

Changing a contact’s profile picture

Select the contact from your list whose picture you’d like to add.

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Next select SettingsEdit.

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Now you’ll be able to edit the contact’s information.

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Your only concern here is with the profile picture on the right side of the screen.

contactadd4Click this and you’re presented with two options: Take photo or Choose photo.

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Obviously, if your buddy’s standing right there, take his or her best picture. If not, select one from your friend’s multitude of Facebook selfies. Android will help crop the photo to an appropriate size, but try not to use a face shot that’s too big.

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Congrats, you just set your friend’s new profile picture.

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Customize your home screen

I love organizing my devices’ home screens. I generally organize each device in the exact same way, though I will add some special touches depending on the device.

One of my favorite ways of organizing my home screen is by using folders. You can see a detailed examination of folders in this post, but I shall say that folders put everything in quick touch without too much searching.

Games Folder Nexus 7

My second favorite customization is by adding a custom launcher. Currently, I’m in love with Google Experience Launcher (available for all devices running Android 4.1+).

But if you’re not too keen on “getting Google,” try adding Nova Launcher to your device.

Nova Launcher

A recent update to Nova Launcher gives you the look and feel of Android L without the jitteryness.

Lauchers also expand what Android can do and how it’ll handle your screen and information.

Talk to your Android

Google Now changes the way you’ll use your Android device and grab information. But more importantly, Google Now voice commands and speech to text vastly improve your device’s capabilities.

Google Now can tell you where you’ve parked, track packages, and even help you go caroling at Christmas. There are a number of different voice commands you can use to get information. One of my favorite, newer apps, is called Commandr for Google Now.

Commandr

Commandr enhances Google Now by allowing you to perform more task that aren’t necessarily currently built into Google Now. Try the “unread SMS” command. I think you’ll be hooked.

Additionally, Android’s speech to text engine is vastly improving. The STT engine gives you the ability to dictate messages without typing on the keyboard. I’ve even demonstrated how you can use your Android to dictate memos using Google Docs.

Accessorize

Mobile device accessories are a hot market. I know I’ve talked about enough of them, especially lately. But quite honestly, nothing will help you fall more in love with your mobile device than adding an accessory.

For beginners, I’d suggest a keyboard. There are dozens of Bluetooth keyboards, each with it’s own set of bells and whistles. Ultimately, they’re pretty much all the same. I suggest looking on Amazon, reading the reviews, then playing “eeny, meeny, miney, moe” to pick the best one. I doubt you’ll be disappointed.

Slightly more advanced user should pick between a portable battery (I like this one), Bluetooth speaker, or even a charging dock.

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For the well initiated Android lover, you need to try one of these portable projectors.

Of course, everyone should get a Chromecast dongle, but I’m not even going to discuss that.

You’re in blissful admiration

You might wonder why I only picked these four things. Simple, it’s my blog. But, I should also mention a fifth element: experiment.

I love that I can play around with my Android device and not really screw them up…at least too badly. The easiest way out of any bad move is to factory reset, so have fun. If you’re syncing up with Google, then your contacts, pictures, and calendar all stay in the cloud. They’ll return to your device when you reconnect.

So, perhaps the sixth easiest way to fall more in love with Android device is to actually start new. Clean off old apps, delete old photos and videos, and “forget” the drunk texts. Make your device like new.

When you follow these tips you regain your love of Android. Now, go add some spark to your relationship.

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Jeff Taylor

I’m just an ordinary guy living an extraordinary life. I’m also an attorney and I blog about Android for lawyers. You can follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, or Google+.