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Android app suggestions for a complete and utter noob? - Which is not unduly obvious, as I am about to explain
Android app suggestions for a complete and utter noob?
It looks like I'm going to be getting a Moto E phone, which I'll use maybe three times a year when I go on trips, then leave in a drawer for months on end. I've never used Android before - this comes with 4.4.2 - and I'm looking for app recommendations. I don't need many, but I don't know what the OS comes with, and here's the basic list of things I'll use the phone for, and not much else:

- Most of all, for SMS texting. (And occasionally Twitter, but pretty infrequently.) In my ancient phone, I activated this from my address book. When there were people I was unlikely to need to contact, I'd add a "z" to the start of their name so they'd get bounced to the bottom of the list. So if there's a way of organizing contacts by assigning them into multiple groups or categories or something, that would be great!

- An easy way to make quick notes to myself. Related to this, any recommendations for a good keyboard app? I've heard mention of something called "SwiftKey". I am a klutzy finger-typist and it'd be really convenient to have basic punctuation on the same screen as the lowercase letters.

- Making phone calls, occasionally. I might also want to install some other ringtones, but I don't know what's involved.

- E-mail. I probably won't be using GMail; instead it would be nice to make a POP connection to my home ISP and download new messages, but without deleting the originals from my ISP's mail server.

- GPS, map viewing, optionally with something that gives driving directions (but that last one would be used very rarely).

- Any app that can shut down other apps to prevent unwanted roaming charges, or stop background programs that use up the battery life.

- Web browser preference? Ways to minimize downloading extra unwanted data?

That's about it! Halp! Or if not, can anyone point me to useful resources? :-)
6 comments or Leave a comment
atara From: atara Date: July 5th, 2014 02:16 am (UTC) (Link)
* The native SMS and Contacts app is all I use. It's pretty easy.
* Evernote is great for notes to yourself. Better, if you install the desktop app (or use their web interface on your computer) you can make a note for yourself on your computer and it'll synch to your phone. It can handle text and images... When we were researching furniture I took pics of each candidate chair and the price tag, and then looked up info about the manufacturer. Also, Swype should be integrated into your phone already, and it's similar to Swiftkey.
* Ringtones: basically put an MP3 into the phone and set it as a ringtone. Some phones have a few more steps; I'd have to see it to walk you through it, probably.
* The native mail app is all I use. It can handle POP and IMAP. You can set it to leave the messages on the server.
* Google Maps should be already installed. Google Now should be able to help you navigate to where you're going. If you have an appointment on your phone with a location for the appointment indicated, it'll even tell you when you'll have to leave to get there on time. (Uncanny valley level creepy there.)
* Turning off syncing will prevent the phone from polling for updates to things. (Oh, that reminds me, I need to turn mine back on!)
* I use a few different browsers, and am currently partial to Firefox.

kfops From: kfops Date: July 5th, 2014 01:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
A second most of these motions! The ones I don't, I've never actually used (like custom ring-tones). Because I'm lame.

I've got Firefox set-up with Firefox sync on all my machines and phone, so helpfully all bookmarks, history, etc. are shared. It's a pretty handy feature.

Installing the Adblock Plus extension on my laptop Firefox also resulted in having the extension automatically installed on my phone, which makes for pretty low-ad-level browsing, too.
dronon From: dronon Date: July 6th, 2014 03:30 am (UTC) (Link)
Hey thanks! (to you and Kfops!)

I dunno when we'll hang out together next, but it might partially involve more Android questions. :P
pierrekrahn From: pierrekrahn Date: July 6th, 2014 02:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
One feature that millions of people love but that I hate with a passion is auto-correct. I disabled mine.

The reason I disable it is if I accidentally misspell something, Android (and other OS's too) will take an educated guess as to what I was trying to say. Often (not always) it will completely change the word. If I notice I have to manually delete and type the whole word again. If I didn't notice the message would be sent with a confusing word. However if it leaves it misspelled, often the reader can figure out what you meant.

It's the difference between saying you want a "homburger" for lunch or a "home made" for lunch.

dronon From: dronon Date: July 6th, 2014 03:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
When does auto-correct kick in, after you finish the message? I poked at a couple of phones at Best Buy, and I liked the.. thingy... auto-complete/word suggestions feature, when I was partway through typing my word (badly) and it would give me full-word suggestions, that was something I found really handy. But if it changed the word after I'd finished typing without my input or choice, yeah, that would piss me off.
pierrekrahn From: pierrekrahn Date: July 6th, 2014 03:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
It corrects as soon as you finish your word (so putting a space or a punctuation).

I also disabled the auto-complete/word suggestion. I found myself accidentally hitting those when I didn't intend too. Plus I found "finding" the word in the list too just as long as typing it out in the first place. Again, I'm sure millions of people love that feature but I don't. I think if I had a phone with a bigger screen it might help with that feature though.
6 comments or Leave a comment