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5 Google Android Tips Every User Should Use

written by: Regina Woodard•edited by: Simon Hill•updated: 4/16/2010

Google Android is a very capable mobile Operating System. In this article I offer 5 tips that can help users get the most out of their Android Devices. Each tip is simple to implement and offers added functionality to Google device users.

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    Tip #1 - Use MPEG-4 H.264 Whenever Possible

    Google Android has built-in hardware for video playback acceleration. Specifically the hardware is meant to give MPEG-4 H.264 file playback a much smoother return on your display. You can find the settings for MPEG-4 playback on the standard Google Android "Video Player" which unfortunately has to be downloaded from the Android Marketplace, as Android does not come equipped with a video player. On the other hand the Video Player is free and downloads in a matter of seconds.

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    Tip #2 - Use The Hard Search Key Whenever Possible

    The little symbol on your Google Android front screen that looks like a magnifying glass will quickly bring you to the Google Search Page, which is a great feature for quick online searching, however the key can also be used for even further convenience. For instance, if you're on any Google built website, such as YouTube you can click on that same option and the program will then search that Google owned website for any search term you type into the search box that appears.

    Another great function of this feature is that it is a specific box for each app, for YouTube it may be just a typical search box, whereas for Google Maps you will be prompted for information pertaining to that program such as address, city, state, zipcode, etc.

    For quick launch search functionality that's specific to Google webpages there really isn't anything better than the included search functionality of Google Android.

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    Tip #3 - Shop Using ShopSavvy

    Google Android features a free downloadable program (from the Android Marketplace), known as ShopSavvy. This program allows users to scan barcodes (using their device's camera) on any product at the stores they visit and then using their device's data connection they can connect to find local stores that carry the products that have been scanned, including the prices available at those other local stores.

    If you're a big price comparison shopper this is a must have application, and with no cost to download what do you have to lose?

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    Tip #4 - Buy a MicroSDHC Card

    I know this seems simple enough, but a lot of users don't buy memory cards, and they only cost about $20 for an 8GB MicroSDHC card from Kingston Technologies. Needless to say these cards have some great purposes. For instance the expanded memory can be used to backup your important files, to add more music that's easily uploadable and swappable from your PC, and to install programs directly on your memory cards leaving your device with more on-board memory and thus faster program capabilities (since your device isn't bogged down with installed apps and less left over memory).

    Memory cards are cheap to purchase, offer more data sync abilities, and typically come with life time limited warranties. Worth getting if for no other reason than a memory card allows you to more easily share your information with your PC and your friend's devices as well.

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    Tip #5 - Learn To Use Shortcut Keys

    If you want to take advantage of special characters, delete entire lines of text, use only capital letters, or other functions it's important that you learn how to do each of those with ease using device shortcut keys. Below is a list of several popular options I use on a regular basis.

    1. Insert special character: Press ALT + Spacebar
    2. Highlight text: Press Shift and roll Trackball
    3. Turn on all caps: Press Shift Twice
    4. Delete entire line of text: Press ALT + Delete
    5. Move cursor to end or beginning of text: Press Alt while scrolling Trackball
    6. Insert a Tab space: Press Alt + Q
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    Conclusion

    The Google Android mobile Operating System is still in its infancy, but the number of operations that can be mastered are already numerous and will surely continue to grow as new updates become available. Whether you want to use Android Apps to serve your everyday needs or just learn some simple tips to help you more easily navigate your device I hope the information above gave you a little more insight into your device's capabilities. I'll continue to post more tips and tricks in the near future. Stay tuned.