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Android: What It Is and How to Use It

Android: What It Is and How to Use It

Автором Roger Carter

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Android: What It Is and How to Use It

Автором Roger Carter

4/5 (1 оценка)
129 pages
1 hour
Jan 8, 2021


This book explains not just how to use your Android smartphone or tablet, but what Android is and the roles played by the different parts of the Android desktop.
It is aimed at retired people and others who may be struggling with their Android device, and it can be used as study material by u3a Android or smartphone groups.

Jan 8, 2021

Об авторе

Roger Carter has had a varied career, including working as a studio manager at the BBC, working for the British overseas civil service in the Solomon Islands, and running his own business. From 1975 to 2000 he was a lecturer at what is now the Buckinghamshire New University, and during this time he wrote 20 student textbooks, including Quantitative Methods for Business Students and Business Administration for the Computer Age (both published by Heinemann) as well as books on information technology and computer software (various publishers).He is now retired and lives with his wife Sandra in Buckinghamshire, England. They have two children and five grandchildren.In 2018 he helped set up the Bourne End & District U3A, and became its first Chair.

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Android - Roger Carter


What it is and how to use it

By Roger Carter

Copyright 2021 Roger Carter

Smashwords Edition

Smashwords License Notes

Thank you for downloading this free ebook. You are welcome to share it with your friends. This book may be reproduced, copied and distributed for non-commercial purposes, provided the book remains in its complete original form. Thank you for your support.

Table of Contents


1 What is Android?

1.1 History of Android

1.2 Google and Android

1.3 Google and You

1.4 What is Android?

1.5 The Android Desktop

2 Touchscreen Interactions

2.1 History of Computer Desktop Environments

2.2 Android Gestures

2.3 Press then Tap

2.4 Copy and Paste

2.5 The On-screen Keyboard

2.6 Using the Spacebar to Move the Cursor

2.7 Android Icons

3 The Home Screen and the Navigation Bar

3.1 The Parts of the Android Desktop

3.2 The Navigation Bar

3.3 The Home Screen

3.4 Home Screen Gestures

3.5 The Home Menu

3.6 Organizing the Home Screen

3.7 Overflow Home Screens

Appendix to Chapter 3: Google Discover & Assistant

3.8 Google Discover

3.9 Snapshot

3.10 Google Assistant

4 Managing Apps and Widgets

4.1 The Recent Apps Screen

4.2 Split Screen

4.3 The App Drawer

4.4 App Screens

4.5 Widgets

4.6 The Direct Dial Widget

4.7 Doing More with Apps

5 Settings

5.1 The Settings App

5.2 Quick Settings

5.3 The Settings Widget

5.4 Some Important Settings

6 The Hardware

6.1 Processor and Memory

6.2 The Card Slots

6.3 Wifi, Cellular Networks, and Bluetooth

6.4 GPS

6.5 Screen Size and Resolution

6.6 Audio Connections

6.7 The Micro USB Port

6.8 The Battery

6.9 The Camera

6.10 The Microphone

7 Contacts and Sharing

7.1 The Cloud

7.2 Shared Folders

7.3 Sharing Files

7.4 Contacts

7.5 The Contacts App

7.6 Adding an Account

7.7 Adding a New Contact

7.8 Email or Message Multiple Contacts

7.9 Contact Groups

7.10 Other Facilities

8 Doing More with Apps

8.1 The Play Store

8.2 My App Selection

8.3 The Typical App

8.4 ReadEra

8.5 File Manager Plus

8.6 Google Go

8.7 Microsoft Edge Web Browser

8.8 Google Drive and Google One

8.9 Autosync for Google Drive (DriveSync)

8.10 Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides

8.11 WPS Office

8.12 ClipTo Pro

8.13 Google Lens and Plantnet

8.14 Find My Device

8.15 WhatsApp Messenger

8.16 VLC (VideoLAN Player)

8.17 BorrowBox Library

8.18 BBC Apps (News, Weather, Sounds, iPlayer)

8.19 Google Maps

8.20 Maps.Me

8.21 Locus Map and GPX Viewer

8.22 UK Bus Checker

8.23 Snapseed and TouchRetouch

8.24 Easy Voice Recorder


This book has grown out of a set of notes prepared for the Android Group of the Bourne End & District U3A here in the UK. It explains not just how to use your Android smartphone or tablet, but what Android is and the roles played by the different parts of the Android desktop.

I hope the book will be of help not just to members of other U3As with Android devices, but anyone struggling to master them, especially retired people. And although your grandchildren will always be more agile with these devices than you, you should end up knowing more about Android than they do, and you might even be able to teach them a trick or two!

U3A groups can copy extracts from this book for study purposes, provided they acknowledge the source of the material.

Roger Carter

1 What is Android?

What is Android? I’ll answer this question shortly. First, so you understand how Android fits into the grand scheme of things, here’s some background.

1.1 History of Android

Like so many tech startups, Android Inc was founded in California with just a few thousand dollars of cash (this was back in 2003). Its aim was to develop an operating system for digital cameras, but the company soon realized that that this market was far too small and decided instead to target mobile phones (though this would compete with existing phone operating systems, Microsoft Windows Mobile and Symbian).

Google bought Android Inc in 2005 for more than $50 million, which seemed a lot at the time but has since paid off handsomely. Under Google’s ownership, Android was completely rewritten as a Linux-based operating system. (Linux is used on many computers - I’m writing this on an old laptop running Linux instead of its original Windows 7 operating system - as well as on many smart devices.) At the same time Google lined up hardware and software partners to create suitable handsets for their new operating system - in those days these were quite primitive as touchscreens had not been invented so they had a (tiny) physical keyboard.

Then in 2007 Apple brought out the iPhone with its touchscreen and on-screen keyboard, and the world changed. The Android developers had to return to the drawing board, and just over a year later the first touchscreen smartphone running Android became available. Since then Android has seen numerous updates, which from the third update have been named after a dessert (Cinnamon, Doughnut, Eclair, and so on through the alphabet up to Pie). A numbering system was also applied (so Pie was also called Android 9), and the latest updates have been numbered only (after Pie came Android 10, then Android 11).

A multitude of apps for Android have also been created (some 3 million of them), covering everything from word processing to mobile navigation to watching Netflix. At the same time the phones themselves have progressed by leaps and bounds, so that today you can buy for a little over £100 a high-quality phone with a fast processor and plenty of memory and a surprisingly good camera. As well as that, you can enjoy unlimited phone calls and enough data to do everything you could reasonably want for less than £10 a month.

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