In This Chapter
Freeing the phone from its box
Installing things inside the phone
Charging the battery
Familiarizing yourself with the phone
Obtaining optional accessories
Taking the phone with you
Keeping the phone in one place
It may have a fancy name, like a character in a science fiction novel or a sports hero. Or it can simply be a fancy number, perhaps with the letter X thrown in to spice it up. No matter what, the phone you own is an Android phone because it runs the Android operating system. Before getting into this detail, let me specify that the adventure you’re about to undertake begins with removing the thing from the box and getting to know your new smartphone.
Liberation and Setup
The phone works best when you remove it from its box. The procedure differs depending on whether you’re a technology nut or someone desperate to make a phone call. I prefer to gingerly open the box, delicately lifting the various flaps and tenderly setting everything aside. I even savor the industrial solvent smell. If you prefer, you can just dump everything on the tabletop. But be careful: Your phone may be compact, but it’s not cheap.
Several useful items might be found inside your Android phone’s box. Some of them are immediately useful, and others you should consider saving for later. Even if you’ve already opened the box and spread its contents across the table like some sort of tiny yard sale, take a few moments to locate and identify these specific items:
The phone itself, which may be fully assembled or in two or more pieces
Papers, instructions, a warranty, and perhaps a tiny, useless Getting Started pamphlet
The phone’s battery, which might already be installed inside the phone
The phone’s back cover, which also might already be on the phone
The charger/data cable or USB cable
The charger head, which is a wall adapter for the charger/data cable
Other stuff, such as a SIM card holder or MicroSD card or other scary electronic tidbits
The phone itself may ship with a clingy, static, plastic cover over its screen, back, or other parts. The plastic thingies tell you where various features are located or how to install the battery. You can remove all plastic, clingy sheets at this time.
You might have been given, in addition to the items described in the preceding list, a bonus package of goodies from whoever sold you the phone. If the outfit is classy, you have a handy little tote bag with perhaps the Phone Company’s logo on it. Inside the bag, you might find these items:
A smart-looking, leatherette belt-clip phone holster
A micro-USB car charger
A car windshield mount
A phone case
A desktop dock or multimedia station
Even more random pieces of paper
The most important doodad is the phone itself, which might require some assembly before you can use it; refer to the next section for directions.
You can safely set aside all this stuff until you put the phone together. I recommend keeping the instructions and other information as long as you own the phone: The phone’s box makes an excellent storage place for that stuff — as well as for anything else you don’t plan to use right away.
If anything is missing or appears to be damaged, immediately contact the folks who sold you the phone.
The phone’s box contains everything you need in order to use the phone. Anything extra you buy merely enhances the phone-using experience.
See the later section “Adding accessories” for a description of various goodies you can obtain for the typical Android phone.
If the Getting Started pamphlet is written in Spanish, turn it over. Often times the English and Spanish instructions are contained in one booklet but are written on opposite sides.
The vast majority of Android phones come disassembled in their boxes. The primary thing that’s missing is the battery, which must be installed into the phone. The phone’s back cover must then be attached. Only if your phone has no removable battery does it come fully assembled, and even then it may have a MicroSD card (memory) that you must install.
The most extreme assembly involves Android phones that require the battery, SIM card, and MicroSD card to be installed. The following sections offer a general idea of how everything fits together.
Oftentimes, the people who sell you the phone assemble the thing for you. That’s a plus. Even so, it helps to know how to open your phone, access its guts, and reassemble it. Such knowledge comes in handy at a later time.
Opening the phone
Your cell phone isn’t a refrigerator, and you don’t need to open it all the time in the hope that the Sandwich Fairy will hand you a quick snack. But there are times when you may need to open the device, to replace the battery or access the MicroSD card.
If you’ve just received your phone, it might already be in an opened state. Skip to the next section for information on installing the battery.
The process of opening the phone involves removing its back cover. It happens in two general ways:
Use your thumbs to slide the back cover up (or down) and lift it off the phone.
Insert a thumbnail into the slot on the phone’s top or edge, and pop off the back cover.
In either case, the phone is facing away from you when you pop off the back cover.
After the cover is removed, set it aside. You can then add or remove items from the phone’s crammed interior.
See the later section “Closing the phone” for information on replacing the back cover.
If your new phone comes disassembled inside its box, the back cover may not be attached. Look for the cover and set it aside until after you’ve installed the battery and other components.
Don’t fret if you hear a clicking or popping sound when you pop off the back cover; this type of noise occurs normally when you remove a cover that doesn’t slide off.
Not every Android phone has a removable back cover. If yours doesn’t, that’s fine.
Installing the battery
The most common thing to install in a new Android phone is the battery. The battery is supplied separately inside the box, and unless the friendly folks at the Phone Store installed the battery for you, it’s your job to stick it inside your new phone.
Before installing the battery, ensure that you don’t first need to install other items in your phone. For example, some phones require installation of the MicroSD card before the battery is installed.
Obey these steps to stick the battery into your phone:
1. If necessary, remove the battery from its plastic bag.
2. Remove the phone’s back cover, as discussed in the preceding section.
3. Orient the battery.
The battery goes in only one way, but because of its shape, it can be inserted improperly.
Look for an arrow or for written directions on the battery or inside the phone to find a hint to the proper orientation.
4. Place the battery in the phone so that the contacts on the battery match
the ones on the connector insidethe phone.
the ones on the connector insidethe phone.
Figure 1-1 illustrates an example of inserting the battery into an Android phone.
Figure 1-1: Sticking the battery in your phone.
5. Insert the battery the rest of the way, as though you’re closing the lid on
a tiny box.
a tiny box.
When the battery is properly installed, it lies flush with the back of the phone.
After the battery is installed, your next step is to charge it. See the later section “Charge the Battery,” and keep in mind that you may have additional items to install in your phone, as covered in the next several sections.
Removing the battery
It’s not common, but you may need to remove the phone’s battery. An example of a reason to replace the battery is to install a better model or access other items obscured by the battery inside the phone.
To remove the battery, follow these steps:
1. Remove the phone’s back cover and set it aside.
2. Locate the “lift here” or “pull” tab on or around the battery.
3. Lift the battery out of the phone.
Just as you insert the battery, removing the battery works like opening the lid on a tiny box.
Set the battery aside.
If you’re replacing the battery, store the original inside a nonmetallic box in a dark, dry location. If you need to dispose of the battery, do so properly; batteries are classified as hazardous waste and should not merely be placed in the trash can.
Installing the SIM card
A SIM card is used to identify a certain phone on a digital cellular network. Before you can use your phone, you must insert the SIM card into the phone’s guts.
If the kind people at the Phone Store haven’t installed the SIM card, you must do so yourself. Follow these steps:
1. If necessary, remove the phone’s back cover. Further, if required,
remove the phone’s battery.
remove the phone’s battery.
2. Remove the SIM card from its container.
For a 4G LTE SIM card, pop the card out of the credit-card-size holder.
3. Insert the SIM card into the SIM card slot inside your phone.
The SIM slot on some phones and mobile devices is on the device’s outer edge. If so, open the tiny SIM slot cover and insert the SIM card into the slot.
The SIM card is shaped in such a way that it’s impossible to insert improperly. If the card doesn’t slide into the slot, reorient the card and try again.
4. Replace the battery and the phone’s back cover.
Well, you might want to skip Step 4, especially if you need to install a MicroSD card inside your phone. Keep reading in the next section.
SIM stands for Subscriber Identity Module.
You rarely, if ever, need to remove the SIM card.
The SIM card can be used to store information, such as electronic messages and names and addresses, though you probably won’t use this feature. See Chapter 8 for information on storing names and addresses on your Android phone.
A typical way to use a SIM is to replace a broken phone with a new one: You plug the SIM from the old phone into the new phone, and instantly the phone is recognized as your own. Of course, the two phones need to use similar cellular networks for the transplant operation to be successful.
SIM cards are required for GSM cellular networks as well as for 4G LTE networks.
Installing the MicroSD card
Many Android phones feature two forms of storage: internal and removable. Removable storage comes in the form of a memory card called the MicroSD card.
Not every phone uses the MicroSD card for storage. If yours does, you may have to install one. Further, if your phone didn’t come supplied with a MicroSD card, either preinstalled or loose in the phone’s box, you have to purchase one. In either case, you must install the card to get the most from your phone. Heed these directions:
1. If necessary, remove the phone’s back cover.
2. Locate the slot into which you stick the MicroSD card.
In some cases, you must remove the battery to access the MicroSD card slot.
3. Insert the MicroSD card into the slot.
The card goes in only one way. If you’re fortunate, a little outline of the card inside the phone illustrates the proper orientation.
You may hear a faint clicking sound when the card is fully inserted.
4. Reinstall the battery (if necessary), and reassemble the phone.
To remove the card, open the phone and, if necessary, remove the battery. Push in the MicroSD card a tad, and a spring then releases the card and nudges it out a few fractions of an inch. Use your fingernail to help grab the card and pull it out the rest of the way.
MicroSD cards are teensy! Keep them in a safe place where you won’t lose them.
Some MicroSD card adapters you can buy allow their data to be read by a computer, via either a standard Secure Digital (SD) memory slot or the USB port.
If you’re upgrading to a new Android phone, simply remove the MicroSD card from the old phone and install it on the new one. By doing so, you instantly transfer your pictures, music, and videos.
MicroSD cards come in capacities rated in gigabytes (GB), just like most media storage or memory cards. Common MicroSD card capacities are 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB. The maximum size allowed on your phone depends on its design; some older phones cannot read higher-capacity MicroSD cards.
Closing the phone
When you’re done with phone surgery, you need to close up the patient. Specifically, you must reinstall anything you removed — battery, SIM card, MicroSD card — and reattach the back cover.
The back cover affixes itself to the phone in the reverse manner in which it was removed:
Position the cover over any slots or tab holes, and then use your thumbs to slide the back cover up (or down) to secure it on the phone.
Position the cover directly over the back of the phone, and then press it gently on all sides to seal it shut.
When the back cover is on properly, you should see no gaps or raised edges. If the cover doesn’t seem to go on all the way, try again. Never force it!
Charge the Battery
The phone’s battery may have enough oomph in it to run the setup-and- configuration process at the Phone Store. If so, count yourself lucky. Otherwise, you need to charge the phone’s battery. Don’t worry about flying a kite and waiting for a lightning storm. Instead, follow these steps:
1. If necessary, assemble the charging cord.
Connect the charger head (the plug thing) to the USB cable that comes with the phone. They connect in only one way.
2. Plug the charger head and cable into a wall socket.
3. Plug the phone into the USB cable.
The charger cord plugs into the micro-USB connector, found at the phone’s side or bottom. The connector plugs in only one way.
As the phone charges, a notification light on the phone’s front side may glow. Some phones may use lights in different colors to show that the phone is charging, such as orange yellow or blinking green.
The phone may turn on when you plug it in for a charge. That’s okay, but read Chapter 2 to find out what to do the first time the phone turns on. You also may need to contact your cellular provider for additional setup instructions before you turn on the phone.
I recommend fully charging the phone before you use it.
An Android phone’s notification light commonly glows a steady green when it’s fully charged.
Not every Android phone has a notification light. In this case, you hear notification sounds to alert you to the battery’s state.
I’ve seen notification lights that use three colors: amber for charging, green for fully charged, and scary red for warning that the battery is low. Not every Android phone uses these colors.
You can use the phone while it’s charging.
You can charge the phone in your car, using what was once called a cigarette lighter. Simply ensure that your car cell phone charger features the proper connector for your phone or that it’s specifically designed for use with your cell phone brand.
The phone also charges itself whenever it’s plugged into a computer by way of a USB cable. The computer must be on for charging to work.
Cell phones charge more quickly when plugged into the wall than to a computer’s USB port or a car adapter.
Many Android phones use the micro-USB connector. This connector has a flat, trapezoid shape, which makes it different from the mini-USB connector, which is squat and slightly larger and used primarily on evil cell phones.
Generic Android Phone Orientation
First impressions are everlasting. Your Android phone is, no doubt, a new thing. It’s also an important thing that will grow to become an important part of your life. Now is not the time to botch your introduction!
It helps to know what’s what on your new phone. Rather than fumble to find things later and never learn the names of its doodads, take a few seconds to examine your phone and locate important features and points of interest.
Recognizing things on your phone
I think it’s cute when people refer to things they don’t know as a doodad or thingamabob. Cute, but inaccurate. Take a gander at Figure 1-2, which illustrates common things found on the front and back of a typical Android cell phone.
Figure 1-2: Your phone’s face and rump.
The terms referenced in Figure 1-2 are the same as the terms used elsewhere in this book and in whatever scant Android phone documentation exists.
Not shown in Figure 1-2 is a physical keyboard, found on several Android phone models. The keyboard might be found below the touchscreen, or it might be hidden behind the touchscreen. See Chapter 4 for additional information on your phone’s keyboard.
The phone’s Power Lock button, which turns the phone off or on, is found atop the phone, as shown in Figure 1-2, or it may be on the side.
The main part of the phone is its touchscreen display. You use the touchscreen with one or more of your fingers to control the phone, which is where it gets the name touchscreen.
Not every Android phone features a front-facing camera.
Some Android phones feature a pointing device, a trackball or keypad, that can be used to move a cursor to edit text, select links on a web page, or manipulate the phone in an interesting and useful manner. See Chapter 4 for details.
The soft buttons appear below the touchscreen. Your phone may have two, three, or four of them, and they may sport different symbols depending on your phone’s manufacturer. See Chapter 3 for more information.
The Power / USB connector is the spot on the phone where you connect a USB cable. You use this cable to charge the phone or to communicate with a computer. See Chapter 20 for information on using the cable to connect to a computer and share files.
Not every Android phone has an HDMI connector (refer to Figure 1-2). This connector allows the phone to use an external HDMI monitor or TV set to show movies, watch slide shows, or do other interesting things. See Chapter 20.
The main microphone is found on the bottom of the phone. Even so, it picks up your voice loud and clear. You don’t need to hold the phone at an angle for the microphone to work.
The phone’s volume can be adjusted by using the Volume button found on the phone’s left or right side (refer to Figure 1-2).
The Volume button might also be used as the Zoom function when using the phone’s camera. See Chapter 15 for more information.
You don’t need to use earphones to get the most from your Android phone, but it helps! If the nice folks who sold you the phone tossed in a pair earphones, that’s wonderful! If they didn’t, well then, they weren’t so nice, were they?
The most common type of cell phone earphones are the earbud style: The buds are set into your ears. The sharp, pointy end of the earphones, which you don’t want to stick into your ear, plugs into the top of the phone.
Between the earbuds and the sharp, pointy thing is often found a doodle on which a button sits. The button can be used to mute the phone or to start or stop the playback of music when the phone is in its music-playing mode.
You can also use the Doodle button to answer the phone when it rings.
A teensy hole that’s usually on the back side of the doodle serves as the phone’s microphone. The mic allows you to wear the earphones and talk on the phone while keeping your hands free. If you gesture while you speak, you’ll find this feature invaluable.
You can purchase any standard cell phone headset for use with your phone. Ensure that the headset features a microphone; you need to talk and listen on a phone.
Some headsets feature extra doodle buttons. These headsets work fine with your phone, though the extra buttons may not do anything specific.
The earbuds are labeled R for right and L for left.
See Chapter 16 for more information on using your Android phone as a portable music player.
Be sure to fully insert the earphone connector into the phone. The person you’re talking with can’t hear you well when the earphones are plugged in only part of the way.
You can also use a Bluetooth headset with your phone, to listen to a call or some music. See Chapter 19 for more information on Bluetooth.
Fold the earphones when you don’t need them, as opposed to wrapping them in a loop. Put the earbuds and connector in one hand, and then pull the wire straight out with the other hand. Fold the wire in half and then in half again. You can then put the earphones in your pocket or on a tabletop. By folding the wires, you avoid creating one of those wire balls made of Christmas tree lights.
Beyond earphones, you can find an entire Phone Store full of accessories and baubles you can obtain for your Android phone. The variety is seemingly endless, and the prices, well, they ain’t cheap.
A docking station is a heavy base into which you can set your phone. The most basic model simply props up the phone so that you can easily see it. I use the basic docking station on my nightstand, where my Android phone serves as my alarm clock. (See Chapter 17.)
More advanced docking stations offer HDMI output, USB connections, and perhaps even a laptop-size screen and keyboard.
If you plan to use the phone while driving, a car mount is a must-have item. It provides a cradle into which you set your Android phone. It may also have a cable you can use to charge the phone while you drive. That way, the phone is handy and visible for making calls, listening to music, finding navigation instructions, or undertaking other interesting activities while you perilously navigate the roads.
Inductive charging coil
Though it sounds like a bogus technical term from the old Star Trek TV show, an inductive charging coil is a new technology you can really use. Basically, the coil replaces the battery and back cover so that you can wirelessly charge your phone. Not every Android phone manufacturer provides the inductive charging coil as an option.
If your Android phone features an HDMI connector, you can obtain an HDMI cable. Using the cable, your phone can throw its sound and image onto a computer monitor or TV screen. It may sound like a silly thing at first, but I’ve used the HDMI cable on my Android phones so that the whole family can sit around our large-screen TV and enjoy rented movies. See Chapter 17 for more information about renting movies on your phone.
A Home for Your Phone
I’ve been in more than one older home that features a special vault in the wall, into which the phone was set. Later on, phones just sat on tables or were affixed to walls. Then came the cordless era, where phones were stored in couch cushions. Today’s cell phones? They end up everywhere! Well, that is, unless you read my handy advice on where to store the phone, as described in this section.
Toting your Android phone
The compact design of the modern cell phone is perfect for a pocket or even the teensiest of party purses. It’s well designed so that you can carry your phone in your pocket or handbag without fearing that something will accidentally turn it on, dial Mongolia, and run up a heck of a cell phone bill.
Your Android phone most likely features a proximity sensor, so you can even keep the phone in your pocket while you’re on a call. The proximity sensor disables the touchscreen, which ensures that nothing accidentally gets touched when you don’t want it to be touched.
Though it’s okay to place the phone somewhere when you’re making a call, be careful not to touch the phone’s Power Lock button (refer to Figure 1-2). Doing so may temporarily enable the touchscreen, which can hang up a call, mute the phone, or do any of a number of undesirable things.
You can always store your phone in one of a variety of handsome carrying case accessories, some of which come in fine Naugahyde or leatherette.
Don’t forget that the phone is in your pocket, especially in your coat or jacket. You might accidentally sit on the phone, or it can fly out when you take off your coat. The worst fate for any cell phone is to take a trip through the wash. I’m sure the phone has nightmares about it.
Storing the phone
I recommend that you find a place for your phone when you’re not taking it with you. Make the spot consistent: on top of your desk or workstation, in the kitchen, on the nightstand — you get the idea. Phones are as prone to being misplaced as are your car keys and glasses. Consistency is the key to finding your phone.
Then again, your phone rings, so when you lose it, you can always have someone else call your cell phone to help you locate it.
Any of the various docking stations makes a handsome, permanent location for your Android phone.
I store my phone on my desk, next to my computer. Conveniently, I have the charger plugged into the computer so that the phone remains plugged in, connected, and charging when I’m not using it.
Phones on coffee tables get buried under magazines and are often squished when rude people put their feet on the furniture.
Avoid putting your phone in direct sunlight; heat is bad news for any electronic gizmo.
Do not put your phone in the laundry (see the preceding section). See Chapter 23 for information on properly cleaning the phone.