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androidgamedevelopmenttutorialIf you’ve recently updated your Android device to the newest Android OS version (Jelly Bean), or recently purchased a new Android device that came with the updated operating system already loaded on, you might be wondering what features it has to offer.

Don’t let all the cool new features the Android OS has to offer go to waste! With these Android tips, tricks, and features, you can ensure you’re getting the most out of your new device. Still stuck? Learn how to operate any Android device with this handy guide.

While you’re at it, consider downloading the Udemy Android app from the Google Play store, and keep track of all Udemy’s courses and tutorials!

Android Tips and Tricks

What’s This Song widget can identify songs just by hearing them

Never go crazy trying to identify the name of a song again! With Google’s “What’s This Song” widget, you can find out immediately just by holding your phone up to the audio source.

Hand’s Free Google Searching

Tired of autocorrect trying to fix your keywords while you’re typing up a search? All you have to do now is say “Google,” and the new hand’s free Google search function will open up voice search options. No more typing, or needing to click on the mic icon.

Personalized, modified voice recognition

Do you ever have trouble getting the voice recognition options to understand what you’re saying? Perhaps you have an accent that the function is struggling with interpreting, or you use a certain inflection on specific words that it doesn’t know. It just isn’t fair that the voice recognition system can’t work for everyone.

Well, now it can! Or it can try, at least. Just follow these easy steps, and you’ll be on your way to easier voice recognition on your Android device.

1. Open Settings

2. Tap Language and Input

3. Under Speech, find the option for text-to-speech output

4. Check the Personalized Recognition option

Take note, this feature won’t improve the accuracy of your speech recognition right away. It will take time for it to slowly begin to learn your unique inflections and pronunciations, but in the long run, it will be worth it.

Send a text in response to a phone call

It can be inconvenient receiving an incoming call during a time you can’t respond, especially when that call might be something that needs a response as soon as possible. To prevent possibly awkward scenarios now or later, you can use the text response function to send a text message to a missed caller.

The way to do this, on most Samsung devices, is slide the answer call button up, rather than to the left or the right. This will bring up a box of text message options, which will notify the caller that you’re busy. You can create a custom text message yourself as well. Selecting one of these options will automatically send that text to the caller.

Real time map of space, free

Sky Map is a free, Android-only app that lets you see a map of space, including planets, constellations, and even real-time meteor showers, just by pointing your device up at the sky.

It isn’t a must-have app unless you’re interested in astronomy, but considering the only similar options available on iOS are expensive, this is a pretty good deal.

Display contact information on your device’s home screen

Trying to return a lost phone to someone isn’t as easy as it sounds. It’s rarely immediately apparent who the phone belongs to, and searching through someone’s personal contacts and social media accounts trying to find out who they are can make you feel like a total creep… even if it’s for a good cause!

With this new feature, available to Android 4.1 and 4.2 users, Android device owners can display their contact information on the lock screen. Here are instructions to use it:

1. Open Settings

2. Tap Security

3. Find the Screen Security section

4. Tap the Owner Info option

5. Enter in the contact information you’d be comfortable sharing with a stranger

Use inverted rendering to save battery life while browsing the web

Being able to read articles and browse the web on your phone is really convenient… sometimes so convenient, you might find yourself on there long enough to drain a significant amount of your phone’s battery life. Give your battery, and your eyes, a break by using the inverted rendering option.

Inverted rendering will switch black and white in the default Chrome browser, making most websites with the default white background and black text easier on the eyes. This will also save battery life by reducing the phone’s brightness.

1. Open the browser’s settings

2. Tap Accessibility

3. Tap Inverted Rendering

Download a map from Google Maps

One of the best parts about owning an Android device is its integration with Google Maps and Navigation. But have you ever tried navigating using Google Maps in an area with no cell phone reception or spotty internet?

Now you can download portions of maps off Google Maps, and save them for offline viewing. All you need to do is make sure your phone is connected to the internet, click the icon with the three dots in the lower right corner, and tap on the “Make available offline” option. It will let you crop the area of the map you want to save, and store it for offline viewing.

Pay with a simple phone bump using the NFC function

NFC, or Near Field Communication, is not a commonly used technology in the United States, but it’s starting to spread elsewhere, especially in parts of Asia and Europe. This feature allows users to bump their phone against another to exchange data, such as images and files. Payment sensors can also be used to make purchases.

Just enter the Wireless & Networks settings, and check the NFC option to activate this feature.

Looking for help developing apps for Android devices? Take a look at some of the courses below.

Page Last Updated: January 2014

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