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Old January 8th, 2013, 04:06 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Is there any actual User Documentation for Android??

Hi all...

So tonight I was looking around for the answer to a simple question - a description of what each of the 3 softkeys at the bottom of the home screen of the Android launcher do (from ICS onward).

Every question I typed in, both on my Galaxy Nexus's search bar, and on a full web browser (using Google), came back with a list of Android apps Google thinks I might be interested in, or some articles titled "Why I hate softkeys", or possibly some developer discussion, etc.

I was as specific as you could possibly imagine in my wording, quoting, etc. so that I could find the answer, but, could not find a simple description of those softkeys. I had to find it tangentially, in a discussion about them on this forum.

Isn't there some kind of Google "User's Guide" for how everything in their stock user interface works? What any given gesture in a given context will do, what each soft key does, what each soft key does when long-pressed, etc. etc.? That documentation has to be somewhere, and user documentation, not developer documentation about the underlying APIs.

Does anyone know where that is to be found, for each version of Android that comes out? I've search the Google site itself and just found lots of ad copy, mostly.

- Tim

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Old January 8th, 2013, 06:09 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I know my Droid X and Galaxy S3 both came with a Help app that had basic information about the OS. On the Droid X it was an app called Help Center. On the S3 it's an app called Help.

Also, if you Google 'Android 101' or 'Android Users Guide' and you'll get numerous sites talking about the basic features of the OS.
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Old January 8th, 2013, 06:15 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Just look for your phone's manual, and look for the Android user manual online. There is no actual fool proof documentation because of Android's openness allowing manufacturers to change the functions of the buttons at the bottom themselves, so your best bet is the device manual. One example on how manufacturers change the bottom is Samsung Galaxy Tablets vs Nexus tablets. The Samsung Galaxy Tabs have the notification tray, clock, and 4 buttons at the bottom strip, while the Nexus only has the three buttons at the bottom strip.
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Old January 8th, 2013, 06:44 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Just look for your phone's manual
Which can also be found online, most likely.
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Old January 9th, 2013, 03:39 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Well, I will check my phone documentation then. I was just expecting that Google would have some kind of functional specification document of how the stock android GUI works that I could read, for each version they produce, without reference to the specific phone it was targeted for.

I bet something like that exists internally at Google - they'd have to (I'm a software developer, and we have to have things like that around).

Ah well.

Thanks everyone!

- Tim
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Old January 9th, 2013, 07:23 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Actually there is an official Android user guide available for download. I had one for Gingerbread some time back. I just forgot where I got it.
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Old January 9th, 2013, 08:51 AM   #7 (permalink)
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You might find what you are looking for here:
Design | Android Developers
It was written for app programmers but has a lot of good info on what Google is looking for in design/use of an app.
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Old January 9th, 2013, 09:54 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Or Google’s Android OS
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Old January 9th, 2013, 01:47 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Or Google’s Android OS
I had done that and not found what I was looking for. Perhaps I need to use that specific search string? Will try.
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