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New to Android with a few questions

Discussion in 'Android Lounge' started by mikeym, Aug 24, 2012.

  1. mikeym

    mikeym Lurker
    Thread Starter

    Hi,

    I'm new to Android and I've got a few questions, maybe someone could help me out. I've got a new Samsung galaxy S II.

    Firstly I was wondering if anyone could help me out with a keyboard recommendation for Android 4.0.3? I'm using Swype and like the interface but the keyboard itself seems to take up loads of space and the prediction bar popup creates a flicker.

    Secondly, I'm a bit concerned about the apps on the market. For example looking for a compass returned loads of apps many with high stared reviews many of which seemed to want access to the phone calling feature, GPS, internet and other features. I'm used to Linux open source repositories where apps do what they say they do, so I'm wondering whether there're any reliable ideally spy and add fee repositories? Similarly are there any open source app repositories?

    Thirdly, there are a bunch of Samsung apps on my phone are any any good? I've heard there is a Samsung app for securing your phone if lost, but I can't find it, anyone know what it's called?

    Fourthly, I bought my phone online and while it arrived new, and with a warranty card, the warranty was not filled in, does anyone know if the warranty is likely to be valid or not?

    Finally, can anyone tell me how to find out about rooting a Samsung - if there's no warrant - there's some apps installed by default I'd like to get rid of.

    Thanks for bearing with me; sorry about the barrage of questions! I hope someone here can help.
     



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  2. Liamo_210

    Liamo_210 Android Expert

    Swiftkey is a good keyboard
     
  3. Stuntman

    Stuntman Android Expert

    There is a forum for specific devices. I would suggest you also ask there as well.

    I will recommend Thumb Keyboard as it is my favourite. Thumb has a great many different layouts. It also allows you to scale the size of the keyboard down if you feel it is taking up too much screen space.

    Note that you have to pay like $2 to download it. You do get 15 minutes to get your money back, but it takes me longer than that to even select a layout or configure it. Don't expect to get your money back if you don't like it. Do check it out on the Google Play web site first. There is a video showing what it is like.

    Some of the apps on Google Play will explain why they need these permissions. Check out the descriptions if you are uncomfortable with giving so many permissions. Perhaps they are justified.

    I only use Google Play, so someone else will have to answer your question about other repositories.

    That is rather subjective. Most Android phones do come with proprietary apps. Some apps are more useful than others.
     
  4. davidmanvell

    davidmanvell Android Enthusiast

    I'm new to Android and I've got a few questions, maybe someone could help me out. I've got a new Samsung galaxy S II.

    I don't have that phone but will try to answer a few of these. Don't have all your answers.

    Firstly I was wondering if anyone could help me out with a keyboard recommendation for Android 4.0.3? I'm using Swype and like the interface but the keyboard itself seems to take up loads of space and the prediction bar popup creates a flicker.

    Try the app swiftkey. It is very configurable including the overall size of the keyboard.

    Secondly, I'm a bit concerned about the apps on the market. For example looking for a compass returned loads of apps many with high stared reviews many of which seemed to want access to the phone calling feature, GPS, internet and other features. I'm used to Linux open source repositories where apps do what they say they do, so I'm wondering whether there're any reliable ideally spy and add fee repositories? Similarly are there any open source app repositories?

    This is an issue that you should pay attention to. Access to phone calling is typical. If the phone rings, the app needs to know to pause while you talk on the phone and also to not make any audio sounds (Do compasses make any sounds? Access to GPS is most likely for location purposes. I bet the compass also lists things like where you are and such. If you don't want it to do that pick one that doesn't access the GPS. I'm not sure why a compass would want to access the net unless there is more to it than just being a compass. See if anything in the app description states why it is accessing that. many apps put right into the description why they need each access. I don't know of any open source apps but then again I have never looked either. I suspect there should be tons of them just like with any software. I'd Google it. There are so many sites with apps now it's difficult to list them all.


    Thirdly, there are a bunch of Samsung apps on my phone are any any good? I've heard there is a Samsung app for securing your phone if lost, but I can't find it, anyone know what it's called?

    Each manufacture gives out a bunch of apps on the phone as part of the reason to get customers to buy their brand. Some apps are great, some suck. Just look at each and decide what you want to keep and what you want to dump. One of the hardest things I had to get used to is understanding that having those extra apps doesn't harm you in any way. They take up very little space. And you can with Ice Cream Sandwich disable them if you want them out of your listings. I would not bother trying to remove them. Later on you may decide you might want it. It really does not hurt having them installed. There is an app called "Samsung Apps" that you can download from their website that works like the Play store. open it and it lists tons of apps that Samsung makes for the phone. They actually work on other brands of phones as well by the way, you just have to side load them. Look at Samsung Apps for more information. Like the apps in the Play Store some of those Samsung apps rock and some don't. As to the last part I don't know of a Samsung app that secures your lost phone but there is one called "Where's my droid" that works well. I have not used it but also check out one called "Lookout". I have heard good things about it as well.

    Fourthly, I bought my phone online and while it arrived new, and with a warranty card, the warranty was not filled in, does anyone know if the warranty is likely to be valid or not?

    I don't know anything about this.

    Finally, can anyone tell me how to find out about rooting a Samsung - if there's no warrant - there's some apps installed by default I'd like to get rid of.

    I would just Google Root and your phone name. You can try these links for starters. Rooting for dummies: A beginner's guide to rooting your Android device and CyanogenMod | Android Community Rom based on Ice Cream Sandwich

    Thanks for bearing with me; sorry about the barrage of questions! I hope someone here can help.

    Any time.
     
  5. T.M.M.L

    T.M.M.L Android Enthusiast

    Greetings mikeym,

    Welcome to the forums.

    I'll try to help where I can.

    1. While I personally use and like swype, I know it's not everyone's cup of tea. As stated above me, Swiftkey is a very popular keyboard replacement. There is also Slideit, which is a swype like keyboard. The market has a lot to choose from.

    2. Google does an okay job with policing the apps, but nothing is 100%. I would say just remain vigilant is paying attention to the permissions that an app requires. SlideME, is a alternate site for Android apps. There is also Getjar & Amazon.

    3. I have a Samsung Galaxy 3, but I don't use the included apps, so I can't help you in that regard.

    4. I don't know who you bought the phone from, so I'm not sure about how they handle warranties. I would try to contact them and find out the proper process.

    5. Samsung galaxy series phones are usually easy to root. Here are some links to the forums for your device. Before you start getting rid of apps, make sure you read up on things. Might be a pain to digest all of the information, but it will probably save you a big head ache in the long run.

    Samsung Galaxy S2 (AT&T) - Android Forums AT&T

    Samsung Galaxy S2 (T-Mobile) - Android Forums

    Samsung Galaxy S2 (International) - Android Forums

    Don't know which version you have, so i posted a few links.

    Hope this helps.
     
  6. chanchan05

    chanchan05 The Doctor

    1. Swiftkey and Perfect Keyboard are good options.

    2. For a compass app, from GPS and internet is of course needed. The phone does not have an actual compass inside it, but rather uses its GPS sensors and the phone's accelerometer to determine orientation. The internet is for A-GPS use, which uses data from servers to triangulate position. All in all it makes finding your location faster. The "phone state" permission is standard. Almost all apps have it. Basically, its to pause the app when a call comes, for example, since the app is using resources during a call.

    3. Depends. Different apps come in different countries depending on sponsorships.

    4. You bought it online, so of course warranty card isn't filled in. But its not important IMO. All you need is the receipt (at least in my country that's the way it goes). Of course you can always fill in the warranty and mail it in.

    5. I would suggest to forgo rooting for now. You barely even know how to handle the phone as suggested by your questions. Keep away from something that can potentially break your phone if you try to do something you don't really understand. Rooting isn't actually dangerous, but a rooted phone does not have any safety restrictions anymore, and a wrong delete somewhere can cause your phone to stop working. Learn how it works first.
     
  7. mikeym

    mikeym Lurker
    Thread Starter

    Hi, thanks everyone for the full replies.

    Am using the SwiftKey 3 trial for now and like it, had a couple of issues with it bugging out and deciding that I'd used up my months trial in a matter of hours, reinstalled and now it's working again. It's nice to have a semi respectable WPM again.

    chanchan05, yes the phone does literally have a compass in it - an electronic one rather than the orienteering kind! I'm sceptical about the security of pretty-much every compass I could find on Google Play - mobile none I could find have what I would describe as a reasonable set of permissions.

    I found a FLOSS (Open Source) app store called FDroid. There's a fairly small selection of apps at the moment.

    Thanks.

    PS Do you know this sites is an over 18's site according to Orange. Going to have to wash my eyes.
     
  8. mikeym

    mikeym Lurker
    Thread Starter

    PPS Also found app brain which gives more info on apps before you install them and more detail on potential security risks, although it's a bit advertisey for my liking. (They have an add blocker! Not sure I can trust an add blocker from someone who forces adds on you.)
     
  9. chanchan05

    chanchan05 The Doctor

    That's exactly the electronic compass, it relies on data supplementation from GPS and A-GPS data.

    Appbrain doesn't force ads on you, they have ads because they need to add money, Their ad-blocker is limited to Airpush ads, the one you suddenly see on your notification bar. It doesn't block in-app ads.
     
  10. mikeym

    mikeym Lurker
    Thread Starter

    I don't see how GPS can possibly help figure out what direction you're facing. I can see how an electronic compass would help with showing your location and direction together with GPS. Unless the compasses are trying to account for magnetic north versus true north.

    Ok they "have ads" at you. I haven't encountered Airpush, thank god, or I'd probably be wanting that. Samsung did try to install something like that I think, "AdService" and "Samsung Push Service". I've uninstalled the AdService but not the Samsung Push Service yet. I've read that they get reinstalled any time you open the Samsung Store, makes me wonder if they even want people using it.
     
  11. chanchan05

    chanchan05 The Doctor

    I have Samsung Adservice, but I don't have any ads from them. I have no idea what that's for though apart from something related to their Appstore. Not touching it though since their Appstore lets you have free paid apps from time to time.

    The GPS can triangulate you, and the phone also has a sensor which tells itself in what orientation the phone, basically the accelerometer. If you are moving, this sensor is able to calculate the direction of your motion and match it with the GPS data, thus being able to provide you with the general orientation of your position with regards to the cardinal directions. I think it can do this even if you aren't moving. Compass apps have these sort of things because not all phones have an internal compass and rely only on internal sensors that aren't compasses and GPS. Yours may have an actual internal compass, but it doesn't change the fact that the apps in the market are written so that they would also work with phones that don;t have compasses.
     
  12. mikeym

    mikeym Lurker
    Thread Starter

    chanchan05 ok fair enough, that makes sense, couldn't figure out what difference GPS would make but I guess if it's measuring relative signal strengths compared to the motion of your phone that'd be of some use. I found an open source compass that appears to just use the internal compass, not sure how accurate it is mind.
     
  13. Techzombie831

    Techzombie831 Lurker

    I have the sg2 and i use GOKeyboard. As for the apps.just read peoples comments on the apps to see if they do what they say they do.and my sg2 came with lookout security which is an antivirus of sorts but also has the find my phone thing.so if your phonenis stolen it will email you and have your phone send a loud sound alarm.
     
  14. HiteshRai

    HiteshRai Lurker

    I have got a major problem with my Galaxy Note (Unrooted device), its not working properly, driving mode is getting activated automatically and it is opening Voice talk option again and again, they charger is getting disconnected and also USB getting disconnected.

    Can anyone help me with this...
     
  15. mikeym

    mikeym Lurker
    Thread Starter

    HiteshRai I would suggest starting a new thread in the forum. I'm sure someone will have some ideas there.
     
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