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Top Picks for SMS Apps for Android

Posted on July 1, 2016
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Use These Top Android App Picks

SMS has been the way to go for text messaging for a very long time now. These are extremely easy to use, and the majority of cell phone plans offer their customers an unlimited number. Lucky for you, there are a plethora of apps compatible with Android that is able to send and receive SMS messages. Some offer tons of features while others provide only the needed basics.

Google Messenger

Google Messenger SMS app is great for people looking for something simple without too many extra features. It is pleasant to look at with Material Design, and some features included are SMS blocking, text search, audio messages, and location sharing. Google Messenger app is totally free and meets the majority of user’s needs.

Chomp SMS

Chomp SMS is known as an excellent app for Android and has been around since FroYo and Éclair. Time has not taken away any popularity of Chomp SMS and it still grows today. Make text messages look how you want by using their theme support. This app also includes widgets, more than 800 emoticons, fast pop up replies, and SMS blocking. This SMS app for Android is one for people who like a lot of options with their themes. Users love also love that this app is free.

EvolveSMS

An Android app that has great popularity is EvolveSMS. This app provides users with several incredible features. One of their features allows users the ability of easier messaging by swiping between conversations rather than hitting back buttons and another button for the other conversation and so forth. Some other amazing features EvolveSMS offers include password support, Android Wear support, and notifications which are customizable. Free to download and use with in-app purchases available.

Signal Private Messenger

If you are familiar with Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, or Google Hangouts, you’d probably feel right at home when looking at Signal Private Messenger. This Android SMS app is very similar to them. However, this app uses a system with phone numbers to search for people and if they do not have Signal Private Messenger, a regular SMS is sent out instead. For users that want an app that focuses on security, this is perfect for you. There is end-to-end encryption for the prevention of prying eyes from the powers that be. To receive full security, both users must be using Signal Private Messenger. However, even as a standalone app, this works exceedingly well. You would be happy to know this app supports phone calls, is open source, and best of all- Free!!!

Keep in touch by using one the great SMS Apps available for your Android device! Make sure to check out these Android apps you can use while offline, too!

android smartphone in hand

With All The Features, There’s Nothing You Can’t Do With OK Google

Google Now has had some extraordinary advancements over the last two years, making it packed with features to make life much simpler. And when you combine “OK Google”, where users can interact with Google Now by using simple voice commands, you get much more.

What Is OK Google Capable of Doing?

Many people tend to be unsure if OK Google provides real value or not. Listed below are just a few valuable things it is capable of doing:

  • Send text messages.
  • Send emails.
  • Calls contacts.
  • Searches the internet and answers your questions.
  • Post updates on social media.
  • Provides you with maps and routing while driving.

Using OK Google to find your next turn, gas stations, exits, or change your destination is more convenient than paper maps. Rather than using your hands while driving, this allows many aspects to be accomplished by voice commands making it much safer.

OK Google is able to integrate with many of your third-party apps, such as Pandora, WhatsApp, Trello, etc. Think of the simplicity of using only your voice to “Play Drake on Pandora”.

OK Google Set Up

The majority of Android phones now come equipped with OK Google. However, you will need to manually turn it on for phones where it is not enabled.

The only thing you need other than your Android phone is the Google app. There are more features with this app than with only OK Google. For example, having the ability to search the internet even when busy doing something else on your phone.

To set up OK Google, start up the app. Go to the top left and open the menu. Hit Settings > Voice > “OK Google” detection. Look down and find From the Google app. If not already enabled, do it now. It is recommended to also enable From any screen as well, to take full advantage of this app. When enabling this option, you must repeat the phrase “OK Google” 3 times. This way, your voice will be recognized by the app.

It’s that simple. That is all that needs to be done. There are a few setting you can adjust to make OK Google more to your liking.

To activate OK Google when your screen is locked, you want to adjust Trusted Voice. This works with only your voice.

When your screen is off and you want to activate OK Google, adjust Always On. However, this does not work with all models.

To have personal results returned with your searches, you want to adjust Personal Results. This works no matter if your phone is locked or not.

Commanding OK Google

There is an endless list of commands that you can use, just simply say “OK Google” and the command. Your life will be easily navigated by having OK Google by your side.

Print From Wherever You Are

There is no need keeping those awesome photos on your Android tablet or phone digital. Print them simple and fast by using your own printer at home, at a store locally, or sent quickly to you through the mail.

There is no expensive hardware to buy, use your own photo printer or pay-per-print for a higher-quality solution.

Home Printer Photos

When printing photos regularly, using a photo printer at home can be an ideal solution. You want to use high-quality photo paper with a dedicated photo printer. Using an old printer with traditional printer paper is not advisable for photos.

Next, your Android tablet or phone needs to communicate with the printer. Most printers have a dedicated app available through the Play Store which installs all necessary drivers allowing you to print directly to the wireless printer.

Find the app by either searching the Play Store or go to Settings > Printing and press Add Service. You now will see printing apps available that match your printer make. Be sure to follow on-screen instructions as each app works differently.

Google Cloud Print is another way of printing from your Android tablet or phone. The amount of Cloud Ready printers is increasing every day, but non-compatible and older printers can use it as well. A printer is connected to your Google account for Google Cloud Print to work.

Print Photos Locally and Pick Them Up Quickly

Rather than using your own photo printer at home, if you’re only printing a couple of photos on occasion, pay-per-print at your local store. There is no need to spend or maintain a photo printer or high-quality photo paper. This way is less costly if only using for occasional photos.

There are many local businesses that print photos and have them ready for pick up the same day near you such as Walmart, CVS, Target, and Walgreens. With the use of apps, you can easily find local stores and send photos that you want printed and go pick them up when ready. This store also has ways to send and order your photos by visiting their web page directly. These photos are printed at high-quality with no worry about printer maintenance.

Order Photos to Be Delivered to Your Door

If you do not want to leave your house to have photos printed there is no need to. High-quality photos can be delivered to your door within a few days of order. With apps such as FreePrints, SnapFish, and Shutterfly you can easily have some or all of your photos printed and sent right to your door. If you want, have them send these photos directly to a family or friend for you.

Transferring Photos

If none of these options are appealing, you can transfer them by USB cable or store them with services such as Dropbox, OneDrive, or Google Photos and print them from there. However, they look much better straight from your Android phone.

Check out some of the other cool apps that come with your Android phone.

 

google calendar

Create Your Own Awesome Google Calendar To-Do List

Google calendar is there for scheduling and your to-do list app is there to mark down tasks. With the introduction of Reminders by Google, you now will have a to-do list integrated with Google Calendar.  Reminders for Google Calendar is a great feature available on your mobile app and the web.

How Reminders Work

Reminders work by pressing the plus icon when you want to create a new event on the calendar for the mobile app, you will now be presented with another option for “Reminder”. Press that when you are ready to create a new reminder.

  • Reminders assist you with creating better tasks by using what Google knows about you.
  • Reminders remain on your calendar until they are marked as done.
  • There are preset templates for text, email, call, read, meet, make reservations, cancel reservations, watch, return, and check in. Each template is designed to find information on Google helping to provide your tasks with more context.
  • You have the ability to create new reminders by using non-Calendar Google apps. Use Google Keep, Google Inbox, or try voice commands with OK Google.

More Productive

Add your tasks to Google calendar so they are scheduled rather than placed on a seemingly endless list where they are less likely to get finished. Increase the chances of following through on your tasks by scheduling them.  Google Calendar prompts you for a date and time when adding your new task, so it will alert you.

You are more likely to complete small tasks is larger due to the ability to review our tasks. It is easier because your calendar and to-do list are kept visual and in the same space.

Why Use Google Calendar for Your To-Do List?

Even with Google Keep handling task, Calendar is the better option for several reasons. One of these reasons is being able to add from anywhere. When having to take several steps to add tasks, many of never bother. With most Google apps allowing us to add Reminders, we are able to reduce how many steps we need to take.

Another great reason to use Calendar is ability to review our tasks. To better our list of task, we must review and re-prioritize them. While having both our unscheduled tasks and scheduled tasks put in one place, you have an easier time reviewing and considering what should be done next.

The calendar can work in a similar way as Trello when accomplishing tasks, by allowing you a visual glance of everything that needs to be accomplished today. This also lets you view unscheduled tasks, letting you have an overview of your entire day.

Reminders with Google Calendar is synced across every platform, helping you be more productive every day!

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Several of the new Androids no longer come with MicroSD card slots, for instance HTC One and Google’s line of Nexus products. When users begin to run out of space on these great phones, they either need to delete apps or use a cloud backup service to move their data too. There is no expanding these phones, and they lack all the options available to people who own smartphones with MicroSD card slots.

Here are some reasons you should use an Android phone with a MicroSD card slot:

1. Less Costly

Using Cloud services for extra storage allows only a small amount for free, with more storage needs costing monthly or yearly fees. There is no owning this space, rather you lease this space. This means, it is costlier to rely on Cloud services. Costs of MicroSD cards go down every year while their storage capacity increases.

2. Internet Connection Not Needed

Cloud services all require an internet connection to transfer or gain access to your files. Some people may not see this as an issues, but others do not have ideal connections 24/7. Users with dial-up connections, high-latency satellite internet, or unpredictable broadband are likely to become frustrated while waiting for their files to finish downloading. Users enjoying in the practice of accessing data on the go may become angry when losing data access each time their signal is lost or when they look at high bills at the end of month. They can access their MicroSD card wherever, whenever they want.

3. No Computer Needed to Flash ROMs

A great strength with Android is freedom of customization. Users are able to take things to a different level by flashing a new ROM. The default theme, operating system, along with other software which are unable to be changed normally, users can now change. Many ROMs have the capability of Bluetooth connections and improving cell phone signals over a default state of the phone.

4. World-Wide Accessibility 

Some Cloud services have limitations with how far they are able to reach. Google Drive may be available world-wide, however, Play Music All Access has availability only in the US. While replicating all of your Pandora’s library to a MicroSD may be impossible, you are guaranteed media files played of this card are always accessible.

5. True Ownership

Storing files on MicroSD cards mean users truly own that data. When using Cloud services, users may have legal rights to their files but have no idea where they are actually stored or handled. These files are always being controlled by someone other than the user. Keeping your Android phone away from prying eyes allows your MicroSD card to be seen and controlled by only the user.

If considering a phone upgrade with no MicroSD slot, think about everything that you have to give up.

Awesome Uses for USB OTG on Android

Posted on April 16, 2016
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Make Use of USB OTG on Android

There is convenience with a USB connections, but they are not usable with phones. That is of course unless you are an Android owner and a user of USB OTG.

USB OTG (On-The-Go) allows data to be read from a device without the need of a PC by using a USB connection. This device becomes a USB Host, and every device is capable of doing this.

Android is the popular place where USB OTG is used, but not the only place. Some printers are already supporting it, Windows Phone 10 is likely to have USB OTG from Microsoft, but Apple has yet to show any signs of allowing this. Another reason why you should choose an Android over an iPhone!

Checking If Your Android Supports USB OTG

The most trustworthy way of checking if your Android supports USB OTG is by checking either the manufacturer’s website or the box you bought it in.

If you are unable to find it, check on the site, GSMArena.com. Scroll where is says USB in the specification list, now checks for USB Host. They are the words you want to find.

Another way of checking is by downloading from the Google Play Store the free app, USB OTB Checker. 

Not all Android devices support the USB OTG, the manufacturer needs to have it enabled.

What is Needed

Android devices have standard size micro-USB ports, but the majority of USB devices need a USB port which is full-size. You solve this issue, you will need a micro-sized USB Male to full-sized USB Female adapter.

What You Are Able to Do With USB OTG

After you have your USB OTG ready for use with your Android, there are many opportunities newly opened up to you.

Some popular ones include:

Connect External Hard Drives and Flash Drives

Use of external storage is extremely popular, and you are able to just plug your USB in and go. The connection is easy with USB drives while an external hard drive might or might not work. External hard drives which have their own power source have no issues with working, but portable hard drives which take power from the Android device might not work.

Use Keyboard and Mouse to Control Android

Having a keyboard and mouse is an important part if you want to use your tablet as a laptop. Standard plug-and-play wireless keyboard and mouse sets which are compatible with all platforms work awesome. When buying hardware, be sure it does not require any software to be installed.

If your phone has a USB OTG you are capable of using your phone for many other excellent things as well. Such as controlling your DSLR camera, print directly from a printer plays games using video game controllers, among many other things. Android helps to open up a whole new world to their users.

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google play store

Fix Google Play Store Problems

When owning an android phone, it is likely many of your apps come from Google Play Store. But what can you do when it stops working? The majority of Android users have come upon issues with Google Play Store.  You might experience some of the error codes and messages. If an error code is encountered, many times the routine is the same, but different methods are needed at other times. When you encounter Google Play Store problems,  try these four methods one at a time until one works for you.

Stop App, Clear Data, and Cache

Processes running in the background is what Google Play Store relies on. When wiping Google Play Store, it is recommended to also wipe Google Framework Services and Google Services. After Wiping, restart the device and reattempt install or update. Some of these errors are able to be resolved by stopping the app and clearing its data or cache.

This is a fix that resolves the majority of issues.

Go to Settings > Apps > All. Next, you want to choose Google Play Services > Force Stop to stop the app. Now, choose Clear Cache or Clear Data, which the cache will also be cleared but requires re-logging into that service.

Change from Data Over to WiFi

Many apps will not install without a good internet connection, which often times those using mobile data have issues. Try to resolve the issue by switching over to WiFi from mobile data.

Google Play Store App Uninstall and Reinstall

If an Android user has root access, they have the ability to uninstall and reinstall Google Play Store. You are able to download an up-to-date copy of Google Play Store, a file manager is required to be used, such as Root Explorer.

Google Account Refreshed

It is a simple process to refresh, remove, and re-add a Google account. Keep in mind when doing so, all personal data, including messages, will be removed, and automatic syncing will be turned off.

Go to Settings, now choose Accounts. 

Choose which account that you are having issues with. If having problems with all accounts, you will need to remove them all. Select the menu option represented by three dots, which are at top-right of the screen. Next, select Remove Account. 

From the Accounts menu, you are able to re-add accounts. Prior to re-adding any of your accounts, it is recommended to restart your device, but not required.

The majority of error codes you come across require fixes already stated, with a few exceptions. Some errors mean your phone storage is full or too many application installed, unwanted apps would need to be uninstalled to continue.

Google Play Store Issues Resolved

It is no longer difficult to resolve Play Store problems. If these four fixes fail to work, you can look up a particular code for a resolution for almost any problem.

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