Android for beginners: Setting up your phone
Setting up Google Now / Phonebook / Ringtones
Google Now is one of the most significant Google projects for Android, which could quite possibly make it to Chrome as well. We've talked about Google Now in many of our reviews, but in a nutshell, it is Google's version of a personal assistant, constantly offering information that is believes is relevant to you.
Available for Ice Cream Sandwich and up, Google Now is working without much configuration on the part of the user. All it asks is a permission to collect data from your searches, locations and other activities in order to display cool Google Now Cards for things like friends' birthdays, movie screenings, cool places around you as well as traffic info to frequently visited locations.
Most of Google Now's features work best in the US, Canada and the UK, but the country support for the app is ever growing, as Google is continuously adding new cards and features. If your Android smartphone is running Jelly Bean, make sure to install its search app updates and get the most out of Google Now, it's worth it.
Get Google Now (Free)
Transferring your contacts from your old phone to Android could be quite tricky. One of the ways to do so is transfer your contacts to a regular micro SIM card. It can store up to 250 contacts and once inserted in your new Android smartphone can easily transfer your contacts back to the phone.
Another option is Bluetooth. HTC has developed a pretty cool app for transferring contacts from an old feature phone to Android called HTC Sync. It ships with all of the company's Android smartphones, and it gets the job done quite well.
But what if your phone isn't made by HTC? An app called Rainbow Contacts comes to save the day. It works in a similar fashion to HTC Sync, using Bluetooth to fetch the contacts from the source phone and transfer them to your new phone.
It works with Android 2.1 and above and comes with additional features like contact sharing, local backups and recovery. The app is proven to work well with older iPhones, Nokia and Blackberry handsets.
Get Rainbow Contacts (Free)
Yet another way of doing contact transfers is searching for an option in your old device to export them as a .CSV or vCard files. Once you get hold of either of the two formats, just import them to your Gmail account and they'll be automatically synced to your Android phonebook.
Okay, now that you have all your contacts in the phonebook safe and synced, it's a good idea to set custom ringtones for the people calling you most frequently.
To start off, tap on a contact and go to Options - Set ringtone. Then, it's as simple as picking the desired sound file. If you want use a custom ringtone, rather than the ones your devices comes with or the tracks you have uploaded you might want to install one of the many specialized apps for this.
Our favorite is the Ringtone Maker. It's free on the Play Store and does a wonderful job. Pick a file you'd like to make a ringtone from, trim it and save it. Then, assign it to a contact. Piece of cake.
Get Ringtone Maker (Free)
Samsung has a really cool feature on some of their upmarket Android smartphones like the Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note II, allowing you to create a custom vibration patterns. Even if you're in a noisy environment, you'll be able to literally feel who's calling you and that's pretty cool.