Android for beginners: Setting up your phone

GSMArena team, 29 December 2012.
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Staying up to date

You smartphone could (and we think it actually should) become your window to what's happening in your community and around the world. There are thousands of apps to help you there, delivering the news and breaking stories right to your pocket.

The best thing about those apps is that they are tailored to you. You can tune up the news feed precisely to deliver news about topics you're interested in.


Undoubtedly, Flipboard is one of the most visually appealing apps out there. It's styled as a magazine, and just like its name suggests, you have boards that you flip up or down with a simple swipe.

The app debuted for iOS and we did a comprehensive review.

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Since the Android version is pretty much the same, we won't go into much detail. Flipboard also comes with a set of widgets making it easy to keep up with the latest at just a quick glance.

Get Flipboard (Free)


Currents is Google's take at magazine-style news feeds for mobile. In its initial release it was clumsy and slow, but in its latest form, the app is perfectly suited to be your daily driver.

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Google Currents

With a user interface reminiscent of Google Now, Currents relies on swiping left or right with sliding panes revealing more content from different sources right on your screen. You have a set of predefined categories such as Technology, Sport, Entertainment, etc.

Get Currents (Free)


Pulse takes a different approach to the user interface design. Firstly, you set up the different sections yourself based on your interest. For example, if you're interested in Web Development, you'd create a section filled with sources in this area alone.Repeat for the rest of your interests.

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After you're done, Pulse generates handy carousels, which you can slide left or right giving you a quick overview of what your favorite sites have published lately.

Tapping on a story opens it in the app itself. You can fiddle with the font and color scheme settings, making it perfect to read news whatever the time.

Get Pulse (Free)


What if, however, you already have a pretty comprehensive RSS feed full with your favorite news publications and you don't want to add them manually? While all of the other apps support integration with Google Reader (save for Pulse), none of them does it as graciously as Feedly.

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Feedly is designed to take your syndicated content subscriptions and transform them into an easy to digest list of nicely designed news items. Just like the others, navigating around the app is effortless with simply sliding left or right for more stories.

Opening an article displays either the full story or just a snippet of it, depending on how it has been syndicated by the source's RSS feed. If you want to open the story and read it in its entirety, there's a handy browser button on the top navigation bar of the app providing you with a quick shortcut.

Get Feedly (Free)

Tools apps

There's more to your smartphone than meets the eye. You probably aren't fully aware of this, but there's a good chance that your Android smartphone isn't just a tool for making phone calls, reading messages and watching cute cats online.

Oh, no, it's much more than this. In addition to the things above, it's also a GPS navigator, barometer, a compass, a flashlight and a distance measuring tool.

Interested? Then follow us through the next intriguing apps to find out how your smartphone can serve you in the offline world, as well as it does in the digital one.

Tiny Flashlight

Your Android smartphone has a camera and more often than not it's accompanied by a LED flash to help it shoot better quality pictures in low-light situations. What's cool is that you can manually control that LED flashlight and use it to help your around your daily routine. For example, you might be struggling to put the key into a lock in a dark setting or if you'd like to signal somebody to spot you in a crowd.

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Tiny Flashlight

Whatever your user-case may be, the simple app that Tiny Flashlight is will help you get the most out of your Android's LED flash. The app features a two-fold interface - once you launch it, you're greeted with a simple battery indicator (because the flash is a battery hog) and a big on/off button.

That's simple enough, but what if you want to send a message in Morse code? No problems for Tiny Flashlight. The app also has a set of preloaded LED flash actions to keep you entertained for a while.

Get Tiny Flashlight (Free)

Tiny Compass

Tiny Compass, as its name hints, is another app done by the developer of Tiny Flashlight and follows its direction for clean and straightforward user interface; the only thing you get on the screen is a big compass on top of which there's a readout for the direction.

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Tiny Compass

Get Tiny Compass (Free)


Don't you just hate it when you put your phone on vibrate for a movie and forget to put it back on ring again missing a plethora of phone calls as a result? Shush is a simple tool which takes care of this in an elegant way.

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Once you put your phone on vibrate, the app fires off and prompts you to enter a duration for which to keep the phone in this mode. After that period, it brings the phone back to normal ringing mode.

Get Shush (Free)

Unit converter

Everyonce in a while we all need to convert one unit into another. Thankfully, there are many free apps on the Play Store that are ready to help out, and one of the best among them is dubbed Unit Convert (duh!) by developer zyksa.

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Unit Converter

The app supports over 49302 different conversions across 23 categories and its user interface couldn't be simpler - just select the units to convert from and to and input a value.

Get Unit converter (Free)

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