Android Cell Phone Start-Up Guide

This article aims to flatten the learning curve from a regular cell phone or another smartphone to an Android-powered phone. I will go over my experiences and misconceptions, hoping they might be useful to others. Of course, your mileage may vary depending on your level of knowledge. I come from a Microsoft Windows and Linux desktop background and own a Windows mobile phone.

My biggest misconception is I thought the phone would operate more like a desktop computer. Take, for example, a simple notepad program. I expected to open the program, create the document, and then save it to my chosen directory. Well, two out of three were correct. You launch programs from the application drawer, the same as starting and then programs in Windows. You create the document, but instead of saving your work, you return to your cell phone home screen, and the paper is automatically saved. This threw me for a loop the first time. I searched for a save option in all the menus and could not find one. I finally gave up and hit the home key, and I saw a little text box saying “saved.” Where the document is saved is determined by the application. At least I have not run across a program yet that allows you to choose a location where your files are kept.

Android Cell Phone


So, it seems a lot of normal desktop tasks are taken care of automatically with Android, which makes sense since most people do not want to be bothered with these little details, especially on devices designed to work on the go. Still, I like to know where my files are for backing up and transferring between devices. Don’t get me wrong; I am not complaining. The phone takes a bit of learning. This is to be expected when buying any new electronic device. There are ways of accomplishing these tasks in a way that makes the most sense. Android phones offer great functionality and are extremely extensible. This is possible due to the ever-growing library of applications that can run on Android.

Installing Android Applications is accomplished by going to Google’s Android Market from your phone or “side loading” them from other websites. Most Android phones have access to the Android Market, but depending on how the carrier sets up the phone, you may or may not have the ability to sideload applications. Tablet devices are more likely not to access the Android Market, but other sources, such as websites and another marketplace called AppsLib, are available. While on the subject of different Android experiences, they will vary depending on the device you buy. Apart from the Android version loaded on the phone, the manufacturer may modify the operating system. For example, two popular Android cell phone manufacturers, HTC and Motorola, have customized user interface versions. The phone’s operation may differ slightly or offer additional features from a cell phone with a stock Android operating system.

The first thing I wanted my phone to do was to have the ability to save notes, such as grocery and to-do lists. After looking through the factory-installed applications, I found this ability did not exist. I went to the Google Android Marketplace to find a suitable application. I searched for the notepad and came up with over 1095 results! Do not worry. As I said before, Android is extremely extendable.

After some research, I decided on an application called Color Note. The application had features such as checklists and back up to the SD card, and it was free! So I hit the install button, and the screen pops up explaining what phone features the application will need permission to access and modify. The color note only needs to change and delete SD card contents. That sounded logical because it would be saving data to the SD card. I hit the OK button and got a message the application would be downloaded. In a matter of seconds, it was downloaded and installed. I jotted down a note, which was automatically saved when I exited the program.

As I mentioned, I would like to know where my files are saved for backup purposes. The information page for a Color note on the Android Marketplace explained that notepad data is protected at /data/color note on the SD card. I went to find the directory but could not find anything analogous to Windows Explorer. I went back to the Android Marketplace. This time, I saw an application called Astro File Manager. Again, this application had a free version, but this time, it was ad-supported. This means little text ads would run across the bottom of the screen while using the application. I installed the Astro File Manager and could browse the contents of my phone. So, as I mentioned before, it is pretty easy to make your Android device have the features you desire.

Astro File Manager would require access to System tools, Network Communication, and Storage. Third-party developers write Android applications, and there is a possibility that a malicious application could be written. When installing a new application, you should always ensure that the permissions it asks for make sense for your application type. It would help if you were also wary of applications requiring different licenses. Multiple antivirus applications exist for extra security, such as Lookout Mobile Security by Lookout Inc,.

, wrap up, getting an Android-powered phone was somewhat different than I expected. This is true when you adopt any new technology. Learning how to operate the device is well worth it. I am ecstatic with the flexibility, entertainment, and amazing variety of applications. With more powerful phones becoming available, some say they could even take over the personal computer.

Steve Gallien wrote this article. We feature a glossary of technical terms and free blogs! Learn more about available Android cell phones and devices, including specifications and capabilities, at [].


Alcohol scholar. Bacon fan. Internetaholic. Beer geek. Thinker. Coffee advocate. Reader. Have a strong interest in consulting about teddy bears in Nigeria. Spent 2001-2004 promoting glue in Pensacola, FL. My current pet project is testing the market for salsa in Las Vegas, NV. In 2008 I was getting to know birdhouses worldwide. Spent 2002-2008 buying and selling easy-bake-ovens in Bethesda, MD. Spent 2002-2009 marketing country music in the financial sector.