Recent research suggests that Android tablets are now outselling Apple iPads. With Christmas fast approaching, it’s a trend that seems unlikely to let up any time soon. So, with Android’s increasing popularity and the launch of the exciting new Advent Vega Tegra Note, we reckon you might be in need of a little tablet training. While Android is easy to use, as with anything new the first steps can seem a bit scary. Fortunately, there’s really nothing to worry about and we promise that within just a few minutes you’ll feel right at home with your new Android tablet. So read on to learn how to get to grips with Android.
Android by numbers
With any Android device – tablet or smartphone – it is important to understand that devices from different manufacturers may look and work in different ways. This is because firms are free to alter Android in pretty much any way they choose and because there are many versions of Android in circulation.
The major version of Android is also known as ‘Jelly Bean’, which refers to version 4.1 onwards. The new Vega Tegra Note is based on version 4.2.2, so it’s up to date at the time of writing; this is also the version we’ll concentrate on here. Older versions may not work in quite the same way.
Setting up your Android tablet
When you first switch on your Android tablet, you’ll be guided through a set up procedure. At each stage, tap the right-hand triangle to move on to the next screen.
Among other things, set up involves selecting a language, choosing a Wi-Fi network (and tapping in its password) and deciding whether or not to link the device with a Google account. Android is much more useful when linked with a Google account, so we’d recommend it.
If you already have an account, tap Yes when asked and supply your existing credentials; otherwise, tap No followed by Get an account and then follow the prompts to set one up. You’ll be encouraged to join Google’s social network, Google+ . This is by no means essential, so feel free to decline the offer.
The set up process will also ask if you want to add credit card details so that you can spend money in the Google Play store. Again, this isn’t essential (and you can always supply these details later).
Finally, you’ll be asked if you want to enrol in Google Now, an electronic assistant that uses your personal information to make life simpler, such as serving up driving directions or appointment reminders. It’s useful rather than essential, so make your choice.
Your tablet will also run through a basic introduction, so follow the prompts to complete this.
On the button
You’re now ready so start using your new device. All Android tablets share three buttons displayed at the foot of the screen: ‘Back’, ‘Home’ and ‘Recents’. The Back button is a left-pointing arrow, Home an outline of a house, and Recents two stacked rectangles.
The most important button is Home. Tap this whenever you want to return to the Home screen. Back typically returns you to the last thing you were doing, be it the previous app or the previous screen within an app, or else a previous website. A tap of Recents will display a list of all recently used apps, as small icons. Just tap an icon to switch to that app.
Almost all Android tablets, including the Vega Tegra Note, have other buttons, such as a volume-rocker control on the side and a power button on the top.
Apps, icons and the Home screen
Even on a brand-new tablet, the Home screen is littered with colourful icons and panels. These are apps and widgets. Some are productivity apps (such as email), while others are simple tools (such as a calculator), or games. Widgets are simply panels of varying sizes that display some useful information, including a live weather forecast.
To launch an app, just tap its icon. As you install more apps and widgets (which we’ll discuss soon), the Home screen may run out of room to display them, so their icons will appear on secondary pages. To see more pages of apps, just swipe left or right across the Home screen.
You can reorganise app icons and widgets easily. Just tap and hold your finger on one and then move it elsewhere. If you drag one icon on top of another, you’ll create a folder into which still more apps can be dropped.
Perhaps the two most important icons to remember here are ‘Settings’ and ‘App Drawer’. The App Drawer icon is six dots in a circle, and tapping it displays all installed apps and widgets (just tap the heading at the top to switch views). App Drawer sits in the middle of the dock bar at the bottom or right-hand side of the screen and cannot be moved. Settings offers a way of customising many aspects of your Android tablet. We’d recommend exploring the Security section, perhaps applying a PIN code to protect your brand new tablet.
See what’s in store
Tablets are all about consumption – of apps, movies, music and more. With most Android tablets, including the Vega Tegra Note, all this good stuff is found in the Google Play Store. To enter the store, just tap the Play Store icon on the Home screen.
Content is organised into obvious categories, so just tap one to explore. Tap Games, for instance, to explore the thousands of free and paid-for timewasters available. A good way to start is to tap the ‘TOP FREE’ heading, find and tap a game title that takes your fancy and then tap the green ‘INSTALL’ button.
Accept the app’s request for permission (tap ‘See all’ to check what the app wants access to) and the app will be downloaded and installed. A progress bar will be displayed as it downloads. Tap the Home button, find the new app’s icon and tap to launch it. To delete an unwanted app, just tap and hold its icon then drag and drop it on to ‘X’ or ‘X Remove’.
Associating your tablet with a Google account will help you get more out of Android
Tap the App Drawer icon to see every installed app and widget
Tap Settings followed by Security to set up a protective PIN code
Create folders by dragging one app icon on top of another
The Play Store is the place to go for apps, movies, music and more
Installing apps is as easy as tapping the INSTALL button in the Play Store