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December 3rd, 2014

AndroidTab_Dec01_COne of the most popular gifts of the holiday season is the tablet, and more specifically the Android tablet. Because there are so many different options to choose from, it can be difficult to actually pick the best, or the right, tablet to give as a gift. To help, we have come up with some important factors to consider before you purchase your festive present.

Consider your budget

The great thing about Android is that there are tablets available for a wide budget range; from the ridiculously affordable, yet highly praised, Amazon Fire HD 6 (USD 99 on Amazon.com), to the top-of-the-line Samsung Galaxy Tab S (USD 350-400 in stores). You firstly need to set your budget.

Look at reviews online

There are a ton of websites dedicated to reviewing tablets and other mobile devices. Take for example the well known Engadget, or Trusted Reviews. Sites like these generally give a good overview of the new and most popular devices out there. Pay close attention to the criteria used though, as some review sites tend to only look at basics such as battery life and design, without going too deep into the actual usability.

It is also important to look at actual user reviews. The best place for this is Amazon.com, as almost all reviews of devices on the site are submitted by users. While some reviews may be overly positive or negative without actually revealing reasons, generally speaking they provide an accurate real-life picture.

What will the tablet will be used for?

Many tablets offer special features and functions aimed at different types of users. For example, some offer increased security and encryption that is ideal for the business user, while others may offer features such as pen support which turns the tablet into a drawing pad. If the recipient is likely to be using the tablet for work, then your search should focus on specific, business-oriented devices.

Who will be using the tablet?

Tablets running Android 4.4 (KitKat) and Android 5.0 have the ability to establish different profiles for different users. So, if you know that the tablet will be used by a variety of people then it would be best to purchase a tablet incorporating either of these versions.

If you know that children will be using the tablet, there are a number of apps with features that set the tablet up for children. For example, some will block the Google Play store, and any apps that are deemed unsuitable for children. It might be a big help if you install this beforehand.

What is the technical ability of the user?

It's true that almost every tablet is designed to make it simple to pick up and figure out. But some tablets are aimed more at specific users than others. Take for example Google's Nexus line, which is aimed at users who want a simple tablet experience and the most up-to-date software. Users with more tech experience generally find the Nexus line more preferable.

Other tablets come with super simple setups and many popular apps pre-installed, which could make them more suited to users who may not know much about Android, or simply just want to pick up their tablet and go.

Look at durability and features

As with most tech-related purchases, you generally get what you pay for. So, if you want a tablet with top-of-the-line features like a great display, fast processing speeds, and LTE/Data connections, you are likely going to have to pay more.

A good starting point is to look at the questions you answered above about who will be using the device and what they will be using it for, then look for a tablet with features that support or enable this and that has positive reviews. While it may be tempting to stick with brand new tablets only, be sure to look at those released in the past year to year and a half as well. For example, the terrific Nexus 7 tablet (2013 version) is still a great option for many users, not to mention the fact that it is available at an affordable price. Manufacturers like Samsung also have a number of great tablets available with a wide variety of features.

Almost above all else, the overall durability of the device is important. If you purchase a tablet with flimsy construction, there is a good chance it will soon break or fall apart easily. Again, online reviews often focus on the build quality, so these could be a good starting point. Also going to the store and physically trying the devices out could go a long way in helping you pick the best one.

If you are struggling to find the perfect tech gift or Android tablet this holiday season, contact us today to see how our experts can help you find what you need.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

November 5th, 2014

AndroidTablet_Nov03_CGoogle is getting ready to release new tablets and the latest version of Android - Android 5.0 Lollipop. As a result, you can expect new tablets and devices to be released in the near future including this updated version of Android. For businesses, Android 5.0 will offer a number of useful security updates.

1. Smart Lock

One of the first steps to ensuring that your Android device is secure is to put a lock code on the screen. Adding a pin code, or pattern code, to your device makes it more difficult for someone else to gain physical access. On the downside, constantly entering the code can be annoying, especially if you need access to your device on a regular basis.

In an earlier version of Android, the ability to use your face to unlock your device was introduced, but it hasn't really been all that popular. With Android 5.0, Google has introduced a feature called Smart Lock.

This feature uses either NFC, Bluetooth, or your face to unlock your device. Essentially, you pair your device with another device and when it is in range it will automatically unlock. For example, you can pair your computer with your phone via bluetooth. When your phone is near your computer, it unlocks and allows you access without having to enter the pin. If you prefer to use your face to unlock your device, this feature has now been improved and moved to be part of Smart Lock.

2. Automatic encryption from first boot

As businesses continue to integrate tablets and other devices, the amount of data stored on these devices increases. As a result, you eventually end up with important data on your device that you need to keep secure. One of the best ways to do this is to encrypt your device.

On older versions of Android, device security was fairly complicated when not automatic. Now, any device running Android 5.0 is automatically encrypted when the device is started up for the first time.

This encryption will ensure that the data on the device is secure from the start, something which many business users will likely find quite useful.

3. SELinux

SELinux, or Security Enhanced Linux, is a security model implemented in Android last year which is configured to help minimize security threats. All developers must include SELinux enforced security on their apps. What this has done is increased the overall security of apps installed on devices and reduced the number of vulnerabilities that could compromise device security.

For most users, the updated requirements and measures introduced by Android Lollipop will lead to increased overall device security from the apps through to other features.

If you are looking to learn more about the latest Android release features get in touch with us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

October 8th, 2014

AndroidTablet_Oct07_CThe tablet, more specifically Android tablets, offer a wide variety of functions to business users, one of which is the ability to chat or even call other colleagues and customers. One app that enables this is Google Hangouts, which has recently been updated with not only a new look, but also enhanced calling features.

Looking at the new version of Hangouts

In late September, Google launched a new version of Hangouts for Android devices. With it came a new redesign that reflects the upcoming Android L's Material Design look. When you update and launch the app you will notice that it has changed slightly, with a light green bar across the top and three to four icons:
  • A person: Tapping this will show you your connections, ranked by frequent contacts first, then alphabetical after that. Selecting a contact will open up either a new chat (if you have never messaged the person before), or will open up an ongoing chat (if you have messaged them before).
  • A speech bubble: Tapping this will open up existing chats and SMSs (if you have a SIM card for your device) listed in chronological order.
  • A plus sign: Tapping this will allow you to search for a contact to either start a new chat with, or continue chatting with.
  • A phone: This is a new connectable app called Google Hangouts Dialer (more on that below). It may not show up on some devices.
Tapping your name at the top of the bar will slide a menu in from the left with a number of options including: Invites, Archived conversations, Moods, Settings, etc. Overall, the new update makes the app look much better and even easier to navigate.

Looking at Hangouts Dialer

Since 2009, Google has offered VoIP-like calling features through an app called Google Voice. People who signed up for this could make low cost or free calls to anywhere in the US and Canada, and some other countries as well. Like most other VoIP services, they could also call internationally for low rates.

Users in the US could also pick a local number which could be used for incoming calls. When anyone dialed that number, as they would any other mobile or landline number, the call would go over the Internet or data connection. What is interesting about this is that the number was free, so anyone with an existing data connection or Wi-Fi could theoretically obtain a free phone number.

Earlier this year, rumor broke that Google was going to be getting rid of Google Voice. Instead, the company announced that they would be merging it into Google Hangouts, thereby bringing VoIP calling and Google Voice features into the already useful chat app.

In mid September, shortly after the main Hangouts update, the company introduced the Hangouts Dialer app which, when installed, essentially turns the app into a phone. For those with Google Voice accounts, you will be able to migrate your account into Hangouts and continue using the service as you ordinarily would.

Migrating Google Voice to Hangouts

This migration can be done by launching either Hangouts or Voice. You should see a box pop-up on Hangouts asking you if you want to turn on phone calling in Hangouts. If you select yes, you will need to download the Hangouts Dialer app. From here, open the Google Voice app and you should see a blue box at the top asking you if you would like to migrate to Hangouts. Pressing Turn it on! will start the migration.

Once this is complete, you can use either the Hangouts Dialer or Hangouts app to place VoIP or Google Voice calls. For those who don't have Google Voice, or who live in an area where it isn't available, you can still call other contacts using Hangout's VoIP functionality. Just open a chat, and tap on the phone icon at the top of the screen.

This feature, while currently limited to users in the US and Canada, is great for tablet users who are looking for a way to connect to the office, but don't want to shell out for both a tablet and a phone. If you would like to learn more about this app, or how Android tablets can fit into your organization, contact us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

August 13th, 2014

AndroidTablet_Aug11_CWhile Android is one of the most popular mobile operating systems out there, many business owners often view it as being not secure enough, or being difficult to manage. In an effort to make the system even more useful for businesses, and more secure, the company has announced a new program called Android Work which will be released with the next version of Android.

What exactly is Android Work?

Android Work is a program that is being developed by Google that will be introduced in the next version of Android - Android L. Because of the overall open and somewhat fragmented nature of Android, many businesses have been struggling to manage devices. In an effort to attract business customers, device manufactures have come up with their own business-centric suite of features that boost device security and manageability.

While there are a number of options out there, Samsung has had the most success with KNOX. This is essentially a secure version of Android that can be managed by businesses. With devices running KNOX, administrators can separate personal and work features, as well as manage and secure business apps and content on a user's device.

The best way to think of this program is that it enables a completely separate business profile, that can be managed by a company, on a personal device. Users with a system like this will be able to separate work and personal apps, content, and data, but still be able to use the same device. This is what mobile experts refer to as containerization - business apps and data are essentially stored in a container that is kept within the overall Android system.

Google found this idea of being able to separate personal lives and work on the same device to be something worth investing in, and have subsequently developed Android Work based on the KNOX platform. This will allow all Android users, not just users with Samsung devices, to take advantage of this program.

When launched there will be a number of key business oriented features beyond just the KNOX support. Here are two of the most talked about.

Seamless transition between personal and work data

Containerization is usually referred to as creating a separate system on one device, kind of like having a work and personal profile on your computer. While this is great, it can be annoying to switch between profiles on your device. So, Google has decided to modify the way containers work, making them more seamless.

With Android Work, IT will be able to install and manage apps on a user's device - they have to agree to this of course. Only, these apps will appear on the device beside personal apps and will be useable just like any other app. In the background however, the Android Work managed apps will sit in their own container. This container will apply heavy encryption to related data going in and out of the device, and restrict what users can do with the app (based on whatever rules the IT admin has set).

The key here is that while the apps and security are separate, the user will not notice any major difference and will be able to interact with both personal and business apps from the same profile. They will be able to tell the difference between work and personal apps as apps installed, managed or related to Android Work will have an identifying badge on the icon.

Easier deploying and managing of apps

With Android Work, IT admins or managers will be able to bulk purchase apps from the Google Play store and have them automatically installed on user's devices. If you use separate apps, or have developed apps for use in-house, you will also be able to push these to devices.

Beyond that, there will be admin panels that can push updates to apps on all devices, or even bulk manage existing apps. While the user will see no real difference, the apps in the Work container are managed by the administrator, not the user.

Will Work be useful?

Many business owners have been asking this question over the past few months, and the answer really depends on how you use devices in the office. If you support BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), you will be able to easily manage the apps, data, and security of just the business related apps, while still allowing personal apps and data to be installed on the same device.

Companies who provide their employees with mobile phones or tablets will also find Android Work useful as it will enable easier management and enhanced security across a variety of Android devices.

When will Android Work be available?

As of now, Android Work is still in development, but Google has noted that it will be released as a feature of the next version of Android, which is slated to be released this fall.

If you are looking to learn more about Android Work, or how to manage Android devices, contact us today to see how we can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

July 16th, 2014

AndroidTablet_July14_COne of the biggest business trends is the idea of going mobile. With the heavy adoption of devices like Android tablets, business owners are able to connect with the office from nearly anywhere. This is great news and one of the mains reasons why so many businesses are thinking about adopting Android tablets at work. For those who are, here is a brief guide on some dos and don'ts for Android in the office.

Do:

  • Use separate profiles - Tablets that use newer versions of Android (4.3 and newer) have a unique feature that is incredibly useful for business users: You can set up more than one account on the device. This means you can have a personal account and a work account on the same device without the two crossing over. Each account has their own apps and layout, which makes it perfect for the BYOD crowd.
  • Pick responsibly - Android tablets come in all shapes and sizes, and with different versions of the operating system. It is therefore a good idea to do some research before you buy one for your business. Take the time to try and identify what you will be using the device for, what features you would like, and most importantly, if the device is compatible with your existing systems. We strongly recommend going with one of the big name brands like Samsung, LG or Acer, or the Nexus line.
  • Develop a usage and management plan - Before you implement the device into your office, be sure to develop a plan on how the device is to be used and managed. Will each employee be in charge of managing their own device, or will your IT partner manage them for you? Be sure to also develop a list of approved apps, including important ones like email and messaging; and that users are familiar with how to use them.
  • Look into accessories - One common factor many businesses forget to look into when implementing Android devices is the numerous accessories available for tablets. In order to extend the life of the devices it is a good idea to get protective cases and screen covers. Also, look and see if the device you have chosen has a removable battery or SD card. If it does, you may want to invest in extra batteries and cards.

Don't

  • Skimp on security - As Android tablets become more popular, the devices are seeing an increase in malicious attacks. It would therefore a good idea to implement mandatory security measures on all devices. This includes an antivirus scanner and daily check for app updates. Also be sure to educate the staff who will be using the device on common security issues, such as how to spot fake apps, use an antivirus scanner, and how to enable secure browsing on the Web.
  • Allow third party app stores - Because of the openness of Android, you can install apps from almost any location. This has resulted in many third-party app stores (stores not run by Google) popping up. Some of these stores host any kind of app, including ones that contain malware. So, it is a good idea to just outright ban these stores; only allowing apps from Google Play to be installed on devices.
  • Force the tablet on users - Some employees won't want a tablet, preferring instead to stick with their laptop or desktop. Don't force your employees to adopt the device if you know they won't use it. This will just lead to you wasting your tech budget and to unused devices.
  • Worry about fragmentation - Yes, Android is very fragmented - devices are running different versions of Android. While this may seem like a big deal, it doesn't have to be. We recommend that when selecting tablets, pick a newer version of Android and purchase tablets using the same version. Once you get used to the tablet, the issue of fragmentation will usually disappear, especially if everyone is on the same version.
If you are looking for help selecting and managing an Android device for your office, contact us today to learn about how our services can help.
Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

July 3rd, 2014

AndroidTablet_June30_CAndroid, Google's mobile operating system, is one of the most popular mobile systems out there. Each year, at Google's annual I/O conference, it is expected that the company introduces the next version of Android, and at this year's conference held on June 25 and 26, the company didn't disappoint, announcing a new version of Android that will bring about some big changes.

Coming soon: A new version of Android

It's true that you can pretty much guarantee a new version of Android to be announced at I/O. This year, Google was true to form and spent the better part of the whole keynote speech talking about the upcoming changes expected with the next version of Android - Android L. Why Android L? Well, the latest version of Android to date is 4.4, codenamed: KitKat. It makes sense that the next big release of Android will start with the letter L. At this time however, it has not been assigned a dessert related name like the other versions of Android because it is still in development.

Names aside, there were a number of interesting changes talked about by the Google staff. Here are five that business users of Android devices will be interested to know about.

1. Material design - A drastic change to the UI

Practically one of the first things talked about, regarding Android L at least, was a newly designed UI or User Interface. In fact, when released, this will be the biggest change to the look of Android since the Ice Cream Sandwich update in 2011. Powering this change will be a new look Google calls material design.

Material design creates a drastically different look from existing versions of Android. This will bring a flatter design with lots of rounded elements and softer edges that will extend to all versions of Android - tablets, phones, Chromebooks, and even Google's apps themselves. From this, it appears that Google wants to extend Android to other devices and it will do so by implementing a card-based design. These cards will play a front-and-center role with Android L, and according to Google they will be able to scale to meet screen size and dimensions. This means that one app will be able to work on different devices, without the need for a specific tablet, or phone version.

From the demo of material design that Google played, the new UI looks great. It looks clean, modern, and more colorful than ever before. If you are wondering what this design will look like when it comes to apps, take a look at the latest version of the Google+ app for Android, it has already been switched over to reflect the upcoming new style from Google. Or, check out this YouTube video from Google that highlights what the material design UI will look like.

The company also showcased a number of new changes to the UI that will make Android even easier to use. One of the biggest was how the apps interacted. Using the new version, the presenter searched for a restaurant and one of the search results was to an app installed on the phone. Tapping on it opened the app, without you having to close the results, to be able to then search for the restaurant. Overall, this will be a big change in the way Android looks and interacts with other apps.

2. Improved notifications

While a drastic change to the UI is pretty big news, Google wasn't content to just redesign the look of Android. They also showcased an improved notifications function. In current versions of Android, you need to unlock your device and swipe down from the top of the screen to view your notifications which are displayed in chronological order.

In Android L, your notifications will be viewable, and actionable from your locked screen. For example, if you get a new SMS, you can read it directly from your phone's screen, without having to unlock the device and open the relevant app or notifications center.

The other big change will be to how your notifications are displayed. Google is going to take a different approach to this and instead of showing these chronologically, it will display notifications sorted by relevance and importance.

Finally, Google will fix one of the biggest annoyances with Android - if you are working in an app, say giving a presentation, and you receive a call your device will no longer close the presentation and open the phone dialer. Instead, it will show what Google calls a 'Heads Up Notification'. This is a small notice displayed on top of the app that you currently have opened. In the example shown, a game was being played when someone called. Instead of the game closing, you saw the call info hover on top of the app. You could answer, hang up or even send a quick auto-reply SMS (e.g., I am busy, will call you back later) without the current app being closed.

3. Trusted environments

Having a screen lock on your device, such as a pattern or number lock, is essential for all users. This is one of the best ways to ensure that others can't physically access your device and the data within. While screen locks are a security must, there are times when they are more of an inconvenience than anything.

Take for example during a presentation. If you are using your Android device to show a slideshow, and pause for a time on one slide, long enough for your phone's screen to switch off, it is a hassle to unlock the screen and reopen the app.

Google's fix for this is a feature which establishes a trusted environment or device e.g., an Android smartwatch or your Office Wi-Fi. When you are in range of the watch, or the Wi-Fi connection, your device will automatically be unlocked and accessible without having to enter your PIN or code.

Move out of range however, and your device will lock, requiring the PIN or swipe code to unlock. This could be a useful feature for many businesses, especially those who use Android devices on a regular basis.

4. Deeper ties with Chrome and the Web

Many Android users utilize the recent app button on a regular basis. With one tap of the button, usually located on the bottom right of your device, or by pressing the home button, you can open previous apps. With the introduction of Android L, this will also show tabs that you have open in Chrome. This could be useful, especially if you use Chrome on your desktop and want to quickly access the same page on your device.

5. Business oriented APIs

The API, or application programming interface, is an essential part of the mobile device. It is the API that specifies how different apps should work together. With Android L, Google will include some business oriented APIs, with the most important being a set that allows both personal and business data to exist on the same device, without being mixed. In other words, you will be able to use a personal device for work, likely without mixing accounts, something which the BYOD crowd should find incredibly useful.

When can we expect Android L to arrive?

As of the writing of this article, there is no set release date for Android L. During the keynote numerous mentions were made of it being released sometime in the fall. Bear in mind that this is for Nexus, Google Play, and likely new devices released just after Android L. When, or if, it will be made available for other users is unknown, but likely won't be until early next year.

In the meantime, keep reading our blog for updates. And, if you have any questions regarding Android in your business please give us a shout today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

June 19th, 2014

androidtablet_June18_CMost businesses rely on tablets and their apps to help increase productivity and work output. Android tablets are one solid option with countless work apps which many people opt for. Still, without their knowledge, most tend to give permission screens no more than a cursory glance when installing apps. This can be a big mistake as checking app permissions and being aware of common permissions is vital in keeping your Android tablet safe, secure, and efficient.

Checking app permissions

Head into Settings on your Android tablet, go to Apps and then tap on any app and scroll down to the bottom of the page to see the permissions that have been granted. Note that you are not able to switch individual options on or off, so it’s all or nothing.

However, there are various third-party apps you can install to give you a better look and more control over app permissions. One of those apps is SnoopWall, which once installed will set itself as an administrator to comprehensively audit and manage the security setup on your tablet.

Common permissions 101

Modify, delete, and read storage: This gives an app permission to access the storage on your device in order to save and edit files. Most apps will require some kind of access, if only to keep temporary logs on your device. Keep in mind that any app with these permissions can also access your public folders like your photo gallery as well as your music folder.

Find and use accounts on devices: Facebook, Twitter, and Google accounts are often integral to the way you use your phone, letting you send a Tweet from anywhere and upload photos onto your Facebook account at any time. This permission simply gives an app the ability to tap straight into these accounts to make life easier for you. Bear in mind that the app can potentially access any information stored in the account in question.

Full network access: Most apps require some kind of Internet access, whether it’s for software updates, syncing, or retrieving data from online sources. Full network access is used when retrieving adverts to display, but as with most permissions, you’re relying on the app in question to use this privilege responsibly.

Phone status and identity: This permission enables apps to recognize when a call comes in and gives you the chance to answer it by pausing the current app in the background.

Prevent tablet from sleeping: When your tablet goes into sleep mode, it can interrupt certain processes such as data being written to the internal storage. This permission enables an app to keep your device awake while important system tasks are being carried out. It can also be used by video players to keep the screen on.

Read and send text messages: There are countless apps that want to replace your tablet’s SMS functionality, and this permission is used to automatically scan your incoming texts for authorization codes (used where two-step authentication is involved). This is another classic example of a permission that can be very useful or very worrying. It is vital that you make sure that the app asking for this permission has a clear use for it.

Read your contacts: While a whole range of apps ask for it, this isn’t something you want to give away without good reason. The ability to share content with your friends in some way is often the underlying purpose for this permission, but also so that the app can quickly auto-complete the names of your contacts whenever required.

Sticky broadcasts: This permission is all about the way apps communicate with each other. Android treats each app as if it were a separate user: broadcasts enable these apps to talk to one another (sometimes without your knowledge), and the stickiness controls how long they hang around in the device’s memory for. If an app wants to communicate something to other apps or to Android a long time after the event, it then uses a sticky broadcast.

There are plenty of other permissions to consider but these are the ones you’ll run into most frequently on your Android tablet. It’s important that you pay attention to app permissions in relation to new apps as well as apps you’re already using to ensure your tablet’s security.

Looking to learn more about app permissions? Get in touch today and see how we can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

June 4th, 2014

AndroidTablet_June02_CAndroid tablets are among the most feature-rich tech devices currently available. One of the most basic requirements is being able to connect, and often this is using a data network. While being able to connect to the net over a data network is great, many subscription plans limit the amount of data you can use each month. Because of this it can be easy exceed this limit, leading to some people having to pay substantial amounts.

Here are three things you can do in order to minimize and track the amount of data you are using on your tablet.

1. Turn off your data when you aren't using it

All modern tablets have the ability to connect to a Wi-Fi network, and many of us have these in the office and at home. While many tablets have the ability to switch between connection types automatically, there is always the chance that you may loose connection and switch to a data network without knowing.

If this happens, you could see your data allowance quickly drained. Therefore, it's worthwhile turning off your data when you aren't using it. On most devices, you can do this by:

  1. Going to your device's home screen.
  2. Swiping down from the top and either selecting Settings or tapping on the profile image (usually a person icon) and tapping Settings.
Under Wireless & Networks tap on Data usage. Next, slide the tab Mobile data from On to Off. On some devices you may see Mobile Data right on the Settings menu, and sliding it to Off will turn off your device's data connection.

If you are going on vacation or out of your data provider's service area this is useful thing otherwise you may incur roaming charges which are usually costly. Note, that when you do turn your data off you will still be able to connect to the Internet over Wi-Fi.

2. Set a limit on the amount of data used

On Android devices using newer versions of Android there is actually a built in data tracker that allows you to see how much data you have used in a given period. You can access it by:
  1. Going to your device's home screen.
  2. Swiping down from the top and either selecting Settings or tapping on the profile image (usually a person icon) and tapping Settings.
  3. Selecting Data usage.
Note, this may be in a different location on your phone, it depends on the manufacturer. It can be found in the device's settings menu, just take a look at the options related to mobile and data.

With Data usage open, you should see a graph that displays the amount of data you have used during the current month. If you tick Set mobile data limit you can manually set a limit for your data. If you go over that limit, your device will automatically disable mobile data. We suggest setting it for around 10-20MB below the limit on your contract. You can also set a warning limit that will let you know when you are approaching a certain amount of data.

If your billing cycle doesn't begin at the start of each month, press Data usage cycle and select Change cycle… to set the dates to fit with the monthly charge cycle.

3. Audit the amount of data your apps are using

If you open the data usage part of Settings and look under the chart that displays the amount of data you have used you should see a list of apps that have used data, ranked by the amount each app has used.

You can see which app is using how much data and from here you can adjust how you use an app. For example, if you see that YouTube has been using a high amount of mobile data, it may be a good idea to restrict viewing videos to when you are on Wi-Fi.

If you see that apps are using data despite the fact that you aren't actually using the apps you can restrict the app from using data in the background. Many apps use data to keep their content up-to-date or available for the next time you open them. Try tapping on the app names in the list below the graph and a new window will open.

Take a look at the pie graph and you will see two sections: Foreground and Background. Foreground indicates how much data the app is using when it's open while Background shows how much is used while the app is closed.

If you tick Restrict background data at the bottom of the window, the app will not be allowed to use data while it isn't open.

Looking to learn more about your Android tablet? Contact us today to see how we can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

May 21st, 2014

AndroidTablet_May19_CAndroid has become a far-reaching system, found on almost every type of mobile device. Tablets are among the most useful of these devices, and many Android tablet owners use Google's apps like Drive. In an effort to make Drive even more accessible, Google has recently released standalone versions of Drive's productivity apps.

A tiny problem with Google Apps

While the number of companies using Google Apps is certainly on the rise, there is a slight issue with the way the office productivity apps are set up. In order to access them on your mobile device, you have to first either open Drive in your browser or open the app. From there you can access the different files and open and read or edit them.

If, for example, you want to create a new spreadsheet, you have to open the Drive app and then create the spreadsheet on there. While this setup is great for many users, if you are a heavy user of Drive, and want to find this spreadsheet later on down the road, you are possibly going to have to search for it in Drive, potentially wading through hundreds of files.

This makes the productivity suite on mobile devices like tablets slightly less efficient, and could extend the time you need to take to work on a project. To many tablet users, this is counterintuitive to the main reason people use tablets in the first place - the device and the apps are meant to speed up work or at the very least accelerate efficiency.

Google's solution

Google has realized this issue and set out to fix it. Their simple solution was to create standalone versions of their popular productivity apps. What this means is you can now download the Docs, Sheets, and in the near future Slides, app. Opening each individual app will show all of your related files.

When you open the Docs app, for example, you will be presented with a list of all of your Docs, with the last opened or edited at the top. At the top of each app is a menu bar. Pressing the magnifying glass will allow you to search for a Doc while the other buttons rearrange the viewing order of your files.

Press the file folder and the folders on your Drive that contain Docs (if you are in the Docs app) or Sheets (if you are in the Sheets app) will be displayed. Finally, pressing the plus sign will allow you to create a new file. The files that you open using this app can be read and edited just as they would be in Drive.

The best feature of these apps

While these apps are ideal for mobile users, the best feature of the standalone versions is that support for offline creation and editing of files is built in. This means that if you aren't connected to the Internet, you can still open the app and create a new file or even edit existing ones. This is regardless of whether you have selected them to be available offline from the browser or mobile version of Drive. If you open the app, it should update all documents automatically to their last backup.

Where can I get these apps?

The apps are currently available for free on the Google Play store. You can find the Docs app here, and the Sheets app here. Keep your eyes peeled for the Slides app, which Google has noted will be out soon.

Looking to learn more about Google's mobile products? Contact us today to see how we can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

April 25th, 2014

AndroidTablet_Apr22_BAndroid tablets are one of the more popular mobile devices for business and Google Apps users. A popular reason for this is because of the large variety of apps available to users. The number of apps will only continue to grow and criminals know this. One thing criminals do is they create fake apps that look like legitimate ones, but contain malicious code, potentially exposing important data or more.

So, how can people protect themselves and make sure that their tablet is only running applications that are safe and secure?

Downloading from a trusted source

Downloading an app from well-known and legitimate sources, like Google Play, Samsung or Amazon, used to be good indicators that a site could be trusted. Since these sites are routinely monitored and scanned for fraudulent apps, you can feel assured that any app you buy from these stores are safe to use. But a recently isolated incident involving an app called “Virus Shield”, which sold on Google Play, has lead users to reevaluate their downloading habits.

“Virus Shield” became a top selling app with several 5-star ratings on Google Play. It was bought and downloaded by over 30,000 Android users, who went on to discover that the app offered no functionality whatsoever. Dubbed as fake and a scam, the app has since been deleted from the store.

Taking more vigilant measures

To avoid becoming a victim in situations like this, there are several effective ways you can make sure your tablet is not vulnerable to fake applications.
  • Be informed when downloading from a trusted source, read about and research the application before making a purchase. Most people tend not to bother reading the small print and reviews that are published online, or on the store's site itself. These will give you the information you need to protect yourself risk.
  • Change the security settings of your tablet, and enable or disable features as you see fit. The Android operating system is supposed to come with built-in features that will help detect or prevent any threats. If activated or set accordingly, the system will usually alert users when there is abnormal behaviour from the apps installed in the device.
  • Update your software. Some users may find this an inconvenience and forego updates when they come in. But patches from these updates can fix any bug or vulnerabilities of the tablets, which is why it is highly recommended. Sometimes, updates don’t come automatically, so to check online for this, you can simply go to the setting and find the option for system update.

Use third party anti-virus software

Because the market for tablets is growing, companies offering effective anti-virus solutions are increasingly becoming more reliable. If you are not too sure about downloading free anti-virus software from stores like Google Play, for example, then you should purchase separate third-party software for your Android device, from well-established companies that offer good after-purchase customer service.

Third party anti-virus software may come with monthly or yearly subscriptions, as well as different premium rates for different types of security measures. But do consider the benefits versus the cost carefully, before you make any purchase.

If you are looking to learn more about protecting your Android tablet, contact us today to see how we can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.