Android Tablet Web Surfing Guide - Getting Started

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Quick Reference: Getting Started With Your New Android Tablet

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This quick reference guide is for Android 4 Ice Cream Sandwich and 4.1 Jelly Bean users on any of the following hardware: the Asus Transformer and Transformer Prime series (TF101, 201, 300, 700); the Sony Tablet S series, Samsung Galaxy Tab 8/9/10 series, and Acer Iconia Tab.

Congratulations on your new Android tablet! The Google Android platform is an excellent system for web users and fans of mobile internet. Android does take a bit longer to learn than Apple's iOS platform, but Android also offers you more granular control over your daily computing experience.

Android 4.1, codenamed 'Jelly Bean', is the most recent version of the Google operating system. It is a very good OS, and should serve you well as a mobile user of the Internet.

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Overview: What an Android Tablet Is Made For

Your tablet is essentially a small 10-inch laptop with 6 to 12 hours of battery life. Simultaneously, a tablet has no dedicated keyboard or mouse hardware. The intent of a tablet is to make computing very personal, very movement-friendly, and very sharing-friendly. You can take your web and music and photos to the living room couch, to the bus, to the office meeting, to your friends' homes, and even to the bathroom, all with the same portability as a copy of Time Magazine.

Tablets are designed more for consumption than for production. This means: tablets are for light gaming, reading web pages and ebooks, listening to music, viewing photos and movies, presenting/sharing pictures with friends, and snapping candid photos and videos. Conversely, because of the small screen and lack of hardware keyboard and mouse, tablets are not great for serious writing, heavy-duty accounting, or very detailed document processing.

Touch-entry and typing are the big input differences between a tablet and a personal computer. Instead of a mouse, your tablet uses touch-taps and drags with a single finger at a time, and 'pinch/reverse-pinch' gestures with two fingers at a time.

Typing on a tablet is done in one of three ways: one-handed (while the other hand holds the tablet), two-thumbed while holding the tablet in both hands, or full typing while the tablet sits on a table.

While this might sound rather complicated on paper, in practice a tablet is very easy to use.
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Navigation Basics: How to Move Around Your Android Tablet

Android 4.x uses more commands than its competitor, Apple iOS, and there are more widgets and menus in Android. You will need to learn more steps to make full use of your Android device, but you will also get more granular control that you would with an Apple iPad.

There are four basic touch commands on an Android tablet:

1) press, aka 'tap' (a finger version of a mouseclick)
2) press-hold
3) drag
4) pinch

Most Android touch commands are single finger. Pinch requires two fingers simultaneously.

You choose which fingers work best for you. Some people prefer to use both thumbs while they hold the tablet in both hands. Other people prefer to use index finger and thumb while they hold the tablet in the other hand. All methods work well, so choose what is most comfortable for you.
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Voice Recognition: How to Talk to Your Android Tablet

Android also supports voice recognition. The system is far from perfect, but many people like it.

Wherever there is text entry available on the tablet screen, you will see a microphone button on the soft keyboard. Press that microphone button, press 'speak now', and then speak clearly into the tablet. Depending on your accent and articulation, the tablet will translate your voice with 75 to 95% accuracy. You can choose to backspace or type over any of the voice recognition text.

If you wish to try voice recognition, then experiment with the Google search in the top left of your tablet home page.
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Opening and Closing Windows on an Android Tablet

You do not 'close' windows in Android the same way you would in Microsoft. Instead: you let Android partially close (hibernate) and fully close your windows for you.

How Android Manages the Partial and Full Closing of Software Windows:

If you no longer wish to use an Android program, you simply leave the program by doing any of the four options:

1) tap the 'back' arrow button
2) navigate to 'home'
3) launch a new program,
4) or use 'recent apps' button to launch a previous program.

As soon as you leave a program, and that program is not doing anything, then the program 'hibernates'. Hibernation is a partial close, where it is moved from system memory into storage memory. This hibernation frees up system memory, yet still remembers the state and configuration of the hibernating software.

The benefit of this hibernating-type closing is that 80% of the time, you can return to the exact same screens when you relaunch the program. Not all Android programs strictly follow this, but this feature is very useful nonetheless.

So, in short: you don't personally close windows in Android. You let Android close windows behind you as you navigate.
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Killing Windows on an Android Tablet

In those rare cases where your Android does not manage window closing successfully, you can optionally use Task Manager or a 3rd party 'Task Killer' app to flush your system memory of active and programs. Alternatively, you can shut down and restart your Android tablet to flush your system memory.

In general, you shouldn't have to do this. If you find yourself having to kill windows manually to keep your tablet from getting sluggish, then you likely have an individual software app that does not work well on Android. You will then need to decide if you want to keep that troublesome app or not.