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Android Product Basics
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Introduction to Android
You're probably here because you already have an Android
device or are
thinking about buying one. Congratulations—a new smartphone or tablet
can be useful, empowering, and also lots of fun!
Unlike the iPhone or iPad (which are only available in a few different models), there are hundreds of Android devices to choose from. That's part of what makes them so appealing. You're bound to find something you like, whether you're shopping on a budget or looking for the latest high-end device.
If you're wondering why there are so many choices, it may help to understand what Android is. Technically, it's an operating system for smartphones and tablets. Many different companies make devices that are powered by Android, including Samsung, HTC, LG, and other lesser-known brands. That's why every Android device is different—each manufacturer likes to put its own spin on it.
What makes every device unique?
Android devices vary based on the manufacturer and sometimes even your mobile carrier.
Some differences are obvious, but others are less apparent.
Phones can be of different sizes.
Buttons can be in different positions.
Each screen has its own unique layout
Some of the Application icons look different.
There will always be differences in hardware, including things like outer appearance, storage capacity, and camera quality. There will also be differences in software (in other words, the on-screen features) that can affect your experience with Android in general.
There's one more thing to be aware of when it comes to Android devices. Not only are there different phones and tablets to choose from, but there are also different versions of the Android operating system. This can affect everything from the layout of your screen to the availability of certain features.
Purchasing an Android device
By now, you know that every Android device is unique. If you don't have
one yet, it's time to choose the one you want (this is the fun part!).
You'll also need to pick a mobile carrier and find out what types of
service options it offers. Keep in mind that some of this information
will apply more to phones than tablets.
Choosing a device
There are hundreds of Android devices to choose from, and each
different. It's a good idea to do some research before making a
decision, especially if there are certain features that are important
In general, there are three factors to keep in mind: price, features, and carrier.
Android devices can vary widely in price. For example, many
carriers offer certain phones for free (usually older or lower-end
models) if you sign a two-year contract. Tablets generally
cost more, and so
do no-contract phones.
Androids come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. While you're
shopping around, start thinking about which features are important to
you. Some basic specifications to keep in mind are screen size, battery
life, camera quality, and general performance. Beyond that, there are a
number of cutting-edge features to consider, including hands-free
operation and fingerprint recognition.
If you haven't chosen a carrier yet, it's a good idea to think
about which one you might want to use. Some carriers have fewer devices
to choose from, so your options may be more limited than you think.
Others offer different prices on the same phone or tablet. This can
have a significant impact on the device you end up choosing.
Choosing a carrier and service
To place calls with your phone—or use mobile data with your
tablet—you'll need to purchase service from a mobile carrier. Most
carriers offer a variety of plans to fit your budget and lifestyle.
There are generally two types of service to choose from: a two-year
contract or no contract. Both have their pros and cons.
Signing a two-year contract means you'll receive
your device at a discount; however, you'll be committed to paying for
service on a monthly basis for the next two years. Every contract is
different, so make sure you understand the terms, including when and if
you can upgrade your device in the future.
Some carriers, like T-Mobile, offer a
no-contract option. This means you'll pay full price for your device
(either up front or in monthly installments), but your service will
cost less. You'll also have the freedom to cancel your service at any
time with no penalties or fees.
When you're ready to buy
Have you decided which device and carrier you want? When you're ready,
there are many different ways to make your purchase, including online
or at a local store. Take some time to research your options before you
Most mobile carriers have brick-and-mortar stores where you can browse their stock and talk to an associate if you need help. If you want more flexibility, check out a retailer like Carphone Warehouse, where you can shop several different carriers at once. When you buy a device in person, a shop assistant will usually help you set it up.
There are a variety of ways to buy a phone or tablet online.
For example, you can go directly through your carrier, or a choose a
High Street retailer or even Amazon. This option is great if
confident navigating your choices and eventually setting up your device
on your own.
Beware of any sales or promotions that sound too good to be true (especially online). Some Android devices are very expensive, so there will always be sellers and scammers looking to take advantage of unsuspecting buyers. When in doubt, purchase your device from a well-known retailer or mobile carrier.
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