25 Quick Upgrades (Part 2)

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Set up shortcuts to common functions

There is a widget within Android that will enable you to go straight to some of the more common functions on your device. You are able to enable and disable features such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, Data Sync and Screen Brightness with a simple tap of an on-screen button. All you need to do is find the widget and select the functions you want if you do not want them all. It puts a lot of power at your fingertips without having to wade through menus.

Menu button

Select the Menu button on the home screen and tap the Add option. On the following screen you need to select Widgets and then scroll right down until you find the option for Power Control or Tools.

Enable or Disable

Tap on the tool that you would like to create a shortcut for. You can have a full suite of tools or you can select crucial individual ones like Bluetooth or even Wi-Fi. When you tap a control it will enable or disable its functionality. It’s that easy.

Do not disturb

Llama – Location Profiles

Llama – Location Profiles

Download Llama - Location Profiles (free, Google Play store) if you want to keep your phone on but not have it disturb you at crucial moments. Set it so that your phone works out where you are and changes your ringer, vibrate and ringtones accordingly. It is similar to Tasker in that you can set up trigger points. But there is no direct Do Not Disturb function for Android yet.


Being able to store tickets, loyalty cards, gift cards and more in one spot is certainly a decent offering for iOS users. Well, those in the US anyway. Deals have been done with retailers and the like so it’s hard to get a direct Android version on your device, but PassWallet - Passbook + NFC is doing an excellent job of it and lets you import PKPass files, worth checking out.


Siri is more than just a voice to chat to it’s a digital personal assistant that’s getting more intelligent with each OS update. For a while Google was stumped by this. But now it has Google Now and you can use it to effortlessly organize your life. Many will have used it already but if you’ve yet to discover it, it’s the easiest ‘upgrade’ yet, just swipe up from the homepage.




Blackberry has introduced a feature which lets you shift the time period of a picture. You can pick the best moment and cut out anyone blinking. This, however, can also be found in a fair few Samsung devices running Jelly Bean - it’s called Best Face. Perfect365: Best Face Makeup is good alternative too.


With Blackberry, you can keep items running in the background while you go off to perform another task. While you can’t multi-task in quite the same way, you can use apps like Floating Browser and a video player such as Floating YouTube Popup Video. These mean you don’t have to be interrupted and can deal with tasks without leaving what you’re doing.

 “There are so many great alternatives that not having Microsoft’s suite makes no odds for the vast majority”

Floating Browser Settings

Floating Browser Settings


Room lets you share photos and chat with people, make notes and work with your calendar in what are essentially varied social gatherings. Android, however, has Google+. It may not be as far-reaching but you can have Circles and you can chat and share items, albeit not quite as seamlessly as with Room. You will find more people using Google+, that’s for sure.

Microsoft Office

Microsoft Office doesn’t need an explanation but neither is it that important either. Apple devices get along just fine with Pages and there are so many great alternatives for Android from Kingsoft Office to Google Drive that not having Microsoft’s giant suite makes no odds for the vast majority. Indeed, Drive’s simple cloud-based service makes all the difference.

Clean OS

We do get annoyed when we break open a shiny new Android phone box, turn it on and see it has been ruined by bloatware. Microsoft doesn’t like this happening with Windows Phone. If you want a pure Vanilla Android OS, however, you could install your own ROM. There are loads around for rooted devices and we cover them extensively in Android Magazine too.

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