SMBs

DIY: Enhance the Droid Pro's factory default apps

Jack Wallen answers a TechRepublic member's questions about how to enhance the default apps on his Droid Pro Android phone.

In this installment of Ask Jack, I am sharing my answers to several questions from TechRepublic reader Bruce, who wants advice about his Droid Pro Android phone. Please post your suggestions for the member in the discussion.

Bruce's questions began with this preface:

I hope you do not mind this intrusion. This is not spam. I have a couple of questions that I hope you can help me with my Droid Pro from Verizon. Overall I like the phone, but I find the factory default apps lacking in features and conveyance. The two apps in particular I have been trying to enhance are the contact listing and the calendar. So far I have not found a third-party app that makes some serious enhancements.

Q: Can you recommend a third-party app? A: TouchDown by NitroDesk. It's pretty close to Outlook for the Android. It's a good app with good support. Q: I find that when I installed other apps for these two particular packages that many features were duplicated. In other words, the default app remains, so I end up with two packages instead of one, wasting memory and space. A: For the mail app, if you do not configure an account on it, it will not be used. You can, even in a Google account, declare what you want to sync and what you do not want to sync. To do that, go to Menu | Settings | Accounts And Sync. Now tap on the Google account and uncheck what you do not want to sync. Q: When I use certain icons (e.g., the "contact" icon on the bottom right), it brings me to the factory app, not the new app I just installed. When I download a new app, I want it to enhance the current app or replace it, not have two apps doing the same thing. Can I uninstall the default app? Can I connect the new app to existing icons/buttons? A: As for removing the default application, in many cases the answer is "no," you cannot remove it. To find out if it's possible to uninstall an application, tap Menu | Applications | Manage Applications, search for the application in question, and tap the entry. If the Uninstall button is not grayed out, the application can be uninstalled. Before you uninstall a default app, you should make sure no other applications depend on it.

You can remove the icons on the screen by long-pressing them and then dragging them to the trash can that appears. If you long-press a blank section of the screen, you can add launchers for the new apps. If these icons are on a launcher that cannot be configured (like my Samsung Captivate), your best bet is to install a third-party home screen like ADWLauncher. These types of desktops are far more flexible than the defaults and, in some cases, more reliable.

Q: If I should need to reinstall the default app, I could just perform a hard reset, right? A: That is correct. It will return it to factory defaults. Please note that many Android phones require different steps for factory reset. More from TechRepublic: The five best Android calendar apps and Top 25 Android apps: The best of the best. Ask Jack: If you have a DIY question, email it to me, and I'll do my best to answer it. (Read guidelines about submitting DIY questions.)

About Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.

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