Hardware

Nine tips to help unleash the power of the Droid X

Jack Wallen offers some tips for the Droid X that will help you unleash the power of the device.

The Motorola Droid X (supplied by Verizon Wireless) is one of the more powerful mobile devices you can hold in your hands, thanks to both the hardware and the Android platform. Along with that power comes a hailstorm of possibilities. Some users find themselves perfectly at home on the Droid X, whereas others do not. For those of you who aren't having the easiest of times with this device, here are nine excellent tips that you might not find elsewhere.

Note: Some of these tips are Droid X-specific and some can be used on Android devices in general.

1. Placing the cursor where you need it

When you make a mistake in your typing (and you will), you might need to make a change somewhere in the string of text. To do this, hold your finger over where you would like the cursor to be. When you long press that location, a red circle will show up, followed by a magnifying glass (see Figure A). Move your finger to the exact spot you need to correct and release your finger. Figure A

Make sure to place the cursor post-mistake so you can backspace to delete the error.

2. Bring up the keyboard

There are times when you need the keyboard to appear, and it's simply not there. In order bring the keyboard up, press the "Menu" button (the 4 squared one), and hold it down until the keyboard appears.

3. Restrict calls to only contacts in your address book

This is a handy feature for people who don't want to be bothered by anyone not in their address book. To enable this feature, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Settings window
  2. Tap Location & security | Set up restriction lock
  3. Tap Enable restriction lock
  4. Set up a password for the lock
  5. Tap Manage restriction lock
  6. Enter the newly created password
  7. Tap Calls | Incoming Calls
  8. Select Allow only contacts calls (see Figure B)

Figure B

These options should be fairly obvious.

4. Laggy app drawer?

If opening your app drawer seems laggy, it might be due to Live Wallpaper. To get around this, simply turn it off by selecting a different wallpaper. This is a very quick way to speed up your desktop and regain valuable battery life.

5. Laggy screen sliding?

In the same vein of the app drawer, if sliding screens is laggy, the best way to fix this is to remove any of the Motorola widgets that require a connection to the Internet. These widgets (in many cases) will auto-update when their screen is brought to focus. If there are particular widgets you must keep, place them on one of the far right or far left screens so they won't cause lagginess in your most used screens.

6. Voice Command prompt

In order to gain quick access to the Voice Command prompt (see Figure C), tap the Home button twice. This is different than the Voice Search that appears after holding down the Search button. Figure C

If this is the first time you've brought this up, it will take a moment to initialize.

7. Home button launch

If you don't like what action occurs when double-tapping the Home button, it can be changed. Just follow these steps:

  1. Tap Settings | Applications
  2. Select "Double tap home launch"
  3. Select what action you would like to occur

8. Reset which launcher is used

What do you do if you've changed the Home screen to another launcher and want to go back to the original launcher? Simple. You clear the default settings so you can select what Home should use again. Here's how:

  1. Tap Settings | Applications | Manage applications
  2. Tap the All tab
  3. Locate the launcher you installed and tap it to open
  4. Tap Clear defaults

Now, when you tap the Home button, you'll be prompted to select your default launcher.

9. Gain access to a cursor control pad

For this to work, you have to have Swype enabled. Hold the phone horizontally and touch the Swype key on the upper left-hand side of the keyboard, slide your finger all the way down, and let go. This action will open up a cursor control keypad and options button (see Figure D). Figure D

This keypad is incredibly handy if you have trouble navigating around a text area or having trouble selecting text.

There are many tips and tricks for the Android platform. With some of these tips used on the Droid X mobile, your phone will be a powerhouse like you've never experienced in the palm of your hands.

About

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 getjackd.net.

2 comments
hdonnell
hdonnell

I don't know what version of the Droid X OS you were using when this article was written, but the current version change many of the tips and actions.

ed
ed

In #1, I recall the red magnifier that popped up, but an update seems to have replaced it with a little gray pointer. Thanks for #9. I'll bet I find it useful.

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