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When setting up a phone for someone who's not especially tech-savvy (or simply doesn't care to learn about their phone), Android offers a nice amount of flexibility in terms of what you do or don't have to do. But just because the flexibility is there doesn't mean there aren't a few highly advisable, if technically totally optional, steps you can take to make that phone (and potentially the person using it) a lot less annoying. Here are 10 things we think will make any beginner's experience on an Android smartphone less frustrating, both for them and the person tasked with setting them up.
I don't envy parents whose kids are bugging them for their first smartphone, but I guess it's one of the inevitable challenges. Verizon hopes to make the whole process a little less stressful for you with a new plan designed for young children.
Google has split Family Link into two applications. Previously, the parental control service was offered in a single app which was installed on the devices of parents and children alike. The existing listing has now become Family Link for parents and a second app, Family Link for children and teens, has been introduced. After installing the latter on a child's device, parents can control it directly from their dedicated app.
One thing that Facebook has not been well-equipped to deal with is children. No, I don't mean teenagers. Most users are familiar with the barrage of photos that accompany each birth in the family of a Facebook friend, which often involves a mess of tagging of one or both parents in every baby photo. For parents themselves, they struggle sorting out photos of their sons and daughters unless they just dedicate albums to the children specifically. Now, Facebook is rolling out an optional set of features to make the process smoother for all involved.
Facebook is showing their devotion to inclusivity by even serving the children of iPhone owners.
Google has revealed their intention to roll out a new YouTube app just for kids, starting next week. It will be aptly named YouTube Kids and is geared towards those 10 years old or younger. Perhaps most interesting for non-children is that the app, at least initially, will be released exclusively on Android.
Image by USA Today
It features a fairly dumbed-down user interface that will leverage Google's voice recognition rather than rely on the spelling abilities of young children. And, of course, it has the huge benefit (for parents) of filtering out inappropriate content, including denying searches that will obviously turn up bad results.
When we think of tablet manufacturers, News Corp doesn't really come to mind off the bat. Yet, here we are. The international media conglomerate has announced plans for a branded Android tablet targeted at education called Amplify. The slate would come pre-loaded with Google Apps for Education, content from Common Sense Media, Merriam-Webster's Dictionary and a graphing calculator. Most of this can be acquired or supplemented on regular Android tablets, but having the system pre-built may make teachers' lives easier.
What these tablets offer that others don't, however, is lesson plan tools for teachers and software to help parents keep track of their children's progress.
There's little doubt that Pokémon is the very best at separating parents from money. Like no franchise ever was. Getting Nintendo to relinquish control of content, though, is a real test. It doesn't generally stream its show for free without good cause. Today, however, it's available across the land. The animated series can now be streamed to Android handsets far and wide.
Admittedly Pokémon licensing is something I don't understand, but it's pretty powerful that this app has free episodes inside. It's not the complete series, but it's probably enough Pokémon for you and me. I haven't seen the show since high school, but I knew a reunion was destiny.
Today, the streaming service best known for completing the Netflix/YouTube trifecta, Hulu Plus, got an update to its mobile Android app. Among the new features are a special Hulu Kids section that showcases a bunch of ad-free content for the youngsters. Parents can even lock the app so that only child-friendly content can be viewed without a password (though this doesn't prevent them from accessing other apps on the device).
In addition to the kids section, Hulu has also added new features for discovering more content. This largely seems to consist of additional sections on the main page of the app that you can slide through, so nothing unfamiliar, just more of it.
Google has released an update to its social network app on Android today that should please Hangout enthusiasts both young and old. For starters, now you can join Hangouts on Air via your mobile device (like the one we use to broadcast our weekly podcast every Thursday at 8pm EST hint hint). This is fantastic news as Hangouts on Air are among the most useful application of the already-awesome Hangouts feature. Unfortunately, until recently, you could only join via a desktop, but no more!
Additionally, Google is now allowing teens to create and join Hangouts via mobile. Which, apparently, they could not do before.