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Galaxy Tab: The Missing Manual by Preston Gralla

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Chapter 1. The Guided Tour

Your Galaxy Tab is a powerful multimedia, productivity, and communications marvel. The first time you hold it in your hands, you’ll immediately want to put it through its paces, browsing the Web, downloading and trying out apps, playing games, watching videos, gathering news, checking your email, and more.

That’s as it should be: Your Galaxy Tab can do many remarkable things.

To help you unlock all those powers, though, it’s a good idea to get a solid understanding of how the Galaxy Tab works, and a look at all its different parts. You’ll want to know where all of its buttons, ports, and cameras are located, for example—not to mention how to get to your Home screen panes, or to a location that will become one of your best friends: the Apps Menu.

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Power/Lock Key

On the upper-left rear of your Galaxy Tab as you hold it horizontally, with the small photo lens at the top, you find a small, silver button. It may be only a single button, but it’s a hard-working one, and it performs several functions:

  • Sleep/Wake. When your Galaxy Tab is turned on, pressing and releasing the button puts your Tab into Sleep mode, a state in which the display is turned off and the device uses only a minimum amount of power, in order to save battery life. When the Tab is in dreamland, it doesn’t register any taps, so you can’t accidentally send an email or delete every picture on your Tab. Pressing and releasing this button wakes up the Tab into its locked mode—you’ll see how to unlock it a little later.

    Note

    In this book, the location of various physical buttons, ports, cameras, and so on, assumes that you’re holding the Tab horizontally, with the camera lens at the top.

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  • On/Off. If your Galaxy Tab is turned off, hold down the button, and it springs to life. Simple, yes? If, on the other hand, it’s turned on, holding down the button turns it off. When you do so, though, it doesn’t immediately shut down. Instead, a screen appears with three options. You can put your Tab into Silent mode, in which it makes no sounds; you can put it into Flight mode (see Connecting via Wi-Fi), in which all of its radios are turned off (but you can still use the device); or you can turn off the power. To do none of that, tap the screen.

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Locking the Screen

As described on Power/Lock Key, when you put the Galaxy Tab to sleep, the screen stops responding to touch. It blacks out, indicating that the screen is locked. Always lock the screen before putting your Tab somewhere like in a bag or backpack to avoid accidental screen taps. In fact, every time you leave the Tab untouched for two minutes, the screen automatically locks itself. (You can change how long it takes to lock; see Location and Security.)

Note

Your Galaxy Tab may be Wi-Fi-only, or also have the ability to connect to a cellular network and get a connection that way. Either way, the device looks the same.

While the screen is locked, the Tab still operates behind the scenes, checking email and Facebook and receiving text messages. You get all the usual notifications for all the things you’ve asked it to notify you about. In fact, in many ways, your Tab works just as hard when it’s locked as when it’s not.

When you want to use the Tab again, you need to unlock it. Simply put your fingertip on the lock icon on the screen and slide it in any direction. Your Tab is now ready to do your bidding.

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Tip

For added security, you can also require that a password be used to unlock your Tab, or even that a specific finger-swiping motion be performed on the keyboard before it can be unlocked. For details, see Screen.

About the Screen

The screen is the Galaxy Tab’s center stage—it’s where it displays web pages, apps, games, and more, and because it’s a touch screen, it’s also where you’ll tell the Tab what you want to do next. The screen is a roomy 10.1 inches measured diagonally. (For you techies, that’s 1280 x 800 pixels with a pixel density of 149 pixels per inch). When you turn it sideways, it switches to a widescreen TV and movie format. As this book went to press, an 8.9-inch version of the Galaxy Tab was being prepared for release. Other than the screen size being smaller than the 10.1-inch one, it works basically the same. So this book shows you how to use that version of the Galaxy Tab as well.

But there’s a lot going on behind that pretty display.

Tip

Since you’re going to be touching the display with your fingers, it’s going to get dirty and streaky. Simply wipe it clean with a soft, lint-free cloth or tissue. The screen is scratch-resistant, but if you’re worried about scratches, get a case or screen protector. See Appendix A for ideas.

Built-in Sensors

Underneath its flat black screen, the Galaxy Tab has four sensors that perform a lot of its magic:

  • Ambient light sensor. This senses the light level and adjusts your screen’s brightness to save battery power. So in bright light, it makes the screen brighter so that it can be more easily seen, and in dim light, it makes the screen dimmer, because bright light is not needed.

  • 3-axis accelerometer. As its name implies, this measures acceleration and motion. The Galaxy Tab uses the accelerometer to sense the orientation of the screen and turn it to either landscape or portrait mode. But clever app makers use it for other things as well.

  • Digital compass. You read that right—it’s got a compass built into it.

  • Gyroscope. Yes, it’s got one of these as well, for games and all kinds of motion-sensing apps.

Home Screen

When you turn on your Galaxy Tab, you see its big, beautiful screen, which you can hold in either a horizontal or vertical position.

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The upper-left portion of the screen is your central location for search. Type a search term, or tap the microphone icon and then speak your search. Either way, you search the Internet as well as your Tab. Over on the upper right, tap the Apps button and you’ll open the Apps Menu, displaying all of the apps you’ve got on the Tab—those that are preloaded as well as any you’ve installed.

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If you’ve got more apps than can fit on one screen, notice one or more buttons or dots just beneath the apps. Each dot represents another screen that has apps on it. Flick your finger toward the left, and you go to that screen. You see whatever apps you’ve got there—and if you look to the left of the screen, you see outlines of icons showing you that you’ve got icons back on the main Apps Menu screen. Flick over to it.

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Back on the Home screen, just to the right of the Apps Menu button is a small + button. That’s the button you use to add widgets to your Home screen and any of its five—that’s right, count ‘em, five—panes. More on that later, though. See Customizing the Home Screen and Panes for details.

Down at the bottom of the screen are several areas that stay with you no matter where you go: the combination Notification Panel/Quick Settings area on the right, and the four soft buttons—onscreen, not physical buttons—on the left. The soft buttons are used for navigation and for taking screenshots of the Tab or using its camera, and the Notification Panel/Quick Settings area sends any notifications and alerts your way, and lets you change some important Galaxy Tab settings.

Toward the middle bottom of the screen, you’ll see a small, upward-facing arrow. Tap that arrow to reveal a half a dozen apps. To make them go away again, tap the downward-facing arrow that appears all the way on the bottom left of the Tab.

The apps include a task manager for managing apps that are running, a calendar, a world clock, a memo-taking program, a calculator, and a Samsung music app that’s different from the normal Android music app.

Now it’s time to look at some of the Home screen’s features in more detail.

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Notification Panel and Quick Settings

The Galaxy Tab makes sure to always keep you updated with information about its current status, and with any news, updates, and information it thinks is important. It does this by displaying a variety of icons in the Notification Panel at the bottom right of the screen. You’ll find a variety of icons there, including those that give information about the current state of the Tab, such as Wi-Fi signal strength, 3G or 4G connection status, battery life, and so on. There are also notifications about events, such as a new email or chat message received, a calendar event reminder, and so on.

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When a new notification comes in, it briefly appears in a pop-up window with information about it—part or all of a chat message, for example. Tap the notification, and you launch the app that sent that notification. For instance, if the notification is about incoming messages, tapping it will launch Gmail or your email software.

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If you miss the notification pop-up, don’t worry—the small icon showing you’ve received a notification stays in the Notification Panel. Tap the icon, and the pop-up appears again. You can then tap the pop-up to head to the app. If you want the notification icon to vamoose, tap the X next to it.

Note

Even when your Galaxy Tab’s screen is locked, you can see all the notifications you have. But don’t try tapping them when the screen is locked—they won’t respond. You have to unlock the screen first.

You can also see every one of your notifications in one fell swoop, rather than tapping them one at a time. Tap the right side of the Notification Panel, and the Panel expands, showing all of your notifications. It shows not just the notifications about events, but also gives more information about the state of your Tab, such as how much battery life you have left, the name of the Wi-Fi network to which you’re currently connected, and so on. It also includes a widget that lets you turn on and off various Tab radios such as Wi-Fi and GPS, turn notifications on and off, and change other settings, such as for sound, brightness, and screen orientation. And it gives you access to all of the Galaxy Tab’s settings by tapping the Settings button.

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Here are the most common icons you come across in the Notification Panel:

  • Cell signal . If you’ve got a Galaxy Tab with 3G or 4G, you see a notification about your cell signal. The more bars you see, the stronger the signal.

  • 3G . This one appears when you’re connected via a 3G high-speed broadband service. (It only appears if you have a Galaxy Tab with cellular service.) The little arrows underneath the symbol show when data is being sent and received. Notice that the arrows may turn black even when you think you’re not sending or receiving data. That’s because the Tab may be checking for email, updates, and so on.

  • Bluetooth connection . This icon indicates that you’ve turned on Bluetooth for making a connection to a headset or some other device.

  • Flight mode . When you use Flight mode, you turn off Wi-Fi and cellular communications so you can keep using your Galaxy Tab’s apps without interfering with navigation equipment. See Connecting via Wi-Fi for more details.

  • Wi-Fi . Shows that you’re connected to a Wi-Fi network, or that a Wi-Fi network is within range.

  • Downloading . When you’re downloading an app or media file, you see this icon.

  • Download complete . Congratulations—your download was successful.

  • Update available . One or more of your apps has an update available. Tap the icon to download and install the update.

  • New email message . You’ve got mail! See POP3 and IMAP Accounts to learn about reading new email.

  • New Gmail message . You’ve got Gmail! See Reading Mail in Gmail to learn about reading new email messages in Gmail.

  • GPS . Your GPS radio is turned on. See More Layers for information about GPS.

  • Upcoming event . Now you’ll never forget your anniversary—or your dentist appointment. The Galaxy Tab alerts you with this icon when you’ve got an event about to happen.

  • Time . Shows you what time it is. Say goodbye to your watch.

  • Battery . Get to know this little icon—it shows you how much battery life you’ve got. If it’s charging, the Tab plays a battery-filling animation and displays a small lightning bolt.

  • USB or USB tethering . This shows that you’ve connected a USB device to your Galaxy Tab, or else you’ve turned on USB tethering in order to give an Internet connection to your PC via the Tab.

  • Google Talk . You’ve got a message from someone who wants to chat with you via Google Talk.

  • Music . You’re playing music. Tap the icon and you get a set of mini-controls for the Galaxy Tab’s music player.

Quick Settings

As explained earlier, when you tap the Notification Panel, it expands to show you all of your notifications—plus more information, such as how much battery life you’ve got left, the name of the Wi-Fi network to which you’re currently connected, and so on. You also see the Quick Settings Panel, which lets you change a variety of Galaxy Tab settings:

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  • Quick Settings widget. This widget gives you instant access to the Galaxy Tab’s most common settings. Tap an icon to turn a feature on or off—green means it’s on, no color means it’s off. Tap the Wi-Fi icon, for example, to turn Wi-Fi on and off, and Notifications to turn notifications on or off. Slide the widget over to the left to reveal more settings. Most settings are self-explanatory, but a few are worth noting, Auto rotation in particular. Normally when you switch your Galaxy Tab from vertical to horizontal and vice versa, the Tab switches its screen orientation to match the move. Tap this to turn it off, though, and it stays locked in its current orientation.

    Tap the Sound icon and the sounds turns off, and the Tab will vibrate rather than make sounds. You’ll find the Flight Mode icon extremely useful. Tap it to turn Flight Mode on or off. Your Wi-Fi, cellular communications, and Bluetooth radios are turned off, so you can still keep using your Tab’s apps, but they won’t interfere with navigation. See Connecting via Wi-Fi for more details.

  • Brightness. Use the slider to make your screen brighter or dimmer. Or just leave it to the Tab to figure out the correct brightness based on your current lighting conditions, and leave it at Auto.

  • Settings. Tap here to change approximately two zillion Galaxy Tab settings. See Chapter 16 for the rundown.

The Four (and Sometimes Five) Soft Buttons

Down at the bottom left of your screen, you see four soft buttons, which stay with you wherever you go on the Galaxy Tab. From left to right, here’s what they do:

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Back Button

Wherever you are, tap this button to return to where you just were. The Back button works inside apps as well as in menus. So when you’re browsing the Web, for example, it takes you back to the last page you visited. Tapping the Back button also makes the virtual keyboard or a menu disappear if one is currently displayed.

Note

When you’re using the keyboard, the Back button turns into a down arrow. After you tap the down arrow to make the keyboard disappear, the down arrow turns back into your old friend, the Back button.

Home Button

Repeat after me, Dorothy: There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home…. Wherever you are on the Tab, tap the Home button to return to the familiar Home screen. You don’t even need to tap your ruby slippers together.

Recent Apps

Here’s an amazingly useful button. Tap it, and you see thumbnails of the most recent apps you were running—you even see what was on the screen the last time you were using them. Tap one and you switch right to that app, even if it’s closed down. You can scroll up through your most recent apps.

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Note

Even when you’re running an app, all these buttons appear and work. So if you’re inside an app and want to switch to another one you were running recently, just tap the Recent Apps button, tap the app you want to switch to, and you’re off on your merry way.

Screen Capture/Camera

Tap this button and you’ll capture the contents of the Tab’s screen. It will be saved in the Gallery. (See Opening the Gallery for details.)

The Mysterious Menu Buttons

Every once in a while, when you’re inside an app, a fifth button appears at the bottom of the screen, to the right of the other four . It’s the Menu button, and it gives you access to more features and options. Tap it to reveal options for that particular app. The options pictured here are for an app called Pandora, which streams music to your Tab.

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Other times, the Menu button appears in the upper-right portion of the screen, such as in the Gmail and Email apps. Tap it, and you see options for the current app. These options often change depending on what you’re doing in the app—they’re what geeks call context-sensitive. The options pictured here are what appear when you tap the top Menu button when reading a message in Gmail.

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Searching

Remember that Search button up at the top left of the screen? Tap it, and a box and keyboard appear that let you type in a search term. As you tap the text you’re searching for, your Tab displays matching results. Those on the left are matching and suggested results from the Web, for searching Google, and those on the right are for matching results from your Tab or from your browser’s bookmarks. Tap a term on the left, and you search the Internet; tap one on the right, and you launch the appropriate Galaxy Tab app—an app, say, or a contact, or a website, and so on.

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If no matches appear, tap your entire search term, and then tap the triangle at the right of the search box. To delete all the text in the search box so you can launch another search, tap the X.

Your Galaxy Tab also lets you do a voice search—instead of typing in your search terms, you can speak them. To do a voice search, hold down the Search key instead of just pressing it, and then speak. The Tab does its best to interpret what you say, and it generally does a good job of it. For more details, see Using the Magic of Voice Actions.

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Customizing the Home Screen and Panes

Here’s one of the many nice things about the Galaxy Tab—it’s easy to put your personal mark on it. Wish there were a few more apps on the Home screen? No problem; you can easily add them. Want to change the location of apps, or move around widgets and add new ones to each of your panels and the Home screen? It’s a breeze. The rest of this section shows you how. Think of yourself as Picasso and the Home screen as your canvas.

First, a bit of explanation. Your Home screen is actually a whole lot bigger than it looks. At first glance, it appears to be a single panel. In fact, though, there are five panels. To see them, swipe your finger to the left or right along the Home screen. You see two panels to the left of the main Home panel, and two panels to the right of them. The panel indicator at the top of the screen shows you which panel you’re currently on. You can also move from panel to panel by tapping the panel’s button. This section shows you how to customize any or all of those five panels.

To start, tap the + button on the upper right of the Tab’s screen. You see thumbnails of all five of your panels on the top part of the screen. On the bottom part of the screen, you see buttons for widgets, app shortcuts, wallpapers, and more.

Tip

Don’t like the idea of tapping the + button? Then simply press your finger against the Tab screen, and the same thing happens.

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Tap any of those buttons, and you see all the objects you can add to any of the panels. You’ll learn how to add them shortly. But first, here’s what each of those buttons means and what they let you add:

  • Widgets. A widget is an applet that performs a specific task, often grabbing and displaying information from the Galaxy Tab, a Galaxy Tab app, or the Internet. The Galaxy Tab has all kinds of nifty widgets you can add—for example, a widget to display the latest events in your calendar, one to display the latest emails to hit your Inbox, a picture frame that displays your photos and changes them regularly, and so on.

  • App shortcuts. A shortcut is a quick link to an app or specific task. So, for example, you could create a shortcut to the Pandora Internet radio app, or to your browser. When you tap the shortcut, the app launches.

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  • Wallpapers. Here’s where the Picasso part comes in. You can add a wallpaper to the background of any panel, just as you can add wallpaper to your computer. There are three choices here: Gallery, Live Wallpapers, and Wallpapers. Live Wallpapers are backgrounds that change, either because they’re animated, or because they grab information from somewhere, and then display it as part of the background. The Map live wallpaper, for example, shows your current location on a Google Map as your wallpaper. If you instead choose Gallery, you can take any of your photos and use them as wallpaper. The Wallpaper option lets you use a static wallpaper. No matter what you choose, you get to preview the wallpaper first.

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  • More. You find a hodgepodge of choices here, including app shortcuts, your browser’s bookmarks, and more.

Note

When you add wallpaper to your Home screen, it also shows up as the background on all your panes.

OK, time to go crazy. You can now trick out your Home screen in countless ways. Read on to see how to do it.

Putting Widgets and App Shortcuts on the Home Screen

It’s a breeze to put a widget or app shortcut on any of the Home screen’s five panels. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Go to the panel where you want to add a widget or app.

  2. Press your finger and hold it, or else tap the + button in the upper-right portion of your screen.

    The top of your screen changes to show thumbnails of all of your five home screens, and the bottom shows either widgets, App shortcuts (icons), or wallpapers you can add to any screen. Your current home screen will be highlighted in blue.

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  3. Tap Widgets to show available widgets, App shortcuts to show app shortcuts, and More for a mix of both of them.

    The bottom of your screen shows all of the widgets or app icons you can add to a home screen. Flick left and right through the list to see what’s available.

  4. When you find the widget or app icon you want to add, tap it. The widget or app icon flies to your current screen, and you’ll see a thumbnail of it there.

  5. Tap the panel where you’ve just placed the app or widget. There it is, in all of its Galaxy Tab-like glory!

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Note

You can add a widget or app icon to as many panels as you want.

Deleting and Moving Widgets and App Shortcuts

Once you’ve added widgets and shortcuts to your Home screen, you’re not stuck with them, or with where you’ve placed them:

  • To move a widget or folder, press your finger on it and hold it. Drag it to its new location and take your finger off it—that’s where it stays. You can move it to a different location on the same panel, or to a different panel.

  • To delete a widget or shortcut, press your finger on it and hold it for a second or two. The Apps button at the top of the screen turns into a Trash button and the word Remove appears next to it. Drag the widget or app shortcut to the Trash. When you see it turn red, release it—it’s gone. Keep in mind, though, that when you delete it, it’s gone forever. It’s not like the PC’s Recycle Bin or the Mac’s Trash where it’s kept for a while. It’s gone, baby, gone.

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Note

When you delete a widget or shortcut to an app, you’re not deleting the app itself—just a shortcut to it. The app remains. If you want to delete the app itself, you have to delete it from the Apps Menu.

Resizing Widgets

You can resize some, but not all, of your Tab’s widgets. After you’ve placed a widget on a Home screen, hold your finger on it, and then remove your finger. An rectangular outline appears around the widget. A circle appears on each side.

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Note

The only way to know if a widget can be resized is to try resizing it—there are no visible indications whether it’s resizable or not.

Drag a circle and release it. The widget will resize, and the outline will still appear around it. Tap the Tab’s screen to make the outline disappear.

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Changing the Home Screen’s Wallpaper

To change your Home screen’s wallpaper, you take slightly different steps. Follow the first two steps for putting widgets and app shortcuts on the Home screen, and then:

  1. Tap Wallpapers. You’ll see the three types of wallpaper you can add: Gallery, Live Wallpapers, and Wallpapers.

  2. Tap the type of wallpaper you want to add. For this example, choose Live Wallpapers.

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  3. Flick through the list until you see one you want to add. Tap it.

    Your Tab’s screen fills with the wallpaper. Since you’ve chosen a live wallpaper, you can change its options by tapping the Settings button. For example, on the Maps live wallpaper, you can choose whether the map should also display traffic and weather.

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  4. If you decide you don’t want to use the wallpaper, tap the Back button to return to the previous screen. If you want to use the wallpaper, tap “Set wallpaper.”

    That’s it—you’ve just set your wallpaper. Tap any panel to see it. Note that the same wallpaper will be on all of your Home screen panels. You can have only one wallpaper on all five panels; you can’t set different ones for individual panels.

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Controlling the Galaxy Tab with Your Fingers

With the Galaxy Tab, your fingers do the walking. They do all the work that you do on a computer with a mouse or keyboard. Here are the eight finger strokes you can use on the Tab’s screen.

Tap

Tapping is as basic to the Tab as clicking is to a mouse. This one simple gesture is how you press onscreen buttons, place the cursor for text entry, and choose from menus.

Touch and Hold

Touch an object and hold it for several seconds, and depending on what you’re holding, you may perform an action. (For example, when you touch and hold the Home screen, you get sent to the screen that lets you customize it.) You also touch and hold an object as a way to grab onto it if you then want to drag the object somewhere.

Drag

After you’ve grabbed something, you can drag it with your finger, such as dragging an icon to the trash.

Slide

Slide your finger across the screen to perform some specific tasks, like unlocking your Tab after it’s been put into Sleep mode. You also use the sliding motion to move through all of the Home screen panels.

Flick

Think of the flick as a faster slide, done vertically when scrolling through a list, such as a list of your contacts. The faster you make the flicking motion, the faster your screen scrolls—sometimes too fast. You can stop the motion, though, by touching the screen again.

Note

Flicks seem to actually obey the laws of physics, or at least as much as virtual movement can. When you flick a list, it starts off scrolling very quickly, and then gradually slows down, as if it were a ball set in motion that gradually loses momentum.

To scroll through large lists quickly, you can flick multiple times.

Pinch and Spread

In many apps, such as Google Maps, Mail, Browser, and Photos, you can zoom in by spreading your fingers—placing your thumb and forefinger on the screen and spreading them. The amount you spread your fingers will determine the amount you zoom in.

To zoom out, put your thumb and forefinger on the screen and pinch them together. The more you pinch, the more you zoom out.

Double-Tap

When you’re viewing a Google Map, a picture, or a Web page, you can zoom in by double-tapping. In some instances, when you’ve reached the limit of zooming in, double-tapping again restores the view to its original size.

Note

Another way to zoom out in Google Maps is to tap with two fingers at once. This trick is unique to Google Maps.

Tilting and Panning

The Galaxy Tab includes some nifty motion settings that let you do things such as reduce or enlarge pictures simply by tilting the Tab while placing two fingers on the screen. When you’re in the Gallery (What Do Those Album Icons in the Gallery Mean?) or using the browser (The Galaxy Tab’s Browser), put two fingers on the screen (using your thumbs is easiest) and tilt the screen forward to zoom out, and tilt it back to zoom in.

You can also pan from one screen to another by holding down an icon and moving the Tab to the right or left. (In practice, I had problems getting this to work, but you might have better luck.)

You can turn these settings on or off and customize them (for example, changing how tilt works) by tapping the Notification Panel and tapping Settings→Motion Settings.

Using the Keyboard

Tap wherever you can enter text, and the keyboard appears. When you tap in the text-entry box, a blinking cursor appears, indicating that you can start typing text. You can hold the tablet either horizontally or vertically to use the keyboard.

The Galaxy Tab doesn’t use the normal Android keyboard. Instead, it uses one devised by Samsung. And as you’ll see later in this chapter, you can also use a very nifty keyboard called Swype that lets you input text quickly by swiping your finger along the keyboard, instead of tapping keys.

Using the keyboard is straightforward; tap letters and characters to input them. As you tap you’ll feel just the slightest vibration to let you know that the Tab has input the character you tapped.

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There are a few special keys, though, that you should know about:

  • Shift . There’s one on either side of the keyboard. Tap one and it changes to blue, and the letters all change to uppercase on the keyboard. Tap any key, and it gets entered in uppercase. After you tap the key, though, the keyboard changes back to lowercase. If you want to type multiple uppercase characters in a row, there’s a nifty way around the problem: Keep your finger on the Shift key as you type. As long as you hold your finger there, you type in upper case. Remove your finger, tap a key, and you’re back to lower case.

  • ?123 . As the label implies, this key reveals punctuation marks and numbers. When you tap it, you see a whole keyboard full of them, and the same key now reads ABC. Tap it to return to alphabetic typing.

    When you switch to the numbers and punctuation keyboard, the Shift key turns into a key indicating that there are several more keyboards available to you . Tap it, and you can then display the second numeric and punctuation keyboard—one with special characters and symbols such as the trademark symbol, several types of brackets, the symbol for euros, and so on. Tap it again and you’ll come to a keyboard filled with emoticons and smiley faces. Tap it one more time to get back to the first number and punctuation keyboard.

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  • Return . This key works exactly as you would expect: Tap it, and you move on to the next line, just as on a computer.

  • Settings . Tap here to change a variety of settings, such as the input language and how to handle autocorrection.

  • Insert . You’ll find this key quite useful. Tap it and you’ll be sent to the Galaxy Tab’s Clipboard (see Accented and Special Characters), where you can insert anything that you’ve pasted there. What you can paste will vary according to the app you’re using. For example, in email, you can’t paste pictures, while in the Galaxy Tab’s built-in Pen Memo app, you can.

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Using the Swype Keyboard

The Galaxy Tab also includes a very nifty keyboard called Swype. With this keyboard, you don’t tap individual keys when you want to enter text. Instead, you tap a key, then drag your finger over each letter in the word you want to input. Swype enters all the letters in the word, using built-in intelligence to figure out what you’re entering. It’s much faster than tapping individual letters. Yes, it takes some getting used to, but you can master it in a few minutes. Once you get used to the Swype, you may never go back to the standard keyboard.

The Swype keyboard takes a few minutes to get used to, but once you do, you’ll be amazed at how much faster you can enter text with it than the traditional keyboard. So put aside your trepidations and give it a try. Switch to it by tapping the Notification Panel, selecting Settings, and then choosing Language and input→Current Input method, and then tapping Swype.

There’s another way to switch to the Swype keyboard. Whenever you’re using the Galaxy Tab’s keyboard, a keyboard icon appears in the Notification Panel. Tap the icon and you’ll come to a screen that lets you select which keyboard you want to use. Tap Swype.

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The Swype keyboard looks similar to the multitouch keyboard, although with some differences. The real difference, though, isn’t in the keyboard—it’s in the way you input text. Rather than tap each letter individually, you put your finger on the first letter of the word, and then with a single motion, move your finger from letter to letter of the word you want to in put. As you do so, you’ll see the path you’ve traced. Don’t worry too much about accuracy, because Swype does an exceptional job of interpreting the word you want to input, using its dictionary. Just try to get near each letter; it’s okay if you’re off a little bit. When you’ve finished tracing the word, lift your finger.

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There are times when Swype might not know precisely what you’re trying to trace, and the trace might match multiple words. If that happens, Swype pops up a Word Choice window.

Note

If you’re entering numbers or special characters with Swype, you’ll have to tap on them, just like you have to with the multitouch keyboard. You won’t be able to move your finger across the keys in order to input them.

Tap the word you want. Press the arrow key at the bottom of the pop-up to see more choices. If you want to go with the first word on the list (the most likely choice), simply press the space key. If none of the words match, tap the X and start over. And remember, you can always tap the Swype keyboard in the same way that you can tap the multitouch keyboard if you simply can’t get Swype to recognize a word.

The Swype Key

The Swype’s keyboard is laid out a bit differently than the normal keyboard. The basic keyboard is the same, although some special keys are in different locations. The real difference, though is in the Swype key . This key does double-duty. Press and hold it, and a screen appears with a tip about Swype on it. If you just tap the key, it highlights the word directly to the left of the insertion point and brings up the Word Choice menu, so you can correct the word if you want. If you tap the key in an empty input box, it brings up a tip.

Autocorrect, Word Choice, and the Swype Dictionary

Swype uses its own dictionary for recognizing words and presenting them in the Word Choice pop-up screen. You can’t add words to this dictionary or delete them in the same way you can with the multitouch keyboard. The two dictionaries don’t share information.

Swype takes a much more aggressive approach to correcting your tapping than does the multitouch keyboard. As you drag your fingers across keys, it either enters a word from the dictionary—the closest match to what it thinks you want to type—or pops up Word Choice and presents a list of words from the dictionary. So if you carefully drag your finger across the letters t-h-i-m-k, Swype doesn’t enter “thimk.”

But what if you really do want to enter thimk? Simply tap the letters individually. Do that, and two things happen: The word is entered onscreen, and the word is added to the dictionary. Next time you drag your fingers across t-h-i-m-k, Swype dutifully enters thimk into the text box. And thimk also starts appearing in the Word Choice balloon.

If you don’t particularly think that having thimk in the dictionary is a good idea, you can remove it. Highlight the word onscreen by tapping it twice. The word turns blue, bracketed by two triangles. Tap the Swype key, and you’re asked if you want to delete the word from the dictionary. Tap OK.

Tips for Using Swype

Swype is a surprisingly full-featured little app. Here are some useful tips for getting the most out of it.

  • Don’t use the space key. After you enter a word using Swype, lift your finger and enter another word. Swype automatically puts a space between the two words.

  • Swype usually recognizes when you want to add accented characters. Slide your finger across the letters, and the proper accent generally appears, as in the word café. However, you can still add accented characters if Swype doesn’t automatically recognize them. To add an Ö, for example, hold down the O key, and a menu of accented characters appears above the keyboard. Choose the character you want to use.

  • Circle or scribble for double letters. If you want to enter the word “tennis,” then when you get to the “n,” make a circle on the key with your finger, or scribble back and forth across the key. Then glide with your finger to the next letter.

    Note

    Swype offers an exceptional number of ways to customize how it works—for example, how long to display the Swype trace path onscreen, how to balance speed of word recognition versus accuracy, and so on. To customize Swype, press the Swype key and at the bottom of the help screen, tap Options. Then customize to your heart’s content.

  • Work quickly. Don’t slow down in an attempt to be more precise. Swype is built for speed. Move your finger quickly; you’ll be surprised at how well Swype recognizes words.

Moving the Insertion Point

Once you get the hang of entering text, you have another challenge—moving the insertion point to go back and edit, delete, or add words or letters. You can tap where you want to place the insertion point, but that’s not always effective. Even with fine-tuned hand-eye coordination, it can be difficult to tap in the precise spot where you want the insertion point.

There’s a better way. Tap anywhere in the text, and a large blue polygon appears beneath a blinking insertion point. Drag the polygon to move the insertion point wherever you want it to go, then remove your finger.

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Copying and Pasting Text

What’s a computer without the ability to cut, copy, and paste? A computer at heart, the Tab lets you do all that, even though it has no mouse. For example, you can copy directions from Google Maps into an email to send to a friend, paste contact information into a note to yourself, and so on. You copy and paste text using the same basic techniques you use on a PC or a Mac. You select it, and then copy, cut, or paste it.

Note

This technique works only in areas where you enter or edit text, such as in email messages you’re composing, text messages you’re creating, contact information, and similar locations. You can’t copy and paste text from an incoming email. You can, however, copy and paste text from a web page, although using a different technique. See Managing Bookmarks for how to do it.

There are several ways to select text in an input box, depending on how much text you want to cut or copy:

  • Double-tap. Double-tap the first or last word in a selection of text that you want to cut or copy. The word is highlighted and bracketed by polygons—those are the handles. Drag each to include all the text you want to select, and then release.

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  • Hold. Press your finger on a word and hold it there. The word is highlighted, but not bracketed by polygons, so you can’t expand the selection.

  • Select all. Whenever you select text, a Text Selection toolbar appears at the top of your screen. Tap Select all to select all the text in the text box, the body of an email message, and so on.

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Once you’ve selected text, it’s time to do something with it. That’s what the Text selection toolbar is for:

  • Select all. Selects all the text in the text box. It overrides you if you’ve selected only some of the text in the text box.

  • Cut. Cuts the text you’ve selected and puts it onto the Galaxy Tab’s clipboard, so you can later paste it somewhere if you want. The clipboard works just like the one on your PC or Mac—it holds things you’ve copied until you want to paste them later. Unlike the PC or Mac, though, this clipboard holds multiple clips, not just a single one.

  • Copy. Copies the last piece of text you’ve put onto the clipboard, so that you can paste it somewhere.

  • Paste. Pastes the last piece of text you’ve put on the clipboard and replaces whatever text you’ve selected. So if you’ve selected all text in the text box, Paste deletes all that text, and replaces it with the last thing you put on the clipboard. If you’ve selected only a word or a few words, it deletes them and replaces them with the latest from the clipboard.

  • Clipboard. This shows you all the clips you’ve placed in the clipboard, including text as well as pictures. Tap the clip you want to insert. Note that in emails, you’ll only be able to insert text clips, not any pictures. Other apps, such as the built-in Pen Memo app, let you insert pictures from the Clipboard.

Note

Here’s an easy way to paste the last piece of text in the Clipboard anywhere you want. Tap where you want to paste text. The familiar blue polygon appears. Wait a second or so until the word Paste and an icon appears above the insertion point. Tap the icon and you’ll paste the last piece of text from the Clipboard into that location.

Accented and Special Characters

You can easily type in accented characters (such as é, Ö, Ü, and so on) with the Galaxy Tab keyboard. Press any one of a number of keys, and keep your finger on it for a second or so. A palette of accented characters appears. Tap the one you want to use, or tap the X to make the palette of characters go away. The following chart shows which keys let you enter special characters.

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Key

Accented and Special Characters

A

ā, ã, å, æ, â, à, á, ä

C

ç

E

ê, è, é, ë

I

ì, í, î, ï

N

ñ

O

ø, õ, œ, ò, ô, ö, ó

U

ù, û, ü, ú

Changing and Customizing the Keyboard

The keyboard that the Tab uses right out of the box isn’t the one built into Android. Rather, it’s a special Samsung keyboard. What’s so special about it? It’s equipped with predictive text—that is, as you type, it guesses what word you’re typing, and suggests common words to insert. You can then select a word from the options displayed. This feature can save you plenty of time, although some people find it distracting.

As a general rule, predictive text doesn’t work when you first turn on your Galaxy Tab. Instead, you have to turn it on. To turn it on:

  1. Tap the Apps Menu and select Settings.

  2. Tap Language and Input→Configure input methods.

  3. At the bottom of the screen, a “Samsung keypad settings” entry appears. Tap Settings.

  4. Turn on the “XT9 Predictive text” checkbox.

From now on, your keyboard will be your best friend and recommend words for you. To turn predictive text off, head to this same location and uncheck the box.

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You can configure how predictive text works; for example, you can control whether it corrects your spelling. To configure it, after you’ve turned on predictive text, tap “XT9 advanced settings” just below the “XT9 predictive settings” checkbox. You can then fiddle with the settings to your heart’s content.

Once you’ve turned on predictive text, your Samsung keyboard will go to work, suggesting words and text as you type. The words and text appear just above the keyboard. Tap any to paste it into the text area where you’re typing.

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You can make your keyboard even smarter, and have it recognize words it doesn’t know yet. As it suggests words or text, you’ll notice a small down arrow all the way on the right. Tap that arrow and an “Add word” box appears. Tap that box, and in the screen that appears, type in your word and then tap Done. From now on, your keyboard will suggest that new word when you’re typing the appropriate letters.

What if you don’t like the Samsung keyboard and would prefer to use the one built into Android? It’s a snap to switch:

  1. Tap the Apps Menu and select Settings.

  2. Tap Language and Input→Configure input methods.

  3. Tap “Current input method.”

  4. From the screen that appears, select “English (US) Keyboard (Android Keyboard).”

From now on, you’ll use the built-in Android keyboard.

Instead of the Android keyboard, you can choose other keyboards, including the Swype keyboard (see Using the Swype Keyboard) and the TalkBack keyboard, which is designed to allow people who are blind or who have low vision to use voice input to use the Tab.

Headphone Jack

If you hold your Tab horizontally, with the small photo lens at the top, you find a 3.5-millimeter headset jack right smack dab on top. You can plug in headphones or even external speakers and enjoy the Tab as a music machine (it offers full stereo). Notice that it’s a headset jack, not just a garden variety headphone jack. It doesn’t just let you listen; it can send outgoing sound as well. That’s so you can plug an earbud headset (or another kind of headset) into it and use it along with a voice or video chat program like Google Talk. (See How You Chat for more details.)

Charger/Accessory Port

Down at the bottom edge of the Galaxy Tab if you’re holding it horizontally, with the small photo lens at the top, you’ll find a port for charging your Tab and for connecting it to a computer for transferring music and files. (For details, see Transferring Files from Your PC and Mac to Your Galaxy Tab.) The Tab comes with a special cable, one end of which connects to this port, and the other end of which connects to a computer via a USB connection. The Tab can connect to both Macs and PCs.

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If you often use power-hungry features like video and GPS, you may have to charge your Tab every night. If you use it less often, you might be able to get by with every other day.

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Microphone

That tiny little hole at the bottom edge of the Galaxy Tab—to the right of the Charger/Accessory port if you’re holding the Tab horizontally with the small camera lens at the top—is the Tab microphone. Yes, it’s small, but it does the job very nicely.

Volume Key

Is your ringer too loud? Too soft? Get it just right by using this key. It’s at the top left of the Galaxy Tab if you’re holding it horizontally with the small photo lens at the top. The key is the large one, just to the right of the small Power Lock key. Press the right side to make the volume louder and the bottom one to make it softer. When you press either key, a ringer volume app pops up on your screen, showing you how much louder or softer you’re making the ring.

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Cameras

Your Galaxy Tab includes not just one but two cameras—one facing front, and the usual back-facing one as well. Why two cameras? One you use for taking photographs, and the other you use as a webcam, for video chatting, for example. The one for taking photographs is 5-megapixels. Its lens is located on the back of the Tab and there’s a flash right next to it. As you’ll see on Taking Still Photos, there’s no physical button for taking photographs; instead, you press a button on the Tab screen itself.

The webcam lens is right at the top of the Tab in the middle as you hold it horizontally with the small camera lens at the top. It’s a 2-megapixel camera.

Speakers

On the back of your Galaxy Tab, you find a pair of stereo speakers. So if you want to listen to music without using a pair of headphones, you’re all set. You can also plug a pair of external speakers or headphones into the Tab’s headset jack.

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