One of the great things about tablets is that they can be personalised to your own tastes and needs. If you think about your smartphone, perhaps you have used a favourite photo as the wallpaper and put links to important people or information on the home page. The same concept applies to a tablet, except that with a much bigger screen and a wider potential array of uses, the possibilities for personalisation are that much greater.
If you have a mobile phone running Google Android, the ways in which you can customise your Google Android tablet will already feel very familiar, because the operating system used is the same. Oh, you might be using Android version 2.3, 2.2 or 2.1, and there are important differences between the versions, but the methods for customising, and the kinds of things you can do, are very similar between the versions, so if you learn to work with one, you can work with all the others.
So, when it comes to the home screens of your Android tablet, what can you customise? Well, one of the great things about Android is its Market, with thousands of applications on hand to be downloaded. It is highly likely that you will come to have favourites among them. So why not put links to these favourites on your home screen? That way they will be always there when you want them with just a single screen tap.
It isn’t just downloaded applications you can put onto the home screen. Android comes with lots of ‘widgets’ – useful tools for doing all kinds of things, and these are designed exclusively to be placed on a home screen so they are easily accessible. Some widgets draw information from the internet such as your Facebook or Twitter updates, or news. Others draw information from your Android device such as the calendar or clock. Still others give you access to settings.
As if that isn’t enough, a home screen can be adorned with shortcuts to things like web bookmarks and individual contacts. Imagine being able to get to a web site you really like and visit frequently just by tapping an icon on the home screen, or texting someone important just by tapping the home screen. It really can be that easy.
Let’s not forget the wallpaper. Just as with a mobile phone, you can customise your Android tablet with its own background image, perhaps something drawn from a library of images, or a photo you have taken yourself.
Android comes with its own sets of widgets and wallpapers, and depending on which Android tablet you have the manufacturer may well have added more of its own as part of its process of ‘skinning’ Android. We’ve used a Samsung Galaxy Tab to show you how you can customise your Android tablet’s home page, and if you have a different tablet your options may vary. But the basic steps you need to take remain the same.
Step-by-step: Choose widgets and change wallpaper
Open the menu
Tap the ‘Menu’ button beneath the screen. A menu offering six options appears. Tap the ‘Add’ button to call up the full menu of options.
Choose an option
From this menu you can add widgets, shortcuts to applications and folders to the home screen or change wallpapers. Tap ‘Widgets’ to continue.
NEXT PAGE: choose a widget, and live wallpapers >>
Choose a widget
Scroll through the list of widgets with a vertical finger sweep. Choose Calendar Clock (or any other widget you like), by tapping it. It will appear on the home screen.
Move and delete
Tap and hold the widget to move it around the screen. To delete it drag it to the rubbish bin at the bottom of the screen.
Tap the ‘Menu’ button beneath the screen. Tap the ‘Wallpaper’ button in the middle of the top row to open the wallpaper selection menu.
What type of wallpaper?
Tap ‘Gallery’ if you want to use one of your own photos, ‘Wallpaper gallery’ to see the on-board images, or ‘Live Wallpapers’ to see a selection of animated wallpapers.
Tap ‘Live Wallpapers’ and scroll through the list on offer. Tap a wallpaper to preview it. Tap ‘Set Wallpaper’ to choose it or the back button to return to the list.
Live wallpaper settings
Some live wallpapers have settings. Tap ‘Settings’ to change these before tapping ‘Set Wallpaper’