Make your Android screen smarter with this one simple app

Make Your Smartphone Display Smarter

Smartphone screen timeouts are a blessing and a curse. With a low timeout, you save precious battery life by having your screen shut itself off after seconds of inactivity -- but you also then have to live with the display occasionally going dark while you're reading something without touching the phone.

Luckily, there is a better way. Enter Screebl, a simple app that keeps your phone's display on when you're holding the device and lets it shut off automatically when you set it down. It's kind of like the Smart Stay feature Samsung builds into its Galaxy devices, only it uses your phone's sensors instead of the front-facing camera to detect activity -- and it actually works consistently well.

Screebl

Setting Screebl up couldn't be easier: First, decide which version of the app you want. For most people, the free "lite" version will probably be fine; if you want some extra functionality like Tasker integration, you can spring two bucks for the full paid version.

Once you've installed the app, open it and check the box to enable the service. You may also want to take a second to head into the app's settings (listed as "Preferences"); there, you can disable the persistent notification and fine-tune the app's behavior.

To get the full benefit of the app, you'll also want to head into the "Display" section of your phone's main system settings and set the "Sleep" value to something low -- like 15 or 30 seconds. That way, when you aren't holding your phone and Screebl isn't keeping the display on, the screen will shut itself off relatively quickly.

Screebl's been around for a while, but its developer is currently working on a complete rewrite of the app that makes its UI more current, improves its battery consumption, and adds in a handful of new features.

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You can check out the still-under-development new version of the app via the free Screebl Beta download in the Google Play Store; just note that it's described as a work in progress and consequently may have some quirks and/or missing elements until it's finished.

More Android Power tips and tricks:

4 hidden settings to make Chrome for Android even better

How to make your whole home screen look like Google Now

Quick tip: Put your dialer on your home screen (or lock screen)

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