Android Expert Profiles

How I Use Android: Developer, writer, and podcaster Gina Trapani

How I Use Android: Gina Trapani

An up-close look at how one of Android's busiest stars sets up her home screens -- plus the apps and devices she can't live without.

There's no wrong way to use Android -- and no one is more aware of that than Gina Trapani

Gina Trapani's worn lots of different hats over the years. She founded Lifehacker and served as its inaugural editor. She hosted two different shows on the TWiT podcast network, including the informative and entertaining All About Android. And she created and continues to develop ThinkUp, a social media analysis service, along with a multiplatform to-do list app and a new service called Makerbase that promises to connect people who make cool things.

Oh, and she also blogs and appears now as a regular guest on TWiT podcasts. Sheesh, Gina -- way to make the rest of us look lazy.

With all of her adventures on both the content and the development side of Android, it's no stretch to say that Gina Trapani has seen plenty of perspectives on the platform. So how does she use it herself?

Time to find out. In her own words, this is how Gina uses Android.

The basics

Your current primary phone: The OnePlus One.

What case is on your phone (if any): No case! I don’t like the extra bulk, and I’m okay with my phone getting a bit dinged up. I think our devices should go out of their way to take care of us versus the other way around.

Your current tablet (if any): My original Nexus 7 died of old age, and it didn’t matter; I don’t use a tablet very much. My phone’s screen is big enough to do everything I need.

Your current smartwatch (if any): I wear my Moto 360 every day.

The home screen

A quick walk-through of your phone's home screen setup: I like to keep my home screen as simple and clear as possible. That’s why I only keep two app icons there for my absolute most-used apps: Chrome and Inbox.

I hate swiping through Android’s endless app drawer, so I keep four folders on the dock grouped by purpose: camera/photo apps, phone/dialer apps, fitness apps, and then the last folder for the rest of my most-used apps.

Gina Trapani Home Screens

Swipe left to my other screens and you’ll see my calendar widget, to-do list widget, and Google Keep widget.

I know there are a lot of cool home screen customizations and dynamic contextual launchers out there -- and I’ve tried a bunch of them -- but I prefer fewer distractions and more predictability.

What launcher you're using: I use the Google Now Launcher because I like to I swipe right to see the weather and news and the rest easily.

What wallpaper you're using: Usually my wallpaper is a personal photo of my kid; otherwise, I go with something calm and cool and dark, like an image from space.

Anything else of note (interesting customizations, special icons, etc): I’m running Cyanogen OS 12, the default OTA Lollipop update for OnePlus users. The most useful customization it has is the "tap to wake" feature. You tap anywhere on the screen twice to turn it on. You can also tap the notification bar to put the screen to sleep. I use this dozens of times a day, and when I encounter a phone that forces me to search for its power button to wake or sleep it, it makes me crazy.

The apps

Beyond the obvious stock Google programs, a few apps you can't live without right now (and a quick word about why):

Twilight. My eyes are pretty sensitive to bright screens and I do a good amount of reading in bed at night, and this app lessens the glare and apparently helps me get to sleep easier when I do put down the phone.

Citymapper. I moved back to New York City a year ago, and so much about the subway and bus system had changed. I find Citymapper easier to use than Google Maps when I’m taking public transportation around the five boroughs. (It supports several other big cities as well.)

Pocket Casts. Just a great, highly functional, well-designed podcast client.

LastPass. I love this secure password manager on Android because it will auto-fill your passwords in both the browser and in native apps.

Authy. I switched to Authy from Google Authenticator maybe a year ago and never looked back. Two-factor authorization is a pain to manage, but Authy makes it as simple as it can be.

Check out more Android expert profiles below or in the official Google+ collection -- and stay tuned for even more entries in the weeks to come!

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