Writing about mobile technology gives me the opportunity to think through some pretty fascinating stuff. Here in the world of Android, after all, things never stay still for long -- and there's always some new concept, interface, or idea just waiting to be digested and put into perspective.
My favorite part about this job, though, is finding new ways to make our mobile technology do more and work better. And over the course of the past year, I've come across some super-useful tips, tricks, and tools that have helped me get the most out of my own devices.
In case you missed any of 'em the first go-round or maybe just didn't have the time to try everything out, here are some of my favorite Android tips and tricks from 2016. So pour yourself some cocoa, kick back by the fire, and give yourself the gift of finely tuned technology.
Best of all? This is one gift that's affordable as can be.
The Pixel may have its fancy-schmancy Google Assistant, but Android devices have actually had conversational voice control capabilities for a really long time. This diverse collection of voice commands will turn practically any phone into a powerful personal concierge -- no tipping required. (And some -- though not all -- of the commands will actually work on the Pixel's Assistant, too.)
Got Google Photos? Of course you do. This guide will help you get around the service like a pro and do all sorts of cool stuff with your collection.
Keep is so much more than another dumb notebook. Learn how to turn Google's note-taking app into a powerful mobile productivity tool with these easy-to-follow pointers.
With a few seconds of simple tinkering, you can give extra life to your device's alerts.
Some handy tricks that can save you time when typing on your Android phone or tablet.
Smartphone battery life can be a complicated issue, but as I learned while troubleshooting my own phone earlier this year, the solution can sometimes be surprisingly simple.
Forget security suites: These sensible tools are all you really need on your phone to stay safe. (This one may not be exciting, but trust me: It's important.)
Take full advantage of your phone's fingerprint sensor with these genuinely useful fingerprint-ready apps. And if you want to go a step further...
Your phone's fingerprint scanner is quite literally always at your fingertips -- so why not make it an even more integral part of your Android experience?
Forget all the half-baked apps and high-maintenance options: If you want to get notified whenever a delivery's on the way, this is the way to do it.
Holiday project alert! A service called CloudReady gives old computers new life with Google's Chrome operating system. Inside, a few things you should know before taking the plunge.
An unassuming option can change the way you think about mobile technology -- if, that is, you see it for its full potential.
Google's wireless service is giving back money to families who subscribe, but it's up to you to sign up for the savings.
Free? Check. Convenient? Check. This little-known service is waiting to supplement your smartphone -- if you know how to take advantage of it.
Android TV does everything Chromecast can do -- except for one little but lovable feature that's oddly M.I.A. Here's how to get it back.
Hey, there's still time! A set of realistic goals to sharpen your smartphone experience -- and save you money! -- before the year is over.
And just for funsies...
Has any platform undergone as much back-and-forth change as Android? A look back at some of Android's most memorable flippity-floppity moments.
Thanks as always for reading -- and happy holidays to you and yours!