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Another Android smartphone upgrade

Upgrading my smartphone has never been an easy task for me. Probably because I get so familiar with the way it operates. But there are times when you just have to bite-the-bullet and go for it. So, here's my recent experience upgrading my Android smartphone.

Another Android smartphone upgrade

So, I had purchased my Droid 4 about three and a half years ago, and it worked just fine for the first couple of years. Then it started having battery run time issues and had to be charged every night.

I had thought about just getting a replacement battery and that would fix the problem. But this was one of those devices that the manufacturer had glued the battery in-place.

Replacing the battery meant I would have to carefully pry out the old battery, making sure not to puncture the battery casing. Have you ever seen what happens when you puncture a lithium-ion battery? It's right up there with the exploding battery issue.

So, when my Droid 4 could not hold a charge for more than a couple of hours, I knew it was time for a change. But when I tried to get the back cover off of the Droid 4, I found that the battery had swollen to 150% its original size, it was now time to get a new smartphone.

I took a look at what my carrier offered for smart phones. I had three (3) requirements; a removable / replaceable battery, a micro SD card slot and it had to be inexpensive (damage from accidentally dropping it is a major concern).

So, I ordered a new Samsung Galaxy J3 and prepared for the move. Even though the battery in my Droid 4 was malfunctioning, the device itself was still functioning properly. As soon as I got the new Samsung J3, I started the process of upgrading my smartphone.

  1. First thing I did was backup everything I wanted to keep from both internal storage and the micro SD card. I had to turn on USB debugging to do this. Even though I am going to move the existing micro SD card to my new phone, I still want to back up the data (photos, music, etc.) I have on it.
    View of my Droid 4 inside of Windows 10 File Explorer
    Since this will be the third phone I am using this micro SD card with, I may just reformat it just to get rid of any junk I don't need.
  2. I powered off my existing Droid 4 and removed the micro SD card. Since the battery had started to bulge out, getting the back cover on or off was extremely hard. But with a little finesse, I was able to do it.
  3. I tried to connect the new phone to my existing phone carrier's network. What was supposed to be simple turned out to be a little more complicated, but not much. For a day, in my spare time, I tried powering off my old phone and then powering on the new phone. All I keep getting was an error about not being able to connect to a server and to please try again later. I was in no hurry but I finally called the support number listed on the error screen. After confirming the order number, my new phone finally was able to make connection and started to function properly.

After setting up all of my different accounts (Gmail, email, etc.), all that was left was to install all of my apps using Google Play. This one took a little time to figure out, as I wanted to install the same apps on my new phone that were on my old phone, but there did not appear to be a clear way for me to do it. I did finally come across how to do it.

How to install apps from one Android device to another using Google Play

  1. Bring up Google Play in a browser on your computer (sign-in if you are not already).
  2. On the menu on the left-side of the page, left-click on Apps.
  3. On the Apps menu click on My apps.
    View of installed Android apps listed by device on Google Play
  4. Pull-down the All Apps menu and select your old device.
  5. Left-click on the app you want to install on your new device.
    Google Play app information dialog box
  6. In the lower right corner of the app information you will see a button that says Installed. Left-click on it and bring up the app installation dialog box.
    Google Play app installation dialog box
  7. On the app installation dialog box, you need to choose a device to install it to. When you pull-down the device menu, you will see that there is only one device that you can install it on. Left-click on your new device and then left-click on Install.

Switching from one Android smartphone to another

I know that change is good, but sometimes I just fear it. Case in point is my smartphone. I really liked my original Droid; it was small enough to fit in my pocket and did everything I needed it to do. But it started to show its age and newer Android apps wouldn't run on it, so I decided it was time to get a new phone. And the move was really quite easy.

The biggest problem I was facing was the installation of my apps. Some of them were installed before Google created the Android Market, now known as Google Play. I had sync 'd my old Droid with my Google account, so some of my apps were shown as installed inside of Google Play. And there was a couple that was not and I would have to manually install them.

Both of my Droids appear in My Devices in Google Play
Both of my Droids appear in My Devices in Google Play

Since my Droid survived so long (over four years) I decided to go with a newer version, the Droid 4. First thing I did was to add the Droid 4 to my Google account and then go over to Google Play. It was now listed in my devices and I could install apps on it. I went to Apps > My apps and all of my apps showed up.

Apps show they are installed but not on what device
Apps show they are installed but not on what device

But when I selected one, it would show it as installed, but didn't show what device it was installed on. It was when I clicked on the 'Installed' button that I was given a list of my devices to choose from. From there it was pretty easy to get the apps I had on my Droid installed on my Droid 4.

When installing Google Play apps you have a choice of which device
When installing Google Play apps you have a choice of which device

Next thing I had to do was to get my photos, music, etc. off of my Droid and on to my Droid 4. Everything was on the micro SD card in my Droid and since the Droid 4 did not come with a micro SD card, I just powered off both devices and moved my existing 16 GB micro SD card from the Droid to the Droid 4. When I started up the Droid 4, all of my data was found. I simply connected my Droid 4 as a mass storage device to my computer via a USB cable and was able to move files in between the internal storage and the micro SD card.

List thing I did was manually install the apps that were not listed in Google Play. Once that was done I had to do some configuration on the apps I had just installed. This took the most time of all. But when it was all done, my Droid 4 was ready to go and working great.

Calling on the cloud with Google Voice

If you haven't heard about Google Voice, let me be the first to tell you about it. Google Voice is a telephony service that can be used on any cellular phone and any carrier. Just a Gmail account is required.

The Google Voice web based interface
The Google Voice web based interface

Google Voice was designed to compliment your existing cellular phone carrier. But recently Google has added Phone Number Porting, which allows you to use Google as your primary carrier. The set of features are very rich, with all of the usual stuff (personal greetings, voicemail, etc.). And when used with Google Gmail and Google Talk, you can make calls from your computer (headphones / speakers and microphone required).

Use Google Voice with Google Talk to make calls from your computer
Use Google Voice with Google Talk to make calls from your computer

And, for me, the two best features of Google Voice are the free calls within the US and Canada and really cheap international calls. My some of my family is in New England and France. Here's a complete list of features:

  • Voicemail transcription to e-mail
  • One phone number that can be ported to multiple phone numbers
  • Personalized voice mail greetings
  • Cheap international calls
  • Block / screen callers
  • Conference calling
  • Mobile app (Android, iPhone and Blackberry)
  • SMS to e-mail

Here's a quote from the Google Voice website:

Teach your phone new tricks

Google Voice enhances the existing capabilities of your phone, regardless of which phone or carrier you have - for free. It also gives you:

One Number
Use a single number that rings you anywhere.

Online voicemail
Get transcribed messages delivered to your inbox.

Cheap calls
Free calls & text messages to the U.S. & Canada.
Super low rates everywhere else.

For more information on Google Voice, just follow the links below:

Google Voice
Google Voice features

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