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Saturday, October 16, 2010

How do I keep my screen still during a call?

Some Android phones, like the Motorola Droid and Droid 2, have especially sensitive touch screens or faulty proximity sensors, which keep the screen active during phone calls. This can be a problem as the nearness and movement of the user’s face inadvertently activates soft buttons, unintentionally launching other apps or putting the call on mute or speaker.

Two free Android apps, Quick Lock and Lock Now Free, enable users to manually freeze the screen immediately after placing or answering calls. Both are fairly accessible and easy to use.

Quick Lock

Quick Lock by Sakura Soft is best for phones with physical End Call buttons because the accessibility option that allows users to end calls with the power button needs to be turned off. The app is free and available from Android Market. The first step is to find the app and install it to the phone. Then the setup begins:

Setting up Quick Lock

1. Use Settings to uncheck Power Button Ends Calls by doing the following:
a. From the Home screen, open Settings.
b. Arrow to and press d-pad OK on Accessibility.
c. Arrow to Power Button Ends Calls. If it is checked, press d-pad OK to uncheck it.
d. Return to the Home screen by pressing Back several times or Home once.
2. Open Quick Lock from the Home screen. When the app opens, Talkback announces, "Select lock mode," offering 3 options: Sleep, No Sleep, and Cancel.
3. Arrow to and press d-pad OK on Sleep. Talkback does not announce that the item is checked.
4. Return to the Home screen by pressing Back several times or Home once.

Using Quick Lock

1. Make or receive a call by doing one of the following:
a. Dial and press send, listening for the phone to ring.
b. Answer the phone with the unlock gesture, listening for the line to open.
2. Lock the screen immediately by pressing the power button twice.
3. If desired, access the screen again during a call by pressing the power button twice, then swiping in the usual place to unlock.

Lock Now Free

Lock Now Free by Azrael is best for phones that lack physical End Call buttons. It enables users to lock the screen with something other than the power button. Options are the Search and Call keys and the Status bar. The application appears to do more, but documentation is sketchy . The app is free and available from Android Market though there is a paid version as well. The first step is to find the app and install it to the phone. Then the setup begins:

Setting up Lock Now Free

1. Open Lock Now Free from the Home screen. When the app opens, Talkback announces all 7 options: Enable force lock, create shortcut, Search Key Long Press, Call Key Long Press, Status Bar, Disconnect Power, Other app ….
2. Pres d-pad OK on Enable Force Lock. The phone asks if you want to activate the device administrator.
3. Down-arrow to and press d-pad OK on the Activate button. If
4. Press Back once to return to the list of 7 options.
5. Arrow to and press d-pad OK on Search Key Long Press. Talkback does not announce whether the button is checked.
6. Return to the Home screen by pressing Back several times or Home once.
7. Make a practice call. When the phone starts ringing, long press the Search button. Since this is the first time the app is being used, the Android System screen appears, offering3 choices: Lock Now Free, Search, and Use by Default for this Action.
8. Arrow to and press d-pad OK on Use by Default for This Action; then arrow to and press d-pad OK on Lock Now Free.
a. It may be easier to access these screens after hanging up.
b. Lock Now Free does not appear to interfere with the behavior of the Search button when not in a call.
9. Once Lock Now Free is set as the default action, hang up if necessary, and return to the Home screen with the Back or Home keys.

Using Lock Now Free

1. Make or receive a call by doing one of the following:
a. Dial and press send, listening for the phone to ring.
b. Answer the phone with the unlock gesture, listening for the line to open.
2. Lock the screen by long-pressing the Search button (2 to 3 seconds). The phone vibrates briefly.
a. The screen becomes inactive after another 3 to 4 seconds.
b. The 4 Android buttons (Back, Home, Menu and Search) appear to remain active, and touching them appears to wake up the screen.
3. If desired, access the screen again during a call by long-pressing the Search key (2 to 3 seconds). The phone does not vibrate to indicate the screen is active, so keep fingers away from the bottom of the screen to avoid touching any of the soft buttons.
4. Hang up when the call is over and use the already active screen, or tap the Power button to lock it.

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