Understanding Your Phone or Tablet

What We'll Learn

  1. Four different families or languages
  2. Difference between a Smart Phone, Tablet and Computer
  3. Basic concepts and patterns for working with your device
  4. Getting connected to the Internet

Four Families

All popular tablets and smart phones belong to one of four families, or four languages. This is related to the company or manufacturer who produces the unit or the software running on the device. Depending on what family you are part of, your experience will be different from other families. Let's identify which group you belong to:

  • Apple produces the iPhone and iPad running their iOS software.
  • Google
     produces the Android software that runs on many of today's popular smart phones and tablets.
  • BlackBerry produces the BlackBerry Phones and the Playbook running their BlackBerry OS software.
  • Microsoft produces a version of Windows 8 designed for specific phones and tablets.


  1. Identify which family you belong to.
  2. Find other people in your class in the same family, and organize into groups.
Learning Tip

One of the best ways to learn how to use your device is to work beside a computer and access this tutorial and the other helpful tutorials listed below:

What Is It?

Tablet, Smart Phone, Computer, Hybrids.  What is the difference, and why would you choose one over the other?  There is a lot of overlap in what these devices can do, but each has unique characteristics as well:

 Device       Email            Internet  Create

 Computer  X  X  X    X+
 Tablet  X  X      X
 Smartphone  X  X    X  X

Built for Connection

You may be surprised to learn that your device can have up to 9 antennas inside of it, connecting it to a variety of other devices and services:

 Some things to know about your connections:

  1. Mobile or Cellular Connection - Paid service to your mobile provider for voice (talking and text) and data (Internet) connections.  Data fees can be expensive, always use Wifi when available.  This also provides approximate physical location.  Range varies from 10km to 50 km to the nearest cell tower.
  2. Wifi Connection - Connect to public Wifi hotspots for free, or use your home Wifi.  Home Wifi is paid through your Internet Service Provider.  Range is typically 20 meters.
  3. GPS Connection - Your phone can connect freely to GPS satellites that accurately track your physical position around the globe.  Used to geotag any pictures you take with your device, and to use location based services like navigation.
  4. Bluetooth Connection - You can connect a wireless headset or bluetooth keyboard to your device using this capability.  Range is up to 10 meters.
  5. Radio Connection - Some devices provide FM Radio capability, using the earphone cable as an FM Antenna.
  6. Near Field Communications - Newer devices have NFC ability, so phones can talk to each other, or to a tap and pay service. Range is up to 5 cm.
  7. USB Connection - You can also connect your phone directly to a computer to transfer files and pictures.
This course will focus primarily on your connection to the Internet.

 Learning About Patterns

Using technology is much easier once you recognize the basic patterns that are designed into every device. To begin with, we will explore the physical pattern and the initial lock screen common to many mobile products.


Let's review each item and see how it relates to your device:
  1. On / Off Button - This button generally puts the device to sleep or wakes it up. In order to really turn your phone or tablet off you need to press and hold this button down for several seconds.
  2. Volume Buttons - These buttons control the volume.
  3. SIM Card - This card stores your phone number and cellular network provider information.
  4. Memory Card - All devices have built-in storage or memory, some devices can have additional cards inserted to expand this capacity.
  5. Battery - Your device has a lithium battery inside of it. Some devices allow you to access these batteries. It is important to keep your battery topped up in order to maximize its life span. The usual practice is to plug it in every evening to charge while you're sleeping.
  6. Home Button - Your device may have one or more other buttons that let you quickly go to the home screen, or access other convenient features.
  7. Lock Screen - This is typically the first screen you will see when you turn on your device. It provides some security by limiting access to your phone or tablet if it is stolen or is in a location where other people may have access to it. It also prevents you from accidentally running an App or placing a phone call (pocket dialling).

 Using Your Device

The second pattern we want to explore is the Home Screen pattern. Each family or group of devices has a slightly different way of organizing the home screen, however the main concepts are identical.


Let's review these concepts and see how it relates to your device:
  1. Status Bar - Similar to your dashboard on your vehicle, these little icons tell you a variety of information about your device. Check the status bar at the top of your screen and familiarize yourself with what each symbol means.
  2. Dock or Favourites - This area contains items that are always there for quick access to convenient features.
  3. Apps and Widgets - Each of these little squares represents an Application or program that you can run on your device.
  4. Notifications - Your phone is able to inform you of many things. This information is called Notifications. You can generally see all the detail about what your phone is trying to get your attention on by swiping down from the top of your device.
  5. Settings - There will be a number of ways that you can access your settings, sometimes a subset or Quick Settings, but definitely an App that gives you access to fully configuring your phone or tablet. You need to be familiar with how to access this for your device. Once you access your settings, take a close look at the different categories and information there so that you have an idea of where to find things.

Connecting to the Internet

Now that were familiar with how to access our settings, let's connect to the Internet!


Our class has a WiFi hotspot that you an use to connect your device to the Internet. Follow the steps below for your device to connect to the FHCA wireless network:
  1. Figure out how to access the Settings on your device.
  2. Find the WiFi settings.  Make sure WiFi is turned on.
  3. Locate the FHCA network.
  4. Click on FHCA and connect to it.
  5. Check your WiFi indicator to make sure you have a successful connection.
Note: This is the same process you would use to connect to the Internet when travelling or accessing a hotspot in your favourite coffee shop.