We Will Have Fullscreen!

Posted on January 19, 2014 by super

Getting The Most Out of Your 7-inch Tablet’s Screen

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In this tutorial you will learn how to move the Home and Back buttons on the bottom of the Android screen.

Meet our guinea pig, the Asus MeMO Pad ME172V.

Budget 7-inch tablets are a great light, fun, portable way to surf the web, catch up on emails, watch videos, etc., without breaking the bank. However, you will likely find yourself squinting due to the lack of available screen space as soon as the on-screen keyboard is activated, a real pain in some situations (notably ones where heavier word-processing is involved, or having to type in something on a web page while the keyboard takes up more than half the screen). Yes, you can get a bluetooth keyboard accessory in many cases and bypass the issue, but A) a decent keyboard adds a lot to the price, sort of mitigating the ‘budget’ aspect and B) not all budget tablets have bluetooth support, such as my model, the Asus MeMO Pad ME172V, which limits the range of truly portable keyboards you can buy.

Likewise, most people would rather have those buttons out of the way while watching video, too.

Given what a precious resource screen space is, especially while the tablet is in landscape mode, it’s a bit of a head-scratcher that Android has chosen to use up about a centimetre of it on a row of buttons that cannot be removed or hidden by any simple ‘stock’ means.

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This thing is close enough in size to my Samsung Galaxy S3 that I’ve nearly tried to call someone on it a few times…

Even more annoying still, to me, is the fact that every time I went to hit the space bar, I seemed to run 50/50 odds of hitting one of those buttons, thus returning myself to the home screen or putting myself in window-viewing mode. Over the course of a long email, that can get perfectly maddening.

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The question of how to move or hide the Android ‘Home’, ‘Back’, etc. buttons came up a lot when I Googled it, so I can’t be the only one who finds said location a bit inconvenient. There weren’t many clear answers to those questions floating around, so I figured I would share with the world a relatively easy, step-by-step guide to getting those pesky buttons out of the way. That’s the wonderful thing about Android – with the right tweaks, you can do just about anything.

So, I put my brand new Asus on the lab table and got down to work.

Step one, of course, is to root the device. Doing so voids your warranty and can brick the device, so if you’re not confident, do not try this at home. Get someone who knows these devices better to help you out.

If you’re bold enough to give it a try yourself, Google your device’s specific model number (navigate to settings -> ‘about device’ to find out what the number is, if you’re unsure) and ‘how to root’ to find the method that will work for your specific tablet. Never use a rooting method meant for another model number or device! This will likely brick your tablet. Once you have found the right method for your model, follow the instructions exactly until you gain root permissions. If you are not sure whether or not you have successfully rooted your device, a handy little app called Root Checker (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.joeykrim.rootcheck) will tell you whether or not your device is rooted.

For the Asus MeMO Pad ME172V, I used the AMPC app (http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2216390), after finding Framaroot and Motochopper were not successful on my device. AMPC crashed twice after I pressed ‘root’, but when I restarted the tablet, it rooted itself successfully anyway.

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The little black robot signifies that you have entered the Dark Side.

Once your tablet is rooted, head back to the app store and get a brilliant app called full!screen (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=de.tsorn.FullScreen), and suddenly, you can get rid of the bottom bar in a flash. You can even put a quick activator in your notifications tray, and customize the look and feel of your new, less obtrusive, transparent ‘Home’ and ‘Back’ buttons.

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Settings! So many settings!

To bring back the standard bottom bar, just press and hold the new ‘home’ button for a second and full!screen deactivates.

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Voila! You now have the power of Fullscreen whenever you want it.

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