How to use your Google Android tablet or Google Android phone to manage information about all your contacts.

One of the great uses of a tablet or smartphone is keeping in contact with all your friends and family. You can do this in so many different ways from calling them to texting them, from tweeting to following their antics as reported on their Facebook pages, from emailing them to exchanging picture messages, and more.

For these activities to work smoothly you need to have contact details firmly lodged in your tablet, and then you need to keep this information up to date. There's very little point trying to text someone whose old and no longer valid mobile phone number you have stored away, or writing out an email only to find you don't actually have someone's email address on your tablet. And what about the times when you take a photo you would like to share with a friend, only to find out you have not entered their contact details into your tablet. It doesn't bear thinking about.

The good news is that tablets are very, very competent when it comes to recording and storing contact details, and they can gather information from a huge range of sources. Depending on what tablet you have there may be different ways of getting contacts into it from different sources. But a good tablet can import Facebook and Twitter contacts as well as doing a more standard task of synchronising with your computer. You might also be able to import contacts from MySpace and, on a more professional footing, from an Exchange based work account too.

Your Android tablet will also be able to pull down any contacts you may have stored in gmail and capture contacts that are on your SIM card. Add in the ability to input contacts manually and you can see that a tablet can easily become a hub of information about the people you know.

Getting all your contact details gathered together from multiple sources might take a little bit of effort. For example, with many tablets you can 'link' contact details gleaned from your Facebook and Twitter accounts so that information from the two is merged. This is great, as the two accounts contain different information about people that you know. But the job of making a 'link' between separate records about the same contact can take time to complete.

Our Samsung Galaxy Tab, for instance, has some great features for managing contacts, and one of these is that it automatically links Facebook and Twitter records if names are the same. You still have to make manual links where people use different names for different accounts though, and if you are anything like us, that happens quite a lot of the time.

The more contacts you have, the longer this linking process will take, and you may need to be prepared to set aside a fair bit of time to do it thoroughly. But you only have to do this task once, and when it is completed you've got a really comprehensive resource at your fingertips.

See all: Google Android tutorials

Step-by-step: how to import contacts from your SIM card and add a contact manually

Locate SIM contacts

import and synch contacts in Android

Open the Contacts application. Tap the 'Menu' button then choose 'Import/Export' then choose 'Import from SIM card'. Now wait till your SIM contacts are listed.

Copy SIM contacts

import and synch contacts in Android

Tap the Menu button and you'll see that you can copy or move contacts or delete them from your SIM. Tap 'Copy to phone' then choose 'Select All' or check specific contacts.

Complete import

import and synch contacts in Android

Tap 'Done' and wait while the contacts are imported. Tap the 'Back' button and you'll go to the phone contacts list where your SIM contacts will now be listed.

Add contact manually

import and synch contacts in Android

To add a new contact tap the '+' button at the bottom right of the screen, then tap in the box marked 'First Name' and start to enter data using the on screen keyboard.

Expanding fields

import and synch contacts in Android

Section with a green '+' or a red '-' expand. Tap '+' for a 'Home' phone option in addition to 'Mobile'. Tap again for 'Work', again for 'Other' and again for more 'Other' numbers.

Explore for more

import and synch contacts in Android

Some expanding fields have lots of options. Under IM there are separate fields for many services. Use the green '+' and a red '-' to explore and add the information you need.

Choose a ringtone

import and synch contacts in Android

You can assign separate ringtones to important contacts. Scroll down and tap to 'Ringtone' then choose 'Ringtones'. Tap a ringtone to hear it. When you find what you want tap 'OK'.

Finish and save

import and synch contacts in Android

Scroll down further to add a nickname, web address(es) birthday and anniversary. Then tap 'Done'. Your new contact appears in the listing.

Android Advisor