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Hands-on advice for getting the best from your touchscreen mobile device

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Updated: 6/11/2013 11:06 am

(BPT) - Few inventions have evolved as amazingly fast from science fiction to science fact as touchscreen technology. From its very basic beginnings in the mid-1960s to the first consumer applications on ATM machines in the '80s, touchscreen technology has reached virtually everywhere - including our pocket-sized mobile devices.

As astounding as the touch-enabled smartphone or mobile device is, you still need to handle and use it wisely in order to ensure its optimal functionality. Here is some hands-on advice to help ensure you get the best out of your mobile device.

Taking care of your touchscreen

You may be surprised to learn that the glass touchscreen on your mobile device is one of its most durable parts. That's because it's most likely made of Corning Gorilla Glass, a tough glass - created by the glass scientists at Corning - that is featured on more than 1.5 billion devices worldwide.

In the early days of touchscreen technology, device-makers used plastic solutions to protect LCD screens in mobile devices. The plastic scratched easily and lacked the smooth, aesthetic appeal and feeling of glass. Soda lime glass, most commonly known as window glass, was another material used for screens at the time, but it wasn't durable enough for everyday use.

Chemically strengthened Gorilla Glass provides the design aesthetics and naturally appealing feel of glass, and is a superior conductor for touchscreen technology. Thin yet tough, this industry-leading glass makes many of the display and touch-enabled aspects of your device possible. The glass is durable and is designed to help sustain minor scratches and continue to work for the life of the device. It requires only basic, common-sense care and cleaning - no special cleansers required. To learn more about Gorilla Glass, visit www.corninggorillaglass.com.

Prevent water damage

Keeping your mobile device out of the water may seem like an obvious precaution, but more than one smartphone has died a sad, wet death because someone used it in the rain, swimming pool or bath tub. Remember, your mobile is an electrical device - it has a battery - and water and electricity generally don't mix well. What's more, the inner workings of the device are not meant to be exposed to contaminants - liquid or otherwise.

Getting your phone wet almost always means you'll have to replace it. If you do accidently immerse your phone in water, remove it immediately and promptly take out the battery. Contact the device manufacturer to see if they have any advice for this type of damage. You can also try packing the phone in rice. The rice grains act as a natural moisture-grabber (it's why some people put rice in their salt shakers) and may help remove enough water to allow the phone to function again.

Battery basics

Although mobile device batteries seem to tout longer charges every year, the more you use your device - and the more functions you perform with it - the faster your battery will drain. Your phone probably has a function that details exactly how much power each app is drawing. Start by shutting off or de-installing apps you don't use. Next, if your device has Gorilla Glass, you may want to turn down the screen brightness. With Gorilla Glass' excellent transmission performance, you may not need the highest levels of brightness.

If you use your device for social media and email, change the settings so that these applications only update when you manually direct them to do so. Automatic checking for new emails, tweets and posts consumes a lot of battery power. You can also turn off vibration alerts, which take a toll on battery use.

Finally, disconnect the Wi-Fi on your device. Not only does searching for Wi-Fi drain the battery, connecting to wireless networks that may or may not be secure exposes you to hacking. It's actually much more likely that a cyber attack will affect your device than the risk that a scratched screen will end its usable life. In 2012, more than 65,000 mobile malware threats affected nearly 33 million Android devices, according to a security report by NQ Mobile Inc.

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