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1. Avoid the Battery Blues

The battery life of your Android device depends on several factors that you can manage – it’s just a question of figuring out what they are. To start, under Settings you’ll find a list of apps and features that are draining battery life. Consider disabling certain ones – bluetooth, GPS etc – as well as limiting the number of your homescreen widgets. Search around the app store for a decent task manager, and be aware that some apps are programmed to sync regularly.

2. Music to your Ears

Unlike Apple’s iOS, Android doesn’t force you to use iTunes. Rather, through the market you have a lot of options, depending on what you’re looking for. Music player apps such as PowerAmp are very user-friendly, while UberMusic takes a minimalist approach, focusing on skins and simple commands. Meanwhile, audiophiles may want to look into Neutron, with its expansive range of customizable features, and its ability to play just about every audio format under the sun. Again, there are no shortage of options here, so it’s all about what feels right for you.

3. Beware: Malware

Just like on your PC, malware (viruses, worms, trojan horses etc) can affect your android device as well. Unfortunately, a few odd apps here and there can potentially carry this stuff, so it really pays to do your research before downloading anything. Do your research by reading app reviews at sites like Android AppStorm. This also includes finding out if there are any sketchy or unnecessary permissions the app requires upon installation, and checking out forum boards. As an extra bit of caution it’s advised that you install an app such as Lookout Security & Antivirus, designed to screen for all those malicious little baddies.

4. Share and Share Alike

Unless you’re a serious wiz when it comes to mobile tech, there’s no harm in searching out like-minded people willing to help, answer your questions, and share valuable tips and tricks. Search out one of several online communities dedicated to getting the most out of Android, such as Android Central, Android Forums and Android Geek Tips. From basic setups to super sophisticated trickery, these boards are a wealth of information and will help sharpen your droid skills like nobody’s business.

5. Get Personal

Best take advantage of how customizable you can get with Android. To begin with, check out adding widgets (dynamic homescreen apps for things like weather, stocks, Twitter etc). Without going overboard and draining your battery, consider creating a couple of pages full of them, and see whether the constantly-updated stream of info is beneficial. From there, whittle down the ones you don’t really use. You may also want to consider setting up several shortcuts – say you like reading the Macleans website daily, or you call your best bud all the time. As with widgets, create a homepage shortcut for websites and contact info by pressing your finger down on an empty area of the phone’s screen. You’ll be prompted from there to set up a widget or shortcut that will be provide easy access from then on.

Bonus! Looking For Easter Eggs?

Google developers have hidden a few fun Easter eggs (extra features) in the latest version of Android, Ice Cream Sandwich. This one shows Android mascots wearing ice cream sandwiches flying across your screen.

Here’s how:

  1. Drag down the top notification bar and tap on Settings.
  2. Scroll all the way to the bottom and tap on About phone.
  3. Repeatedly tap on Android version.
  4. When the Android mascot appears, tap and hold to call his friends to fly across your screen.

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