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31 top tips for Google Android Froyo and Gingerbread

Get to grips with the latest versions of the OS

The latest versions of Google Android's mobile operating system, 'Froyo' and 'Gingerbread' both offer speed and a spiffed up user interface. We've got 31 power tips to help you get the most out of your Android smartphone.

5. Better multitasking
In previous versions of Android, long-pressing the Home key would give you access to the last four apps you used. When you long-press the Home key in Froyo, it gives you access to the last eight.

6. Switch Gmail accounts
Within Gmail, simply tap the name of the account in the top-right corner to quickly toggle between them.

7. Better camera controls
Settings for Flash Mode and White Balance are now right on the main camera window (no more searching through menus).

8. Gallery stack previews
Use a pinching gesture on a stack of photos in your gallery to get a quick preview of what lies under that stack.

9. Desktop previews
From the desktop, long-press the Apps button, and up pop small preview images of all your desktop panels. Click one, and it will whisk you off to that screen.

10. Phone and browser icons on the desktop
The Phone app and Browser app now have a permanent home on the desktop, sitting on either side of the Apps button. Not only does this give you quick access to both regardless of what desktop panel you're on, but it also frees up space on your desktop for other icons.

Froyo voice actions

By itself, Froyo has incredible voice-recognition capabilities - but if you have Google's most recent Voice Search (you may need to update it from Android Market), you have a ton of ways to control your phone with your voice. Just long-press your phone's Search button (set Voice Search as the default, if it isn't already), and when 'Speak Now' pops up on screen, say something out loud. Here are some examples of what you can do with Voice Actions.

11. Call someone
Say 'Call [name of contact], [phone type]', as in 'Call Whitney Houston, Mobile'. The phone will give you a moment to confirm or cancel, and then it will dial your contact. (Note: Whitney Houston's phone number does not come included in Froyo...maybe in Honeycomb?)

12. Send a text message
Say 'Send text to [contact name], [message]'. Example: 'Send text to Andy Rubin. When will my phone get Gingerbread question mark.' (Remember that you have to say 'question mark' in order to produce a question mark, or 'period' in order to add a period.)

13. Get turn-by-turn directions
Say 'Navigate to [address, city or business name, city].' Example: 'Navigate to 101 Euston Road, London'. This will open Navigator with your chosen location already entered in.

14. Call a business
You don't even need to have the phone number. Say 'Call [name of business], [city/state]'. Example, 'Call Currys, Croydon'.

15. Write a memo
Say 'Note to self, [body of text]'. Example: 'Note to self, call O2 to see why my phone doesn't have Gingerbread yet'. The text will be emailed to you, from you.

NEXT PAGE: Gingerbread tips and tricks

  1. Get to grips with the latest version of the OS
  2. Better multitasking
  3. Gingerbread tips and tricks
  4. Gingerbread keyboard tips

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