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.
Gingerbread keyboard tips
Android's stock keyboard has undergone a major overhaul in Gingerbread, and it's not merely a face-lift. You will notice that it's faster and more accurate, and that it supports multitouch gestures. Here are other key differences.
25. Autocomplete and the spacebar
While you're typing, when autocomplete has a suggestion ready, the spacebar will light up orange. At that point, pressing the spacebar will choose the highlighted word in the autocomplete bar. Also note that the autocomplete bar is scrollable: If you don't see the suggestion you want at first, swipe to the left on the autocomplete bar. You'll often find three bars' worth of suggestions.
26. Capitalising a word
This is where multitouch comes in. To capitalise a word, you no longer have to press Shift (which turns the entire keyboard into caps) and then select - you can now press Shift and the letter you wish to capitalise at the same time (as you would on a desktop keyboard).
27. Quick replace
Made a mistake? You can tap on any previously typed word, and the autocomplete bar again repopulates with all of its suggestions for what that word should be. If you see the word you want, simply tap it, and it will replace the incorrect word.
28. Add a word to the dictionary
When you key in a word that the dictionary doesn't yet know, touch it in the autocomplete row to put it into the text field. The autocomplete row will then say, 'Touch again to save'. Touch to add it to the dictionary.
Access punctuation, numbers and special characters
29. Any key
Press and hold any key, and if it has a number or a special symbol behind it, those options will pop up in a row above it. For example, hold down the R key, and you get the number 4. Hold down the E key, and you get access to 3, é, è, ê, and ë.
30. Full stop key
Press and hold the '.' key (the full stop key) for instant access to some of the most commonly used punctuation.
After you've pressed the spacebar and are in between words, the autocomplete bar populates with the most frequently used punctuation. Again, this bar is scrollable, giving you three rows of options.
Hungry for Froyo and Gingerbread
At the time of this writing, roughly 52 percent of Android phones have Froyo and the rest are waiting to get it, as a full 35 percent are still stuck on Eclair, version 2.1.
Even fewer Android phones have Gingerbread - just 0.4 percent at the time of this story, which makes sense considering that only the Nexus S handset runs it right now.
It's a shame that the hardware manufacturers and the carriers take so long to roll out updates, because each has been a major leap for the Android OS, with greatly improved speed, stability, battery life, and functionality.
See also: 12 apps to boost your Android smartphone