Google Android phones are fairly different to other smartphones. They're open source, fully customisable, and free from unexplained app rejections.

If the iPhone is Apple's inalterable masterpiece, the Android platform is Google's open canvas. The palette is in your hands; it's up to you to add colour.

We've assembled 40 tips and tricks to help you make the most of your Android phone.

Some are specific to Android 2.0 or later, but most apply to any Android-based device. And not one of these tricks requires you to jailbreak anything.

So grab your phone, and get started - it's time for you to become a certified Android master.

Optimise your home screen

  1. Make the most of your space by using widgets - dynamic programs that operate right on your home screen. Simply hold your finger on any open space, and then select Widgets from the pop-up menu.

    Widgets come in a huge variety of sizes and functions, so search the Android Market to find what works for you.
  2. Prefer not to be bothered by a sound every time an email arrives? Head into Gmail's Settings menu and set its ringtone to silent.

    You'll still see new message alerts in the notification panel at the top of your screen, and you can always pull the panel down to get detailed information. You can configure text messaging and other alert-generating apps the same way.
  3. Set up one-touch dialling for the people you call the most. Hold your finger on an open space and select Shortcuts.
    Then, touch Direct dial and pick the person from your contact list.If one-touch texting is what you crave, use the direct message option instead.
  4. To drop your favourite web pages onto your home screen, long-press on any site in your browser's bookmarks and then select the Add shortcut to home option.
  5. Try using folders to keep your home screen organised. Long-press on a blank space and select Folders to create one.
    You can then drag and drop frequently used contacts, apps, or other shortcuts into it to cut down on clutter.

    To rename a folder, press and hold the folder's title bar while it's open.

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NEXT PAGE: Get around android

  1. Master your Google smartphone
  2. Get around android
  3. Power up your phone
  4. Add essential apps