10 ways Google's made Android more awesome

6. Gestures

This is something we're very excited about, as it means that the phone will now be able to respond to more than just your touch.

The idea is that the OS, as well as the applications contained within it, can respond to your gestures. This presumably means not only will the accelerometer be able to control applications as it does now, but that certain finger squiggles on the touchscreen will be recognised to start or interact with programs.

7. More screen resolutions

You may not know this, but Android is only set up to work with HVGA screen resolution at the moment (the same as the iPhone, but only 320 x 480 pixels).

This means that the likes of LG can run roughshod over the Android devices with pin-sharp WVGA screens (800 x 480), making video and menus look amazing.

But the new upgrade will see more screen resolutions supported, meaning QVGA for the budget efforts and higher resolutions for the more advanced versions.

Not only that, but developers can now specify which screens can be used with different applications. We'll be interested to see how this is marked in the Market, but basically if something is only meant for a four-inch plus screen, this can be achieved.

8. Prettier Market

The Android Market might be a good place to go and get a glut of applications, but it looks very basic at the moment, and deciding what to buy can be very hard.

However, the new upgrade looks to address that, with new categories differentiating between applications, games and the mysteriously titled downloads.

Google android 1.6 - market upgrade

Within each will be the same options to choose between free and paid for applications, but the bonus is you can now see screenshots as well, making it a lot easier to choose the right one for you.


It may scare you to know that some regions can't actually use Android phones because the handset is incompatible with the mobile phone signal.

The UK is fine because we run on GSM (Global System for Mobile communications), the most popular standard for mobile phones in the world. However CDMA (Code division multiple access), the technology behind a few networks in the US and other regions, is not supported.

But never fear! Google has added CDMA compatibility to the new 1.6 upgrade, meaning more countries will be available for the G-wave, and it will now be able to run on other networks too.

We'll be interested to find out which regions this applies to, as CDMA is a pretty broad term, but more countries means more developers, which in turn means more awesome applications. And we all like that.

10. VPN

Interested in browsing the old corporate intranet, but stuck with a stupid Android phone? Worry no more, as the new 1.6 upgrade offers a range of ways to interact with your corporate VPN.

L2TP/IPSEC pre-shared key based VPN, L2TP/IPsec certificate based VPN, L2TP only VPN and PPTP only VPN are all in the list, and if you don't know what any of those random letters mean, ask your IT department. They'll look stressed at having to add a new phone to their support list, so you'll know you're right.

And if you can't be bothered to think about how all these things might affect you, check out the video below - it explains it with the help of the little Android 'bot as well:

Gareth Beavis
Formerly Global Editor in Chief

Gareth has been part of the consumer technology world in a career spanning three decades. He started life as a staff writer on the fledgling TechRadar, and has grown with the site (primarily as phones, tablets and wearables editor) until becoming Global Editor in Chief in 2018. Gareth has written over 4,000 articles for TechRadar, has contributed expert insight to a number of other publications, chaired panels on zeitgeist technologies, presented at the Gadget Show Live as well as representing the brand on TV and radio for multiple channels including Sky, BBC, ITV and Al-Jazeera. Passionate about fitness, he can bore anyone rigid about stress management, sleep tracking, heart rate variance as well as bemoaning something about the latest iPhone, Galaxy or OLED TV.