What is Android? A beginner's guide

Samsung galaxy s2

SAMSUNG TOUCHWIZ: The Samsung Galaxy S2 runs TouchWiz 4.0, the latest version of Samsung's interface

Currently, it's not possible for Android 3.0 tablets to be tweaked by the manufacturers, so tablets such as the Motorola Xoom and Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 look almost identical. HTC actually uses Android 2.3 on the HTC Flyer tablet so that it can still add the Sense overlay to it.

Motorola xoom

ANDROID 3.0: The Android Home screen on tablets offers more space for widgets and apps, and has the navigation keys in the bottom-left

Android has many media features built in, so it's easy to load your music and movies onto your device and play them without problems. Most common audio file formats are supported, as are some of the most often-used video formats. Many manufacturers also add support for some of the less-common formats.

There's no official iTunes-like media syncing client for Android (though there are some third-party tools to do this, such as doubleTwist). In most cases, when you connect your device to your computer, it will show up as external storage, in the same way a USB flash drive would. You can then simply drag your music and video files to it to copy them over. When you disconnect your device, it will scan for media, and it to the music player app.

Google regularly releases updates to Android, which are downloaded straight to the phone or tablet without having to connect to a computer. These updates often bring speed and battery life improvement, as well as other new features. However, not all devices get these updates at the same time, and many won't receive them at all. If you want to stay up to date on when the latest Android update is coming to your device, keep your eyes on TechRadar's phones channel and tablets channel.


Liked this? Then check out Best Android phone - which should you buy?

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