Android Tips, Tricks, and Apps from Google

There may be no shortage of tips and tricks for using Android from users the world over, but it's less common to hear an assortment of suggestions from Google itself.

Sure enough, though, earlier this week Google's senior vice president of product management Jonathan Rosenberg published a lengthy list of such hints, ideas and favorite apps on the official Google blog.

Many of the suggestions are specific to Android 2.3, or Gingerbread, which is currently available only on the Nexus S smartphone. Nevertheless, the Nexus One is expected to receive an over-the-air upgrade to Android 2.3 "in the coming weeks," while other devices--including the HTC Desire HD--are expected to follow not long afterward.

So what are Google's own best ideas for using Android? Here's a small sampling.


  • Scrolling: When you're in a scrollable list such as the Gmail inbox, an orange hue at the end of the list is a signal that you can't scroll any more.
  • Downloads: Items downloaded from the browser get collected in a downloads manager that's accessible in the apps drawer.
  • Wi-Fi: To turn your phone into a Wi-Fi hotspot, go to "Settings" and then "Wireless & Networks" followed by "Tethering & Portable Hotspot." Of course, "you may have to pay extra for this feature," Rosenberg notes.

On the Keyboard

  • Capitalization shortcut: With Gingerbread, Shift+Key can be used to capitalize a letter instead of going to a separate all-caps keyboard.
  • Quick replace: On any previously typed word, users can tap on a suggestion to automatically replace it with the suggested word.


What are Google favorite Android apps? Included on Rosenberg's list are:

  • Angry Birds
  • Astro
  • Flash -- "Runs even better on Gingerbread," Rosenberg notes.
  • Fruit Ninja
  • FXCamera
  • Instant Heart Rate
  • Phoneanlyzr
  • RemoteDroid
  • Shazam
  • SoundHound
  • Tango

That’s a good list, but I bet we can all think of apps we’d love but that don’t yet exist. Good thing there’s also App Inventor for Android for building your own apps.

Follow Katherine Noyes on Twitter: @Noyesk.

For comprehensive coverage of the Android ecosystem, visit

Shop ▾
arrow up Amazon Shop buttons are programmatically attached to all reviews, regardless of products' final review scores. Our parent company, IDG, receives advertisement revenue for shopping activity generated by the links. Because the buttons are attached programmatically, they should not be interpreted as editorial endorsements.

Subscribe to the Best of PCWorld Newsletter