Welcome to the Android forum on boards.ie. In this guide, you'll find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about Android, the phones, the settings, and the apps. We hope you find it useful (Updated July 2013)
General Android Section
What is Android?
Android is an operating system for mobile devices (similar to iOS, Windows Mobile and Symbian). It is the operating system that can be found on phones like the HTC Desire HD, HTC Sensation, Samsung Galaxy and others.
What is the the story about all the different Versions? 2.2? 3.0? 4.0? Gingerbread? Honeycomb? Ice Cream Sandwich? I'm confused...
Google name all their versions after desserts in alphabetical order - 1.5 is Cupcake, 1.6 is Donut, 2.0/2.1 is Eclair. 2.2 is Froyo, 2.3 is Gingerbread, 3.0/3.1 is Honeycomb (Tablet only), 4.0 is Ice Cream Sandwich, 4.1-4.3 is Jellybean, and 5.0 (due late 2013) is Key Lime Pie. Click here for Android Version History, and click here for everything that is currently known about 5.0.
What is Google Play?
Google Play (formerly Android Marketplace) is similar to the App Store on an iPhone. Its a place where you can choose from thousands of apps, games and widgets to download for your phone. As of 2013, Music and Books can also be purchased here.
I'm looking for an app in Google Play, but can't find it. Why?
The market is filtered for each handset. Common filters include screensize, trackball required, Operating System version, required library in the OS, etc. The filters all listed here.
I've wiped my phone/lost my phone/changed my phone. Do I need to buy all my apps again?
Not at all. Your purchase history is tied to your google account, so you can always redownload them for free (as long as you use the same account!)
One of the best things about Android is it's customisability. The easiest (and least technical!) kind of customisation available to all is the launcher (the interface on the home screen). There are several launchers available, all downloadable from the Marketplace. Some are free and some cost money (read through the features and comments to see what you think). Popular launchers include ADW Launcher (and ADWLauncher EX), LauncherPro (and LauncherPro Plus), Go Launcher EX, SPB Shell 3D, Nova Launcher (and Nova Launcher Prime), Zeam, Next Launcher 3D and Smart Launcher.
The next level of customisation is the operating system itself. Many android phones have dedicated development communities that tweak and update the operating system on those phones. Some developers can release new versions as often as once a week, and their releases very often trump the official releases from the phone manufacturers in terms of features and speed. Custom ROMs have lots more going under the hood to supercharge your phone - smoother operation, longer battery, updated kernels, improved drivers, bloatware apps removed, operator branding removed etc.
To customise your phone, you need to Root it first. Android is essentially a Linux operating system, and rooting a phone gives you superuser or admin access to the phone. This means that you can replace/update files that are normally 'read only'. For people familar with iphones, it is the equivalent of jailbreaking.
See the links section below to investigate the available ROMs for your phone, along with the rooting procedures.
Customisation/Rooting - Links Section
Where can I find out about rooting my particular phone, and what ROMs/Radios are available for my phone?
XDA Developers (http://www.xda-developers.com) is our site of choice. If you're phone is android, there will probably be a forum (or set of forums) for your phone on that site. Here are links for some of the main phones at time of writing:
General: General Android Forum
HTC: One | One X+ | One X | One S | One V | Sensation | Desire HD | Incredible S | Desire S | Legend | Desire | Wildfire | Hero
Sony Xperia: S | Neo | Mini/Mini Pro/Active/Ray | X10 | X10 Mini | X1 | X8 | Arc | Play
Samsung: Galaxy S4 | Galaxy S III | Galaxy S | Galaxy S II
Google: Nexus One
If your phone is not listed above, click here and search for it.
An alternative site to check out is Android.net and their forums.
XDA covers tablets as well as phones, so check there first. Another site worth checking is Slatedroid for your rooting/customising needs on Android tablets. Here is a guide for rooting the Kindle Fire HD.
What is tethering?
Tethering is the use of a mobile device such as a mobile phone to supply Internet access for another device which is otherwise unconnected, using the mobile device as a modem. This can be done through Bluetooth, wireless technology or cables (such as USB). (Wikipedia). Lifehackers Guide to Tethering on Android. Version 2.1 + of Android has an option for tethering by USB.
How do I increase the number of rings on the phone before it goes to voicemail?
First, find out what your voicemail number is. Dial *#61# and touch Call. Jot down the phone number displayed on the screen. This is where your voicemail calls are directed to. Dial **61*(THE NUMBER YOU WROTE DOWN)**30# and press Call. Your Phone should now ring longer — that is, for the full 30-second duration of your ringtone. To verify that your voicemails are still being sent to the correct place, repeat step 1 and check that the phone number matches. If your phone number is 087 3333333 and you want a 30 second delay, then the code you enter is **61*08753333333**30#. When you enter this code, you'll get a message on screen saying 'MMI Code Started', followed by a message that says 'Call forwarding - Registration was successful'.
Do I need to use a task killer on android?
Short answer: If your operating system is Froyo (2.2) or later, then NO.
Long answer: Froyo drastically improved how Android memory management works. A common mistake is comparing memory management on Android with memory management on the PC. When you send an app to the background (by hitting the 'home' button while it's running), android will save the state of that app and remove it from memory. When you run the app again, it restores the state from the snapshot. In other words, memory management is intelligent and automatic. By using a task killer, you are just killing the snapshot of the app.
Help! I've messed up the settings on my phone!
In case you mess something up, here are links to the settings for each network: Meteor | Vodafone | O2 | Three | emobile