I’ve had a surprising number of emails and tweets to me over the last week or 2 stating “I’m new to Android, how do I …” which got me thinking: what are the basics of Android?

First thing to keep in mind is don’t be scared!. Unless you’re diving in boots and all to ‘root’ and ‘flash ROMs’ to your device, it’s unlikely you’ll brick it. Worst case scenario is that you need to factory reset your phone which deletes all data stored on the phone (ie. anything not on your memory card).

Understanding the OS

As this post is aimed at new users to Android, I don’t want to get too technical with this section. The great thing about Android is the open nature of the platform. YOU have the choice of how your phone looks, feel and performs. YOU have the choice of how your home screen looks — with virtually unlimited possibilities for app shortcuts and widgets that you can place there. One of the draw cards of Android is the freedom of choice. Don’t be afraid to make changes to your phone — if you don’t like them, reverse the process and return your phone to its previous state.

This is in contrast to iOS which is a fairly closed environment; heavily controlled; and to some extent, censored by Apple.

What do you want to do?

Before you get too excited and start exploring Android and the Android Market I’d recommend that you take 5 minutes to think about what you’d like to do with your phone. Perhaps anything you’d like to be able to achieve with it also.

Some standard things are

  • Email: Gmail, IMAP or POP3
  • Twitter
  • Google +
  • Facebook
  • Music and Podcasts

Based on these wants and needs, go search the Android Market for apps that suit you.

Getting connected

To use an Android phone to its full potential, there’s no option, you need to have a Google Account and actively use it as one of your primary addresses though Gmail.


You’ll find the Android Market at http://market.android.com or via the application on your device. It’s the main location for Australian users to find, buy and download apps to their Android devices. The other option that is used by more technically inclined users is called getjar and can be a great source for cheap apps.

Get advice

If you know someone who’s an expert (whether demonstrated skill or self-professed) ask them for advice if you’re not sure about something you’re trying to do. If you don’t have this advantage, ask a member of Team Ausdroid, we’re only too happy to help you with your Android related questions. You can contact all of us via Twitter, Email or smoke signals. Another option is to login while we’re doing our Podcast (live stream tonight!) and ask questions in the chat room during the stream.

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    Gambit smith

    With in 3 days of getting my droid, I had flashed the rom 8 times, factory reset it 5 times. Overclocked it until it frozze 7 times… 

    Best thing is… compared to most Droids, I now have a F1 high preformace phone.

    The only way to know how far your hardware can go, is to push it and keep pushing it until it breaks.


    Going by the image, I thought this article was about Android LOLs. 🙁
    Very concise article though. Probably the perfect size with just the right amount of info for a beginner. Thanks.


    Phil, I would put the ‘What do you want to do?’ as being the main question to ask BEFORE you buy a smartphone. Unfortunately most folks buy the hardware, then fail to ask that question, then wonder why they can’t do anything, and only then do they beg for help. As for how your version of  the ‘What do you want to do’ list compares to what my version of the same was back in Feb last year, different on almost every point. Calendar/diary/organizer, Note taking, eBook reading, web browsing, video and music.