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Android is rapidly increasing in market share and this certainly isn’t a consequence of the same people constantly upgrading their phones. In addition to the market’s growth, some users are switching (or upgrading) from other platforms for different reasons: Android is open, cheaper, more customizable; it’s on your preferred network; there’s more choice in terms of hardware… whatever your reason for choosing Android, there’s a big chance you’re a new user.

While Android ships with a number of pre-installed apps (in addition to some custom apps and widgets from the phone maker), the Market also houses a number of fundamental apps that every new user should have. If you’re experienced with Android, be sure to check out our absolutely essential app roundup. If you’re not, then check out this newbies’ list to get you started, instead of jumping in at the deep end.

In this special, extended article, we’re going to take a look at the first steps you should take as a new Android user including a tour of some “hidden” UI elements, must-have apps and widgets and to finish off, some tips. It’s a “Beginner’s Guide” in both senses: it’s designed for new Android users, and written by a relatively new Android user :)

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For much of 2010, the iPad was regarded as the superior tablet to many and its rivals found it hard to take any of that market share away from it. However, most of the major players in the Android market decided it would be right to ensure bloggers had no break at this year’s International Consumer Electronics Show by launching a wealth of Android tablets on them in the mere few days the show ran.

Now that it’s over, today we’ll look at our favorite Android tablet announcements from this year’s CES.

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Android has thousands of brilliant apps for all sorts of different uses, from apps to find where you parked your car, to apps for your personal trainers. One set of apps that many people over look though, is possibly the most used application on their phone: their keyboard.

While many of the different keyboards are similar, an app used as much as this needs to be suited as much as possible to your typing style. Finding the best keyboard could save you a lot of time, as well as embarrassing errors in your text!

How to change your keyboard

To change your keyboard after installing a new one, go to settings > Language and Keyboard, and then check your desired keyboard to enable it to be used.

Language and keyboard

Once you have any desired keyboards selected, you can then choose it as your default keyboard for input, you can also choose what keyboard to use whenever you’re writing by pressing and holding your finger on the text box for a few seconds.

Now that you know how to switch keyboards, read on to find out which to try out…

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Android has gone from strength to strength over the past few years. From humble beginnings, the operating system has quickly become a dominant force in the mobile industry today. The open-source platform is free from restrictions that come with other devices, and this has lead to the development of some really fantastic software.

Today we’re going to highlight no less than 100 fantastic Android applications, across categories such as productivity, entertainment, reading, file sharing, and useful utilities. You’ll be amazed what the Android device in your pocket is capable of!

Of course, even these 100 applications are only the tip of the iceberg; there are plenty of others that we just could not fit in the list. Let us know in the comments if there are any you think deserve a shout-out.

We’ll also share a series of 15 nifty Android tips and tricks that you may not have come across before… Read on to find out more!

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