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Goodbye IPhone, Hello Android: How to Switch

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Motorola DROID R2D2 Image Courtesy Verizon Wireless

Are you tired of your iPhone and ready to switch to an Android phone? Are you worried that you'll lose all your stuff? Can you find the right apps? I won't say that switching phones is ever completely painless, but switching from iPhone to Android is fairly easy, and you'll enjoy your new Android phone.

First, a warning: Android apps and iPhone apps are not compatible, so you will lose all your iPhone apps when you switch to Android. Sorry. However, many app developers make both Android and iPhone versions of their app, and the data in many cases is stored online. If you install the Android version of Evernote, you can still see any notes you created on your iPhone.

Google Accounts and Gmail Are Your Friends

Start using Gmail as your default email client. It's free and easy, and when you switch to an Android phone, your email data will come with you. Android uses your Google account for everything, so make sure you have one. You can still set up an Exchange email account, and you can still check email on other services if you really want to keep that .me account, but you should have a Google account no matter what. 

Sync Your ITunes Contacts With Google

Before you make the big switch, use iTunes to sync your contacts with Gmail and you calendar with Google Calendar. Double check your contacts at www.google.com/contacts to make sure they're showing up in Google.

Sync Your ITunes Music With DoubleTwist

Switching your phone doesn't mean you need to give up your extensive iTunes music and video library. You can use doubleTwist to sync your iTunes library with your Android phone, or you can check out these other great Android music apps.

Move Your Photos 

Your photos are just stored on your phone, so connect your iPhone via USB and transfer them to your computer. Once you have an Android phone, you can do the same thing in reverse and transfer your photos to your Android. Or you can start syncing your photos with Picasa or Flickr, because you'll still be able to see them from your phone.

Get Used to More Buttons

Your iPhone had only one physical button on the front, but Android phones generally have four or five. They are Back, Home, Menu, and Search.  When you exit an application, most of the time you'll just tap the Back button until you reach the Home screen, but you can also tap the Home button. The Menu button gives you options, and it's a great guess when you're lost in an app, and the Search button does what you'd expect. Some Android phones also have a track ball you can use for navigation, and some have a physical keyboard.

Learn to Love the Widget

Androids and iPhones both get app icons, but only Android has widgets. Widgets are mini apps that run on your Home screen and may be interactive. Widgets let you do things like check the weather or read email without launching your email app. Toggling widgets are especially useful, since they'll let you toggle your Wi-Fi or background data sync on and off in a hurry.

Android Market Is Now Your App Store

Rather than using Apple's App Store, the Android Market is the default app store for Android. Notice how I said default? Android phones aren't bound to just one market. By checking a box allowing third-party app installiation, you can install apps from alternative markets or even just from links on the Web. However, don't go crazy with your new power. You should be cautious about installing apps from third party sources, and at a minimum install some virus protection, such as Lookout Mobile.

 

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