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When Google announced the Android operating system in 2007, we slat led debating whether it heralded the arrival of an open source platform that could finally compete with the best mobile platforms out there. Our logk roughly followed along the lines of, "What's not to love about a phone operating svn tem that will run on all kinds of devices?" Android quickly exceeded all expectations, and is now a serious contender to become the dominant plattoim for mobile and smart devices. If you are anything like us, you like ch< >i L c and do not want a "one-size-fits-all" type of phone. Heck, you might want a keyboard on your phone, or maybe a device that looks like a Fender guitar and is specifically suited to musical interests. Android opens up unlimited possibilities to customize your device to behave just how_you want it. After all, you know best what you want, and Android-based phones give you plenty of options to choose from. We've had our Android phones for more than a year, and we're still discovering and marveling at all the things they can do.

Of course, having a lot of choices can create a bit of a problem too. As of this writing there are more than 25,000 Android apps in the Android Market, and that number is growing rapidly. At the rate things are going, we'll be at 100,000 apps before long. So how can you find the apps you're looking for and avoid getting overwhelmed with the abundance of options? Many of the apps in the Market claim to do the same thing, and if there are only a few reviews, it can be tough to know what to put on your precious device ""

The great thing about these phones is that they can do many things at once. After all, multitasking is how we run our lives these days. But you need the right combination of apps to make your powerful device become a productivity tool, entertainment center, communication hub, reference appliance, gaming gadget, and more.

We wrote this book to help you stay ahead of the current. We scoured the Android Market to find the best apps that will make your phone uniquely yours and help make you more productive, creative, and happy. All the apps in this book work on phones running Android 1.5 and above. If you can't find a particular app in the Market, use Google to see whether you can download a copy from the developers' website. This is another nice thing about Android phones: there is no stranglehold on how you get your apps. They are available directly from the developer as well as from the Market.

How to Use This Book

The best way to use this book is to browse by subject areas that interest you the most. If you'd rather search by name, the QR Code Index lists all the apps in the book, and what pages they're on.

About the Authors

Mike Hendrickson is a writer, editor, and hacker who continually tries to get the most out of technology, whether it's fused into social interactions, health, politics, environment, or everyday life. In his spare time, he cycles, maintains an organic garden, and practices yoga, and finds/listens to all sort of music with the help of his favorite Android app (Shaazam). Follow Mike on Twitter at @mikehatora.

Brian Sawyer is an editor for O'Reillys Head First division. He's also served as lead editor for the company's popu-ar Hacks series, editor for Missing Manuals and Make: Books, and contributing editor to Craft magazine. When lot writing about technology, he trains for marathons with the help of his favorite Android apps (see page 96). Follow Brian on Twitter at @briansawyer.

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