Take Control of Your Android Device

Step 3: Tweak the Interface

As much as I like the stock Android OS interface, it still has room for improvement--especially in the on-screen keyboard. Jealous of HTC's SenseUI keyboard? Don't have a device that supports multitouch or pinch-to-zoom in the Web browser? Just use a ROM replacement that includes the interface elements you want. You can pick and choose custom interface additions and replacements from several creators via CyanogenMod.

Step 4: Overclock Your Android Phone

You know how to overclock your PC. Now try overclocking your Android device. Overclocking your phone is as easy as installing the SetCPU for Root Users app.

Just be careful: You could risk damaging your hardware if you overclock too much or use a method not compatible with your handset.

The SetCPU app makes managing a stable overclock very easy. By default it gives your phone a moderate speed boost, but you can customize it further to allow more-dramatic, on-demand overclocking.

Of course, more power means that the CPU will drain the battery more quickly, but using SetCPU on my Droid with a substantial on-demand overclock had little effect on its battery life.

If you want more battery life than than your device normally offers, you can also use SetCPU to underclock your device, which trades performance for battery longevity.

Step 5: Manage Tasks Better

You don't need to root your Android device to use a task-management utility, and if you're using Froyo, you're probably better off sticking with the built-in task-managing tools. However, if you're dead set on controlling every single app that runs on your handset, grab Advanced Task Manager. Now you can kill any running process, schedule tasks, and even uninstall apps in bulk.

Step 6: Back Up Everything

Even an unmodded Android device may be the victim of unforeseen data loss. It's always a good idea to do regular, complete backups, which are typically available only to root users. One of the best utilities is Titanium Backup, available on the Android Market, which can create or restore device snapshots. While you're at it, pick up Astro File Manager, a root-compatible file manager that can help you keep track of all the stuff on your phone.

Android hacking may seem complicated, but for true geeks it means getting the most from a device. With just a little spare time, you can easily make your Android device truly your own--and more useful than ever before. Happy hacking!

For comprehensive coverage of the Android ecosystem, visit Greenbot.com.

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