Newbies two-minute guide to Google Android

From customizing the home screen to managing notifications and apps, this quick two-minute guide has critical info for every new Android user.

Two Minute Drill: Android newbies guide to Google's mobile OS

So you've finally seen the light and migrated from the iCult or that wretched Windows Phone. You sit there with your shiny new friend, ready to dive in head first -- but you don't know where to start.

That's where I come in. I want to walk those of you, unfamiliar with the Android platform, through the various parts of the system.

I should warn you. Not all Android devices are created equal. That means with every brand (Samsung, HTC, Google, Kyocera, etc) there are differences. I'll do my best to stick to generalities, but know that what you see here, you may not exactly match what you see on your phone.

Home screen

The first thing you should get to know is the home screen. This is very similar to the iPhone. You can add application launchers and widgets, change your wallpaper, and more.

Android Homescreen

To add an application launcher or widget, you need to know the different kind of "presses" necessary. On Android you have the short press and the long press. The short press is like a left mouse click on your desktop and the long press is like a right mouse click. A short press is just a simple tap. A long press is a tap and hold until the action you need appears. For example, to add a launcher to the home screen, long press any empty spot on the home screen and then tap Apps.

Notifications bar

Let's move on to the Notification bar. This is where all notification alerts appear (such as new emails and texts) as well as information about battery and network connection.

To see this information, you only need tap at the top of your screen and drag downward to reveal all new notifications.

You can clear all notifications with a single tap near the top right of the notification window.

Android Notifications bar

Launching apps

What about apps? If you don't have a launcher set up on your home screen, how do you open an application. Simple -- through the Application Drawer. To open this wondrous drawer, tap the App Drawer icon. This will reveal all of your installed apps. To launch an app, short press the icon and the app will open.

With some Android devices, you can also quickly uninstall an app from the app drawer by long-pressing the app icon and dragging it to Uninstall.

Getting apps from the Google Play Store

What about installing apps? Android has you covered with the Google Play Store. Open the Application Drawer and locate the Play Store icon. Tap to launch and you are ready to search for whatever application you need.

To install an app you only need to find the app and then tap Install and then Accept.

Android has a lot more bells and whistles than Apple iOS. You can do more, but some new uses might be a bit put off with everything it has to offer. Now you understand the very basics. Keep coming back here, and I promise you'll wind up an Android expert in no time.