April 12, 2011, 7:33 PM — If you own an Android smartphone or tablet device, a seemingly unending selection of mobile applications is at your fingertips thanks to Google's Android Market.
The Android Market and its more than 160,000 applications can, however, seem unwieldy and intimidating if you're not familiar with the ins and outs of Google's official software shop.
But you're in luck: The following ten Android Market tips and tricks offer insights on how to manage, organize and remove Market apps; stay up to date on the latest the Market has to offer, without ever even launching the store; find the best apps for you; and much more.
Keep moving for specifics. And also check out my new Android Super Guide for more how-tos, tips and tricks and Android tutorials.
(Note: The following tips and tricks were performed on a Motorola Atrix 4G smartphone running Android v2.2.1, and though all of them should apply to the majority of new Android devices, some may differ slightly based on your specific device and OS version.)
1) Manage Android Market Software Updates
Google makes it relatively easy to ensure your Android Market software stays up to date. A number of options exist so you can automatically update applications whenever a new build is available or decide on your own when, or if, you want to update a specific app.
To set individual applications to automatically update on their own, launch the Android Market then hit your device's Menu key and choose My Apps from the on-screen options. Next, navigate to the application you want to auto-update and select it. On the following screen, fill in the check-box next to Allow automatic updating. The software will now update on its own whenever a new build becomes available.
Another way to ensure you always know when a new Android Market app-update is available is to set the Market to notify you of any new updates, via an update icon in your Android status bar. To set the Android Market to notify you of new app-updates, launch the Market and again hit your device's Menu key, but this time choose Settings from the on-screen options. Click the Notify me drop-down menu to display more options and the make sure the circle next to Notify Me is filled in.
You can also manually check for new software updates at any time by visiting your Android Market My Apps page. If updates are available, they'll appear atop all of your installed apps.
2) Android Market Home-Screen Widget