Those of us with Android phones know that our devices have power and flexibility. Those, though, aren't enough to impress the iPhone-wielding masses around us. There are, however, some things you can do with Android that make it easy to show off.
(For each item, we're providing a QR code you can scan to download the app. Don't have a barcode scanner yet? Pick up a free one in the Market.)
1. Use a custom home screen
Here's something Apple won't let you do: replace the entire launcher interface. Google's fine with it, though, so there are some popular apps that add screens, support themes and further make your phone awe-worthy. Here's our suggestion:
Though a lot of the thunder has been stolen from this app by the new 2.1 OS, there's still a lot here to love. In addition to the extra home screens, aHome adds a widget drawer like the default app drawer and supports some great themes. Speaking of themes, how about this one...
aHome iPhone theme
For those of you with Cupertino envy (we know you're out there), show your friends you have the best of both worlds with this theme. There are also skins that look like OS X, Linux, Windows Mobile and more. Of course, you could also get one from your favorite TV show or movie, but that's just boring.
2. Use Google Maps Navigation
If you're an early adopter that hasn't upgraded to a Nexus One or Droid yet, this might not be possible, but for those with 2.0 or later, Google Maps Navigation is the flashiest thing available. Voice recognition works well, the Google Street View look at the end is a nice touch, and free GPS is something that all can be envious of.
3. Find some great widgets
Android phones don't necessarily have to launch apps to do things. Widgets let you throw three or four things on one screen, so your multitasking phone fits your multitasking lifestyle. Here are a few suggestions:
The weather/clock tool had to undergo a drastic redesign after HTC threatened legal action, but it's still a great alternative if you don't use Sense UI. There are multiple sizes for different tastes, and even the clock font is customizable. It's around a dollar, but worth it.
Are you a sports fan? The SportsTap app lets you track your favorite teams and, if you'd like, get score notifications during the game. Even better: the included widget gives live scores on your home screen for whatever you want. It's a bit more usable than the official Scoreboard app from Google. Did I mention that this one is free?
Multitasking. It's what makes the Android OS so great. A bonus to this: after launching Pandora, you don't have to leave it up; you can control everything from your home screen. For those who like Last.fm, though, there's a widget for that too.
4. Use notifications to your advantage
Android's notifications don't take up the whole screen, and they're generally unobtrusive. That makes them useful. A great way to show off how is Astrid.
This reminder tool lets you customize when you get notifications, and Astrid does it in such a pleasant way. It syncs with a lot of services and lets you remember things...and with all this multitasking, that's definitely an issue.
5. Show your phone reception (or your bill)
Most importantly, remember, you're not tied to AT&T. Android fans can shop around, picking up Verizon's coverage or T-Mobile's affordability. Sometimes the most effective way to show off is to not have calls drop...or to buy your iFriend a drink.