Android has built-in support for Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. From version 2.2 it supports 802.11n, currently the fastest Wi-Fi standard, though your phone’s hardware won’t necessarily support it. Wi-Fi standards are backwards compatible, so you should have no problems connecting to Wi-Fi networks that support the older 802.11b/g standards. Unless you encounter any specific issues with a particular home network setup, there really is no need to worry about these different standards, as they can generally all coexist quite happily You may also have 3G web access via your SIM card and phone carrier. 3G is a data standard used by cellphone network providers to handle the growing data demands of their customers. It’s useful when you want to access the web and Wi-Fi isn’t available, but depending on your contract you may have a data limit or be charged extra for using this service.

Can make phone calls while on the Internet?

Yes, if you have access to a Wi-Fi Internet connection. For example, if a friend called you up and needed directions, you could put them on speakerphone while you looked up their location in Google Map, talking them through the rest of their journey. Android also supports simultaneous voice and data using the 3G and EDGE data networks, but whether your handset and/or carrier does may be another matter.

Can I “unlock” my Android phone and use another SIM card or network?

If your phone is “locked” to a specific network and you’d like to unlock it, for example if you’re travelling abroad and want to save money by using a local SIM card, or if you’re at the end of your contract and want to move over to another provider on a pay-as-you-go tariff, the process will be as straightforward as unlocking any other phone. Before you can unlock your phone you’ll need to know a few bits of information.

Your phone’s make and model
Your current network provider
Your phone’s IMEI code — this is your phone’s number plate, usually found hiding behind its battery, or by dialling *#06#, or by going to Menu > Settings > About phone > Phone identity.

Tip: It’s good to have your phone’s IMEI code written down somewhere, as in the event of loss or theft you can contact your provider and have them use this number to lock your phone down. It’ll also make your phone easy to identify if recovered.

Once you have this information to hand it’s a simple case of browsing to one of the many sites that offer unlocking codes. Check out cellunlocker.net, imeisimunlock.com or trycktill.com, enter your information and get the unlock code to enter into your phone. A lot of sites will charge you for the service but surf around a bit and you should be able to find a free one.

Can I use Android to get my laptop online when out and about?

Assuming you have either a Wi-Fi or data connection, Android supports both USB tethering and the ability to set up your phone as a wireless hotspot. Tethering is the process whereby one device connects to the Internet via the online connection of another. So, for example, if you needed to get your laptop online in a situation where no Wi-Fi signal was available, you could connect your phone via USB and employ it as a 3G modem. Set this up from Menu select Settings then Wireless & networks then Tethering & portable hotspot and simply select the Tethering box (make sure your phone is connected to your computer with the USB cable). That’s all you need to do: Android will handle the rest.

Setting up your handset to act as a wireless hotspot is just as easy. From the same screen, select the Portable Wi-Fi hotspot check-box. After a few seconds you should see “Android AP” as an available Wi-Fi connection on your computer. You can delve deeper into the settings on your phone for this connection if necessary, to change security settings or change the name of the connection.
Setting up your Android phone as a portable Wi-Fl hotspot is easier than you’d think.