Your Android Smartphone is an investment. It pays to make sure that your investment is protected. If your phone is lost or stolen, you’re potentially losing more than just your phone. Smartphones often contain valuable and potentially sensitive personal information including pictures, texts, and business contacts that you wouldn’t want falling into the wrong hands. Fortunately, Android users have access to a wide variety of security-minded features and apps. The following is a brief guide to help you ensure that your Android is protected.

Set an Unlock Pattern

When you first set up your Android, set up a screen lock that you’ll enter every time you activate your phone after it goes to sleep. Go to your phone’s settings menu and find the security tab. You’ll see an option that allows you to set a screen unlock pattern. The phone will show grid of nine dots. Create a personalized pattern by swiping your fingers from dot to dot. Don’t make it so easy that someone might guess, but don’t make it so complex that you might forget. If you enter your pattern incorrectly more than five times in a short span of time, you run the risk of being locked out of your phone and may have to reset it through your e-mail account or by calling your service provider.

When you enter your pattern, it will leave behind a green trail. If you’re concerned about someone looking over your shoulder and remembering your pattern, you can disable the green trail by returning to your phone’s security settings and disabling the visible pattern feature.

If your phone still doesn’t seem secure enough, check out an app called Hidden Lock. This app makes your home screen unresponsive until you press an invisible button that you place somewhere on the screen. This app will make it seem as if your phone is frozen or broken to all but the most tech-savvy phone thieves.

Secret Apps

Beyond your screen lock, there are several apps that can help you keep your information and data private. Hide It is a “fake” app that lets you hide pictures, videos, and other files you want to keep from prying eyes. When you download Hide It, it shows up on your phone as an application labeled “Audio Manager” with an accompanying fake icon. If you open the app, it appears to be a fully usable audio manager that lets you adjust your phone’s volume level. However, if you press and hold the audio manager icon, it opens up a secret vault where you can store and organize videos, pictures, and audio. Even if you don’t care about hiding anything, you might consider getting this app just for its impressive media organization features.

Decoy Hide Text is a “fake” app similar to Hide It that stores your text conversations. Once you set up this app, your incoming and outgoing texts won’t appear in the usual messages menu, but in an application entitled “FuzzyBalls” which is designed to look like a bouncing ball screen saver. When the screen saver shows up, shake the app and you’ll see your texts.

Your Phone’s GPS is your Friend

If your phone is lost or stolen, don’t start panicking. With the help of some incredible apps, there’s still hope.

Before you have the chance to lose your phone, take the precaution of installing Android Lost. You’ll be glad you did. It connects directly to your Google account (which you set up when you first activated your Android), and lets you access certain security features on your phone remotely using a computer.

If you can’t find your phone but know it’s close by somewhere, you can use Android Lost to set off your phone’s alarm at full volume, even if it’s on silent. If your phone is long gone, you can activate your phone’s GPS and locate where it is anywhere in the world (especially helpful if you think you left your phone in Antarctica).

If you believe your phone is stolen, you can use Android Lost to remotely delete sensitive information like text messages, contacts, pictures, and videos. You can also set it up to send text messages and incoming calls so that they show up in your e-mail, which is a good temporary solution until you get a new phone.

Phones with the latest Android 2.3 update can even take pictures from the phone’s camera and forward them to an e-mail address, possibly revealing hints about the phone’s current location.

Last Resort

If your phone is already lost and you neglected to download any precautionary apps, do not abandon hope! Plan B is an app that you can actually install on your phone after it goes missing using your Google account. Once installed, you can have your phone’s GPS coordinates sent to your e-mail by texting the word “locate” to your number. (Note: There are many websites that allow you to send free text messages from your computer including http://www.sendatextonline.com/ and http://www.onlinetextmessage.com/)

Taking a few safety precautions only takes a few moments and could potentially make your life a lot easier if your phone ever gets lost or stolen. It’s your valuable information, so make sure it’s protected. And remember, if you think your phone has been stolen, never try to track down the malicious parties yourself. Always report it to the proper authorities.

A year after the release of the first phone in the series, the Samsung Galaxy S, Samsung are yet again expanding the brand with a new Android smart phone release.

Hot on the heels of last year’s Samsung Galaxy Tab and weeks after the brand new Samsung Galaxy S II was revealed to the world, the Korean mobile giant have released their plans for a new, more business orientated phone in an attempt to make even more in roads into a market in which they are already having huge successes.

The Samsung Galaxy Pro is the latest phone off the Samsung production line (and the latest in the long line mobile phones to use the “pro” suffix) and it looks like it could be a treat for both business users and more general consumers.

The phone looks not unlike a Blackberry, with its QWERTY style keyboard underneath a smaller screen which is rather attractive in its own simple way and the mesh effect on its metallic back panel is pleasing on the eye.

The keyboard is a welcome addition as it makes sending e-mails and long messages so much easier than even the very best virtual keyboards. It is situated underneath the phone’s 2.8" 320 x 240 pixel touchscreen display and in other hardware news the phone features a 3 megapixel camera on the back that will take a decent snap but will never set the world alight.

The processor is just 800mhz which is not a lot nowadays, but is more than enough to run this little phone as it’s best features do not require a particularly powerful processor.

If you are looking for a phone mainly to watch videos and play games on this may not be for you but if you want a phone that is great for messaging and has some great business features and you are ready to join the Android revolution, the Samsung Galaxy Pro is definitely worth a look at. phones4u is the home of cheap contract phones and great pay as you go deals, visit the site today to find out the best deal for you

Let’s face it -- mobile living is great. It's the perfect way to still enjoy the best that life has to offer without missing a beat. If you’re a fan of audiobooks, then you already understand this completely. It's nice to be able to do whatever you want to do without having to stop and look at a book. It's better to really make sure that you really can just do about anything that you want without having to slow down at all.

That actually brings us to the Android experience, doesn’t it? After all, the whole purpose of Android is to give us plenty of features so that we really don't have to worry about stopping to take care of things that are inconvenient. In that spirit, wouldn't it be nice to have an Android app that could take care of our need to read books on the run? No more waiting around in airports trying to figure out what to do, that's for sure!

So, if you really want to make sure that you are getting everything you want out of your mobile experience, it might be time to start thinking about the AudiobooksNow app.

This app is from the same people behind the Booksfree website, where people just like you can check out the latest and greatest in terms of audiobooks and even traditional books as well.

What makes the Audiobooks Now app stand out to us is that you get a great gateway to incredible audiobooks. These are books from mainstream authors -- as much as we like indie books, we still want to be able to get our favorite authors.

The pricing plan is nice as well -- you get $5/mo access to special Club pricing, or you can just pay as you go by the download. It's completely up to you. If you’re not a fan of monthly subscriptions, then you can just skip that part.

You know the next step, don't you? You're going to want to download the app and take it for a test drive. If you're truly an audiobook junkie like we are, there's just no way that you can go on without an app like this!

What's that? A new upgrade to a higher Android OS is available for your phone and provider? Say it ain't so! If you’ve just gotten the good word that a new version of the Android OS is available for you to upgrade to, you might have one thought above all others: dude, that's totally sweet. Of course, if you're thinking about how difficult it's going to be to get your hands on the new version and actually have it work, don't worry: it's really not as hard as you might think to get this done. You just need to follow a few steps.

Ready to get started? Great, so are we:

First and foremost, you will want to make sure that you actually back up all of your files. And yes, we do mean all of them. Everything's going to get erased because it's a total operating system change. You want to make sure that your contacts, photos, videos, and everything else that's customized is backed up as much as possible. Your apps too, if you want to just move them back when they're finished.

From there, you will need to also make sure that you have plenty of space on that shiny SD card of yours. It's tempting to try to stick things onto an already crowded SD Card, but hits is not something that you want to deal with having no space for -- it will ruin your chances of a smooth Android installation.

The last step really is to download the new file package, which can be pretty big. You don't want to go with an unstable Internet connection for this, as it's going to make it very, very difficult to get anything correctly installed. You will need a Wi-Fi stable connection that you can use for a little while -- long enough to download the package.

Thankfully, everything else is automated. You aren't going to have to worry about making ten thousand decisions at once. The phone knows what to do, and you can count on your Android phone to do it well.

Now, you might think that there are going to be problems with installing a new operating system, but it's really not the case. Of course, if you need help you can always stop into any of the many Android forums online. They know how to get things done for you, and they can show you a few tips and tricks that really go beyond the scope of this guide. Why not get started today, you'll definitely be glad that you did!

Even though we all come from different walks of life, there's one thing that we all seem to share: our power to dream. There are a lot of challenges in life that seem to want to strip our dreams away, to make us think that dreams just aren't worth it.

Who knew that an Android app could help us realize that inner spark of dreams all over again? Well, it can -- meet the Thierry Mugler Angel -- Dream Machine. It's truly an entire universe that opens up to you when you load the app.

In order to create a universe you can relate to, you just need to pick 5 words out of a possible cloud of 40 -- and then you create your dream. You get a mini-movie filled with sequences that all revolve around one thing: your dream.

You get to create a unique dream that doesn't repeat on the second try, or the third try or any other try -- there are over 50 million possible dream combinations.

This means that no matter how many times you reach out for this app, it’s going to create something new and exciting for you.

But what if you wanted to go a little further than that? Thierry Mugler hasn't just created an app -- they've created a fragrance with a scent that can truly take you to the universe that you've created for yourself. There is a strong mind body connection that's been overlooked for a long time and this app really opens you up to experiencing as well as enjoying just doing something for you. That's right we said it -- doing something for you. It's very tempting to just ignore your own wants and needs, desires and dreams in favor of taking care of everyone around you. That's perfectly fine if you have to do that, but why not make some time for you to think about what you really want outside of those responsibilities.

We think that you will definitely love the Thierry Mugler Angel -- Dream Machine. It's something that truly gives you a peek into not only your own dream, but the interesting story behind the Angel perfume series.

Why not download this free app today? You’ll be glad that you did!