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Christmas Gift Guide

Mere days ago, we got very excited about the latest version of the Android operating system. Donut, or Android 1.6 as it's more formally known, offers a bunch of improvements over 1.5 that we think will make it a very worthwhile upgrade. We posted a full list of improvements earlier, so we won't repeat ourselves by going over them again, but we will show you some screen grabs of what key things look like.

Because this is a new OS, the app store hasn't updated yet, and there's only a tiny fraction of the usual apps present. Of course, this will change with time. We really wanted to test the new global voice-activated search, but the app for that isn't yet available for 1.6. We were, however, able to peek at the text search, battery meter and new-look app store.

Have a gander at our screenshots, and let us know in the comments section below what you think. Is this the update that's going to make Android phones a serious threat to the iPhone? Or is the Apple device so far ahead that nothing can be done to curtail the dominion of Jobs?

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The new Android Market is a big deal, offering improved categories. It's important to remember that, unlike iPhone users, Android users don't have a PC interface for stuff like this.
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Apps can now easily be filtered based on type and cost, as well as date. These filter options are available in every category, so finding the top-rated free puzzle game is easy.
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The new battery app is a great way to keep track of your phone's battery use. If one app shows up with a disproportionately high percentage here, you might want to stop using it, or adjust some settings.
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Phone search is now global -- ie, everything on your phone. You can search messages, contacts, email, the Web, applications and pretty much anything else. With the Google Voice Search app, you can say 'call Ian mobile' and the phone will do just that. Awesomeness.
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This might be specific to the HTC Tattoo we used, but this screen makes USB tethering look like a distinct possibility.
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