If you received an Android phone over the holidays, you've probably been busy loading contacts, setting up your accounts and just playing with the interface. But, there are some important steps you should take to make sure that your smartphone works smoothly, efficiently and is well protected.

1. Don't forget to set up your Google Account. Not only does doing so make accessing your email much easier, but it also saves all of your contacts remotely, just in case your phone gets lost or stolen. If you don't have a Gmail account, you may want to consider getting one, because it will be the most compatible account with the Google-run program (plus, it's really easy to set up forwards for multiple accounts in Gmail). The other reason a Google Account is beneficial is that it allows access to the Android Market, which you'll need to install apps.

2. There's an app for that. The word "app" is short for application, and one of the most convenient things about having apps on your smartphone is that if you access them, they'll keep running, so that you can use them immediately. To install apps on your Android, log in to either Google's Android Market or Amazon's Appstore for Android and start exploring. Whether you want to calculate the distance you've walked to work, check your favorite tweets or locate the closest Washington, D.C. computer repair for spyware removal – there's always an app for that.

3. Use Wi-Fi, rather than just the provided network. First of all, Wi-Fi will probably be faster than your 3G or 4G network. Plus, switching to Wi-Fi as often as possible will save battery, and prevent you from going over the monthly limitations on internet access.