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Review: Kyocera Zio

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The Zio runs stock Android 1.6. This is unfortunate. Most of today's top-end Android devices are launching with either Android 2.1 or 2.2. With Android 1.6 on board, the Zio lacks a number of features that make the Android platform a bit more robust, such as support for multiple Exchange accounts, Adobe Flash support, and some much-need improvements to the Android Market.

Stock Android 1.6 isn't terrible to work with, though.

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Probably the thing I am disappointed about most is that the Zio has only three home screens to customize and not five or seven, as other Android handsets are offering. This means less space to put your own stuff.

When you first boot the device, you have to sign into your Google account. It will then automatically configure your Gmail, your Google contacts and other Google services. There is no hard syncing directly to a PC. It must be done via the internet.

You have a basic home screen that has a number of pre-loaded apps, plus a Google search bar at the top. Like any standard Android phone, there is a little tab at the very bottom of the screen. Swipe it up and the entire main menu will appear.

Tapping into the Settings menu, Android ditches icons in favor of a simple list of adjustments to make. Each has a pull-down arrow that opens up a folder with the choices for that menu selection. Most of these make sense and it's quick to figure everything out.

When using applications, hitting the Menu key on the front of the Zio will open up a short list of additional options you can use to adjust whatever app it is that you are running.

Lastly, there is a notification bar that runs along the top. Any time you get a new email or other notification, it will sit up there. From any screen on the phone, you can swipe down from that notification bar and it will show you any missed calls, and what unread messages you have.

In all, Android continues to be a highly usable mobile operating system.

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