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Surprisingly I haven't found a satisfactory answer for this in a FAQ somewhere or anything.

I have a Motorola Droid (with froyo, if it matters)
I am thinking about getting a Samsung Galaxy Tab.

Pretty simple question: What will happen if I attach the same google account to the tablet?

What I do not want to happen is for the new device to automatically download all of the same apps from my phone, especially the ones that don't make sense on a Wifi-only non-phone device. And especially if the installed apps on both devices need to always stay synchronized.

What I want is to be able to sync contacts, gmail, calendar, etc, on both devices.


Bonus Question

It would be nice if my paid apps were available for re-download on the new device, but that isn't even necessary. So I was thinking about creating a new google account just for the sake of apps on the new device, and adding my gmail account as a "secondary" on the tablet. So, the bonus question is: would this option be a better plan (if it would work at all)?

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[link] this guy seems to be forced to fill a captcha forever and could not login using his account on a second phone. Does anyone have the same problem? –  Louis Rhys Dec 21 '10 at 3:15

7 Answers 7

up vote 21 down vote accepted

I have a Motorola Droid running CM6 (Android 2.2, effectively) and a G1 running CM5 (Android 2.1, effectively). The Droid is on Verizon and the G1 is on a pre-pay SIM card with no data (so it is basically a wifi device I use for dev testing).

I use the same Google account on both. It does not force me to have the same apps on both phones. I can download apps I have paid for on both phones without any problems. Contacts, gmail, etc. sync just fine.

However, I do believe that if both devices are running Froyo, it will try to initially restore your apps when you add your Google account. But I believe you can then uninstall them (it won't try to re-install again).

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When you finish setting up a google account it shows you two options one to backup and one to restore apps and data (the last page of the "google account wizard", two checkboxes) if you disable those options it will not auto install any apps. You will be however able to install payed apps on the second device wihout buying them again (just search for the app again and you can install it without paying). Syncing of contacts, gmail and gtalk will also work normaly.

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I have a Droid 2 with Gingerbread, and then bought a Xoom with Honeycomb. The Xoom did indeed download all the apps, paid and free alike. I did have to remove some. Oddly, some it left off randomly. Could be due to the variation from gingerbread to honeycomb. Contacts and email sync perfectly, apps downloaded since the initial sync do not self-sync to the other device.

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Just looking around my desk, I see at least 10 phones running Android from 3 manufacturers. And a XOOM. Nearly all of them are activated with my "primary gmail account" for the sake of getting them going and doing some testing. I also connect some of these devices to my work Google Apps account.

Android does exactly the right thing with regards to syncing of data. Email, contacts and calendar works flawlessly. Apps that I purchased on one device show up in the market app for those devices that are compatible, but it doesn't download them until I say to do so. Books I bought are available in my book reader from one device to the next. Apps that I downloaded or paid for but don't want to use on a particular device show up in the market, but I'm free to ignore them and not download them.

When a new device arrives, usually it's a matter of 20-30 minutes to get it to a useful state by downloading the core apps and data that I need. I'm sure that could be shorter if I bothered to set up a install routine, but half the fun of getting a new toy is figuring out how it feels in my hands. The new web-based Market interface makes this much easier. I just sync once and it shows up as another device in my Market account. Then I start pushing apps at it.

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I can confirm what @Bryan Denny has said in the accepted answer. I have a Samsung Galaxy S and an Archos 101 device.

  • Both running Froyo 2.2.1 now.
  • Using the same Google account.
  • Nothing was installed automatically when I set up the Archos 101.
  • I had to install all applications I wanted.
  • I was able to install both the paid and the free applications I had running on the Galaxy.

I only want to add that, if you select an application from the Android Market via pc, you have to choose between your devices to which device you want to install the application ( the devices are listed in a combo box ).

If you want to install it on both :

  • Click the install button, and choose the first device. The button will now read Installed.
  • For the second device, just click Installed again - it will give you the option once more to choose a device from your device.
  • Choose the second device and it will be installed a second time ( although is displays Installed , it's still a click through to the next screen ).
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Great question. Here's an answer for someone with two G1's as seen here.

I have 2 G1's and only one sim card. I have put the sim card in each and wiped, even with different esn numbers they both sign in to google flawlessly. And the paid apps are associated with the gmail sign in, so they show up on both phones.

So accordingly, it seems that paid apps are "synced" with the gmail account. This makes sense from a ownership standpoint (paying for a given app grants access on multiple devices), however it may not make sense for some specific apps (i.e. GPS, location, etc.).

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But does it force you to have the same set of apps installed on both devices? For example, I know that when I "restore to factory settings" with froyo, the market automatically tries to download all of my Installed apps again. I don't want to go through that hassle with a new (especially non-phone) device. –  Josh Oct 27 '10 at 13:43

That's true. It's no problem to use multiple phones wi th one account. I do it like this myself with a g1 and a galaxy s. The paid apps are connected to your gmail account so you can use them on any phone with your credentials. Otherwise you would have to pay with every new phone you are going to buy.

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Do you have different apps actually installed on both of those devices? Or the same exact set? Does it let you pick-and-choose or do you have to install everything and then manually uninstall it? What about Appbrain or Chrome2Phone, how do they "know" which device you are talking to? –  Josh Oct 27 '10 at 13:52
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I do not use Appbrain and neither Chrome2Phone. Yes, the app sets are different on both phones. You can pick which apps to install, so you don't have to install anything you don't want to. –  mru Oct 28 '10 at 16:50

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