It’s been a while since I discussed Google Android on this site, Sept. 16, 2008 to be exact, but I have been keeping an eye on it. (I bought one in February).
Currently, the only phone using the Android operating system is the T-Mobile G1 manufactured by HTC.
Last week T-Mobile announced they would start distributing the long awaited “Cupcake” or v1.5 update. (An update was previously released in February 2009). Here’s an excerpt from their announcement:
T-Mobile is delighted to announce the upcoming release of Android 1.5 with ‘Cupcake’ coming soon to the T-Mobile G1,” T-Mobile wrote in a statement late last week. “We plan to begin sending out the update starting the end of next week. As with previous software maintenance releases, the update will be randomly sent ‘over the air’ to T-Mobile G1 customers. We expect everyone will have their update by the end of May.
The earlier update many fixed some problems, but added few new features. The new “Cupcake” update will have several new features — some of which, like a virtual keyboard, are highly anticipated by owners of the device. Here is a list of new features to be found in the update:
- On-screen soft keyboard
- Works in both portrait and landscape orientation
- Support for user installation of 3rd party keyboards
- User dictionary for custom words
- Home screen
- Widgets: Bundled home screen widgets include: analog clock, calendar, music player, picture frame, and search
- Live folders: Allows viewing of SD card contents without opening an application.
- Camera & Gallery
- Video recording
- Video playback (MPEG-4 & 3GP formats): Previously only possible via a free Android Market download
- Stereo Bluetooth support (A2DP and AVCRP profiles)
- Improved hands free experience
- Copy ‘n paste in browser
- Search within a page
- User-selectable text-encoding
- UI changes include:
- Unified Go and Search box
- Tabbed bookmarks/history/most-visited screen
- Shows user picture for Favorites
- Specific date/time stamp for events in call log
- One-touch access to a contact card from call log event
- New Linux kernel (version 2.6.27)
- SD card filesystem auto-checking and repair
- SIM Application Toolkit 1.0
- Google applications
- View Google Talk friends’ status in Contacts, SMS, MMS, GMail, and Email applications
- Batch actions such as archive, delete, and label on Gmail messages
- Upload videos to Youtube
- Upload photos on Picasa
Additional features include a more refined user interface, animated window transitions, keyboard clicks or vibrates if desired, and an accelerometer for rotating applications onscreen. The camera will have a faster startup time, and faster shutter speed (image capture), while the GPS features are supposed to have faster response times. (GPS navigation wasn’t suitable for driving, and the route didn’t recalculate if you changed your course. Improved GPS functionality was available from third parties such as Telenav.)
Google has released a video highlighting the improvements and enhancements (shown at top) found in the Cupcake update. T-Mobile has released an Android 1.5 with Cupcake video as well. Many G1 user videos can be found on YouTube.
And in case you were wondering, Cupcake is a codename for the update, and the codenames are alphabetical. The next update will start with the letter “D” and some, like Rob Jackson at Phandroid, are speculating it will be called “Donut” to be followed by “Eclair” in keeping with the dessert theme.