As it currently stands, Bell is the only major Canadian wireless carrier that doesn’t have at least one Android handset in its line-up, but if the latest rumors are to be believed, this will only be the case for another couple days as Bell is said to be getting the Samsung Galaxy i7500 on December 10th. Because it’s received little attention Statesi… er Province-side, we think it’s worth quickly running over the specs: 3.2″ HVGA AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 5 megapixel camera with autofocus and LED flash, Wi-Fi, GPS, 7.2Mbps HSDPA, 528MHz processor, 8GB internal memory and it’s running Android 1.5 “Cupcake”. Pricing is still a mystery, but hey — Bell users have had plenty of time to save up. More →
Motorola CLIQ owners have long had a list of complaints about their device, but Motorola is hoping that an OTA update released yesterday will fix the majority of users’ woes. The update doesn’t do anything to change the fact the device runs on Android 1.5, but it does bump up the system version to 1.1.31. What does that mean for the average Joe and Jane? Improved battery life and touchscreen sensitivity, better Bluetooth all around, accelerometer refinements and more. Go ahead and give it a while and let us know what you think, okay?
Haven’t had your fill of Android handsets yet? Neither have we. T-Mobile just hit us up with a Samsung Behold II and here are some first impressions:
Physically the unit feels pretty good to hold, albeit a little cheap. The weight is good, but the choice of a glossy plastic makes it feel a little chintzy to us. The back cover has a certain depth to it and it’s pretty darn cool, but we can see it scratching really easily if you’re not careful. As far as the front of the device, the buttons are surprisingly pretty easy to press despite their intimidating layout, and the 5-way navigational circle is also pretty friendly. Now for what we don’t like…
Samsung needs to learn that it isn’t 1999 anymore, and re-skinning most of Android’s decent but not great UI elements isn’t a good idea. We literally feel like we’re in downtown Seoul when the display is on — neon blues, neon orange, neon yellow — all on a black background which really doesn’t make for the most appetizing phone interface. Additionally, you can no longer press the Menu key to unlock the display once you turn it on, you’re forced to press a dedicated unlock / lock key on the side of the phone. Awk. Ward. While the paper specs on the phone (capacitive screen, 5 megapixel camera, AWS 3G, etc.) are definitely competitive, at first glance, the user experience seems to be way too involved for the average user. It’s not friendly by any means and the price point of $199 seems borderline laughable with other devices available at this time. On and off T-Mobile.
Motorola’s DROID might be the new darling of the Android world, but other manufacturers are still kicking about and pumping some great offerings. Yesterday Sprint pushed out one such device and that’s the Samsung Moment. It might not be benefiting from the insane amounts of hype that the DROID is enjoying, but it does have a 3.2″ AMOLED touchscreen display, sliding QWERTY keypad, 3.2 megapixel camera, Wi-Fi, GPS, 256MB RAM and a speedy 800MHz processor running on top of Android 1.5. At $179.99 after a $100 MIR, the Moment comes in at $20 cheaper than the DROID, a price we can’t help but think Sprint is already considering slashing.
This is pretty interesting even if it doesn’t apply to you (you’re not a T-Mobile G1 owner): apparently since the T-Mobile’s G1 internal flash memory is so puny, any OS updates after Cupcake (1.5) simply won’t fit. That means besides for some possible security updates, little fixes here and there, the T-Mobile G1 is a wrap as far as new software from an operating system perspective is concerned.
What’s even more interesting is how Google-branded HTC devices differ in memory compared to straight HTC Android smartphones. Besides any licensing restrictions as far as the Google name is concerned, the reason why HTC’s Sense UI won’t be coming to Google devices is that the built in RAM is much lower than HTC phones. Anyone willing to bet that the HTC Dream will be upgradable beyond Android 1.5 and Google devices again get the short end of the stick?
Just a theory, though…
Not to be overshadowed by Chrome OS, Android is still moving strong and has plenty of updates coming in the future. Google and T-Mobile held a media event on June 10th and Andy Rubin, vice president of engineering at Google, clarified Chrome OS is not a replacement for Android — duh. Future updates are still full steam ahead and will include more support for social networking along with different application payment methods besides Google Checkout. T-Mobile will allow payment to be directed to the user’s monthly bill, just like ringtones, wallpapers and themes (if anyone actually still buys that stuff through carrier mediums). The updates are also going to carry some sweet, cavity-inducing, diabetes-spiking names that all started with “Cupcake”. Ahead we’ll find “Donut”, “Eclair” and the slightly more exotic “Flan”. Will Google continue to class things up and issue “Tiramisu” and “Creme Brulee” down the road or will it take things down a notch with “Deep Fried Snickers Bar”? Of course no one really cares as long as those updates keep coming.
Oh no they didn’t. We hope T-Mobile locations around the US are currently in the process of riot-proofing their facilities — you read that title right folks, no Android update in May. Ok, so we’re exaggerating a teeny tiny bit… After all, the update roll out has only been pushed back by a week. At the same time, G1 users have been dying to get their hands on an official release of Android 1.5 for what seems like a decade by now. Well Android fans, while you continue to wait for T-Mobile to get the 1.5 OTA update out the door, why not sit back and enjoy some hot Donut action. We hear it should be rolled out to American G1 handsets by 2013.
We’ve been teased and we’ve waited and waited for this, and now it’s finally here. After several false alarms, it looks like the big update to Android is officially coming our way. We knew it was coming sooner than later when it became available for dev phones a few weeks back. Late last month, some lucky users had the OS upgrade pushed to their devices, but now it will be available for everyone. During the week of May 11th T-Mobile will start rolling out Android 1.5 via an over-the-air update. Not everyone will receive it right away as the rollout will be done in phases, but everyone should have his or her handsets upgraded by the end of May. This took long enough, right? Larger images after the break.
All through the night we received reports from ecstatic T-Mobile G1 users who have been letting us know the Android “cupcake” 1.5 update has been pushed out by T-Mobile. We checked ourselves and this is indeed the case but as some kind readers pointed out to us, customized ROMs can completely thwart a G1’s ability to receive the update notification. It’s not a hard fix to remove those cooked ROMs, so if you want to get your official cupcake on you know what to do. Oh, and let us know how it goes.
Thanks to everyone who sent this in!
Owners of the Android dev phone can now head over to HTC’s website and update their G1 to the official 1.5 version of Android. This early release for dev phones will provide developers with a few weeks of on-device testing of their software before the highly anticipated update is rolled out to the general public in May. All tools, instructions and necessary radio, system and recovery images are available directly from HTC via the read link below. Dev phone owners out there who take the plunge and update their handset, hit us up in the comments with your first impressions of this latest Android offering. As for the rest of you, don’t worry — the wait is almost over.
The overview page for the G1 on T-Mobile Germany’s website promises a software update in May. With new features such as an on-screen keyboard, video recording/playback and A2DP support, this is none other than the cupcake update that G1 users have been anxiously awaiting since late last year. No mention of a similar update on T-Mobile’s USA website but if Germany is getting it in May, then the US should expect to see cupcake hit phones around the same time. Almost time to tossed out that hacked OS and get official!
[Via Talk Android]
Today is apparently your day, Android fans. First we broke word of Cupcake’s less-than-official availability and now some possible info regarding a trio of new Android handsets is trickling in. Citing “a credible source”, a sister site to the reliable Phone Arena blog reports that Samsung has plans to introduce three Android handsets in the European market this year. It is still not yet confirmed whether one of them will be the S8000 pictured above as recent rumors suggest, but word is the first one — which we already have some details on — will be released as early as June. Considering Samsung’s love of full touchscreens, we would imagine at least one if not all of the handsets it has planned will sport the popular form factor. This also means Samsung will need Android 1.5 to get official before it can even think about shipping anything — if it wants users to have access to a virtual keyboard, that is — so June sounds pretty reasonable to us. As far as which if any of these handsets might make it to the US and when, we’re afraid we’ll all have to wait a bit longer for those details to emerge.
Just because it's open source doesn't mean it's open; Google blocks Cupcake users from Android Market
Seeing as Google built the Android platform with the concept of “open” at the forefront of its collective mind, we find the following a bit contrary. It appears as though G1 owners who have taken advantage of haykuro’s handywork and installed the ported version of Android OS 1.5 have now been locked out of the Android Market. In other words, no apps for you. Initially, Google’s app store was working fine for the savvy few who had grown tired of waiting for Google to finally issue the update Android users have been waiting for since last year. As more people caught on and began installing the cooked up Cupcake build, it looks like the Android team has decided to cut off Market access in an attempt to deter people from getting their Cupcake on. Here’s the theory, as stated by xda-developers forum member AndroidAutobot:
Someone said somethin about a Magic being detected in the states and someone having a negative reaction to that being that it hasn’t officially been released in the states. May be some measure Google is taking to prevent Magic use in the states prior to its official release (on the assumption that G builds are somehow registering as Magics w/ the Market). this seems like the most logical theory to me at this point. Which means we’ll all eventually be able to use the G builds again… once the magic has been released in the states if this theory is correct.
Though nothing has been confirmed at this point, it certainly makes sense. The discussion goes on but if you’re a fan of the Android Market is looks like you’ve got a choice to make before upgrading with haykuro’s Cupcake: sit tight for a while longer while Google finishes up development on 1.5 and finally pushes it out, or forgo Android Market access and start enjoying stereo Bluetooth, virtual keyboards, an improved browser and plenty more.
UPDATE: A clarification from the tipster posted in the comments section below (looks like you can still have your Cupcake and eat it, too — for the time being):
I want to clarify that this is currently only affecting one of the two haykuro cupcake builds. The “G” aka “google-sourced” line. There is a second “H” aka “HTC-sourced” line that is currently unaffected by this Market change. So if you get the “H” build, you’ll still have market access. For Now.