The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the G1 Google Phone and Android – Part 1

A one-cease information for the T-Mobile G1 cellphone, operating Google’s Android cellular working system. Android is an open supply venture, designed particularly to make it simple for builders each skilled and novice to create their very own functions which entry each a part of the cellphone’s {hardware}.

Interim Update (beginning fifth of February)

From Android Talk (third of February):

“To ensure a great experience with the T-Mobile G1 with Google, customers with these devices will receive an Over the Air (OTA) update to their devices between February 5 and February 15. This OTA will include new system enhancements such as the ability to save pictures or files to file by long-pressing an item, check for system updates, and use the Google Voice Search feature. The OTA will also fix a number of known issues. New G1 activations will receive the OTA up to three days after service has been activated.”

This replace appears to be just about as listed above, including the capacity to save footage and information with an extended press, fixing a couple of minor bugs (none of which I’ve personally skilled, however which have been bothering different individuals) and including Voice Search (which is outwardly fairly cool). It’s come to a bunch of shoppers in the US however there’s not rather more when it comes to details about it, in all probability as a result of it is fairly fundamental. There appears to be some concern about Voice Search changing into accessible in the UK – apparently it has an issue with our accent! This might delay or alter the UK launch.

If you don’t need to await the push from T-Mobile, there is a trick to enable you to drive the G1 to test for updates, courtesy of a poster on the Android Talk boards. You’ll want Anycut put in from the Market. Now lengthy-press in a clean area in your display, and select Shortcut/Anycut/Activity/Device data. When you faucet this shortcut, it will take you to a display with a spread of attention-grabbing system info. Scroll all the means to the backside, and there is a button to test for updates. If you click on it and it simply says “CHECKIN_SUCCESS”, there isn’t any replace but.

Coming Update – Cupcake

There is a serious replace, or collection of updates, coming in the first quarter of 2009 for the G1 and different Android telephones. It comes from the growth department known as Cupcake, and will embody quite a few fixes and enhancements and add a number of options to your cellphone. It ought to obtain straight to your G1 over the air and replace simply.

The official Google place remains to be that it is prepared when it is prepared, however is focused for the first quarter of 2009. We do know {that a} very early model was launched to software builders round the 16th of January, and that T-Mobile have taken notice of the flood of emails and calls about the problem and are attempting to push this ahead as quick as doable from their finish.

Some predicted options for this replace are:

* Option to save footage and attachments from textual content messages

* Ability to copy and paste textual content in the browser

* Search-within-textual content for the browser

* Improved video help – video recording, higher playback and thumbnails

* Stereo bluetooth help

* Onscreen keyboard, so you’ll be able to kind on the display fairly than having to slide the keyboard open

* A discount in battery drain, primarily via extra environment friendly use of processing energy.

* Latitude, a geo-conscious contact system

The delicate keyboard is one in all the most eagerly-awaited options of Cupcake – the capacity to enter textual content by way of an onscreen keyboard, with out having to open the slide on the G1. This characteristic is now supplied by a 3rd get together software –’s Softkeyboard, accessible in the Market now. I’ll give extra particulars and some info how to use it (the performance is not instantly apparent) in my second article on Applications.

Features: What works, what does not, and how to repair it


Bluetooth headsets appear to work superb on the entire, however the system does not but help stereo over bluetooth, so any audio playback will likely be mono sound solely. This will likely be fastened with the Cupcake replace.

The wired headset that comes with the G1 offers good sound high quality, however the limitation of the cellphone is that it does not have a daily headphone/earphone socket, so for wired equipment you’ve got to purchase these which can be particularly designed to be appropriate with the cellphone.

However, in the US the G1 now ships with an adaptor which permits you to plug in a daily 3.5mm headset. This just isn’t but the case in the UK, however T-Mobile have advised me that in the event that they obtain sufficient suggestions they make properly change this coverage and even ship out adaptors to present clients. If you’re a UK G1 buyer, go to T-Mobile’s Contact Us web page, scroll down to “send us an email” and fill in the type to let T-Mobile know their clients need this accent!

I bought a response to my very own type, telling me that T-Mobile haven’t any plans to make this variation in the UK. That principally means they have not had sufficient criticism emails/calls to make this a problem – let’s get on this, individuals!

File Transfer

As but, disappointingly, Android does not help file switch between the cellphone and your laptop by Bluetooth. This ought to be added with the Cupcake replace in mid-January. Because this characteristic is definitely lacking from the underlying construction of the working system, it is nearly unimaginable for someone else to add it (via a downloaded software for instance) till the replace.

File switch over the USB cable works superb, though the technique has modified from the Quick Start information that comes with the cellphone, which has confused some individuals (me included). When you plug the USB cable in, a immediate will come up on the G1’s notifications space (the pulldown at the high of the display), saying “USB Connected – select to copy files to/from your computer”. Tap the message, and when the subsequent field pops up on display choose “Mount”. After that, your laptop will see the G1’s SD card as an exterior drive, identical to a Flash drive.

Everything the cellphone has saved in your SD card is organised fairly clearly, and your digital photographs are beneath the folder known as “dcim”. You can copy your music, photographs and many others. into any folder and the G1’s software program ought to discover them.

Synchronizing With Your Applications

The G1 is designed to synchronize seamlessly and repeatedly with Google’s personal options for calendar, contacts, e-mail and many others. Therefore there are unlikely to be direct options from Google to sync your G1 along with your Windows, Linux or Mac desktop over Bluetooth or a cable.

However, there are a selection of how to sync Google’s on-line companies along with your desktop, giving a two-stage answer. I’m not going to go into them right here as a result of I really feel they’re outdoors the scope of this text, however they’re properly documented on Google’s personal assist pages and on the net.

Using Your G1 As a Modem (“Tethering”)

Hooking up your G1 to a laptop computer or desktop laptop, so the machine can entry the cellphone’s web connection: Again, this is not but straight supported by the working system. However, there’s a workaround which can allow you to do it, so long as you do not thoughts tweaking a couple of settings. “Tetherbot” by Graham – a information to tethering your G1 as a USB modem. Note: The simplest way to level Firefox to the proxy is to set up the Foxyproxy plugin.

It’s nonetheless experimental and difficult, however now it has been proved doable, somebody will little question make a friendlier easy-to-use answer very quickly. When there’s one, I’ll submit it right here instantly.

June Fabrics are in the early phases of creating a tethering answer for Android telephones, and an Android model of WMWifiRouter can also be in growth. Both will likely be business (however reasonably priced) options to the drawback, and (in the event that they work like each firms’ earlier releases) will successfully flip your G1 right into a wifi hotspot while not having another software program put in, making them appropriate with any desktop working system.

Audio Playback and Recording

At the second Android can play audio in the following codecs: AAC, AAC, AMR-NB, MIDI, MP3, Ogg, WMA and WMV. Playback is fairly good and secure in my expertise. See my subsequent submit on functions for extra info. Other codecs could also be added with future working system updates, or new functions might broaden that record.

The G1 can file audio, and a couple of functions already use the performance.

Video Playback and Recording, and Flash

Right now the Android solely helps video in MP4 format and from YouTube (not via the browser however via devoted packages, which are literally grabbing MP4 variations of the YouTube movies), and it has to be in fairly a restricted format. You can use any video converter appropriate with the iPod Touch or iPhone to make movies which can play in Android – Videora is excellent.

Other video codecs will in all probability have to await an working system replace, though somebody might determine a means to add codecs with an software. Flash help is claimed to be coming very shortly, with Adobe promising that they’re working carefully with the Android staff. We may even have Flash in January. When it comes out, I’ll let you recognize!

Although Android does not but formally help video recording, a 3rd get together software does now present this characteristic. This is strictly why an open supply cellphone is an thrilling proposition – the potential for unofficial third get together tasks to fill the gaps in the accessible capabilities!’s Video Recorder/Video Camera, now accessible from the market, supplies recording of video to the SD card and playback with some effectivity. It’s nonetheless in beta and a bit flaky, however works fairly properly for me – though it’ll drain the battery in minutes.

The Battery

The huge failing of the G1 is battery life. Between the huge display, a number of wi-fi connections and heavy processor use from the continually operating background functions, the put in 1150mAh battery does not final lengthy.

Current phrase from T-Mobile is that they haven’t any plans to launch an improved battery for the G1 in the UK. Some G1 customers in the US have been shipped alternative batteries – an inside memo has apparently instructed their helpline advisors to accomplish that in response to complaints – which enhance battery life by 22% with out growing the dimension of the cellphone.

If you’re a UK G1 proprietor, I like to recommend going to T-Mobile’s Contact Us web page, scrolling down to “send us an email” and filling in the type to let T-Mobile know their clients need this service. With sufficient customers pitching in, we will demand a greater system for our cash.

Managing your wi-fi options may help. The Power Manager software from the Market permits you to management bluetooth, wifi, GPS and cell location in a single display, and flip from 3G to 2G, all of which prolong the cost on the battery.

The huge drain is the 3G – the G1 wastes a number of energy searchingfor a 3G connection when one is not accessible (hopefully this will likely be improved with the Cupcake launch). I’d counsel turning it off if you’re not truly shopping/downloading – your e-mail and many others. will nonetheless sync simply superb, and in case you get notified that, for instance, a podcast is downloading in Podweasel, you’ll be able to flip it on. This added nearly 50% to my battery life instantly.

Many customers may also enhance issues by calibrating the G1’s Lithium Ion battery. It seems that Li Ion batteries have inside electronics that preserve monitor of their cost stage, however typically want calibrating, and the G1’s battery typically does not ship prepared-calibrated.

To calibrate your battery, let the G1 run all the means down, previous the warning messages about low battery cost, till it turns itself off. You may have to flip it on once more a few instances – preserve going till it will not energy up in any respect. Then recharge to full and go away on cost for at the very least a pair extra hours. You ought to discover a important enchancment in battery life. This may have repeating each month or two, however do not do it too typically as absolutely biking the battery causes further put on (principally due to warmth).

The Camera

The G1 is fitted with a 3.2 megapixel autofocus digicam, though sadly it does not have a flash. The onboard digicam software is at present fairly restricted, though it’s predicted to enhance with the Cupcake replace. A significantly better digicam app is SnapPhoto, accessible from the Android Market – see my subsequent article on functions for extra info.

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