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


A one-stop guide for the T-Mobile G1  Graet Report cellphone, going for walks Google’s Android cellular operating device. Android is an open supply mission, designed mainly to make it easy for developers each expert and novice to create their personal programs which get right of entry to each a part of the phone’s hardware.

 

“To ensure a amazing revel in with the T-Mobile G1 with Google, customers with these gadgets will get hold of an Over the Air (OTA) update to their gadgets between February 5 and February 15. This OTA will consist of new system enhancements together with the potential to save pics or files to file through long-pressing an object, take a look at for device updates, and use the Google Voice Search feature. The OTA may even fix some of regarded troubles. New G1 activations will receive the OTA up to 3 days after carrier has been activated.”

This replace appears to be quite lots as indexed above, including the capability to keep images and documents with a protracted press, solving a few minor bugs (none of which I’ve personally experienced, but which have been bothering different human beings) and adding Voice Search (which is apparently pretty cool). It’s come to a bunch of clients in the US but there may be now not a lot greater in phrases of data about it, probably as it’s alternatively simple. There appears to be a few situation about Voice Search turning into available inside the UK – apparently it has a trouble with our accent! This may delay or modify the UK launch. Google Phone

If you do not want to watch for the frenzy from T-Mobile, there is a trick to permit you to pressure the G1 to test for updates, courtesy of a poster at the Android Talk forums. You’ll need Anycut installed from the Market. Now lengthy-press in a clean space in your display, and choose Shortcut/Anycut/Activity/Device data. When you tap this shortcut, it will take you to a display with a number of thrilling system facts. Scroll all of the manner to the lowest, and there may be a button to check for updates. If you click on it and it just says “CHECKIN_SUCCESS”, there’s no replace but.

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Coming Update – Cupcake

There is a first-rate update, or collection of updates, coming in the first sector of 2009 for the G1 and other Android phones. It comes from the development branch known as Cupcake, and could encompass a number of fixes and improvements and upload a variety of features for your phone. It should down load directly to your G1 over the air and update without problems.

The professional Google role continues to be that it’s geared up whilst it’s equipped, however, is focused on the primary region of 2009. We do realize that a completely early version turned into released to application developers around the 16th of January and that T-Mobile has taken the word of the flood of emails and calls about the difficulty and are seeking to push this forward as speedy as feasible from their end.

Some predicted functions for this update are:

* Option to save pix and attachments from text messages
* Ability to duplicate and paste textual content within the browser
* Search-within-text for the browser
* Improved video support – video recording, better playback and thumbnails
* Stereo Bluetooth help
* Onscreen keyboard, so that you can type on the display screen as opposed to having to slide the keyboard open
* A discount in battery drain, mainly thru greater efficient use of processing strength.
* Latitude, a geo-conscious touch machine

The tender keyboard is one of the most eagerly-awaited capabilities of Cupcake – the potential to go into text via an onscreen keyboard, without having to open the slide on the G1. This function is now provided by way of a third celebration software – dotphone.Org’s Softkeyboard, available inside the Market now. I’ll give extra details and a few records a way to use it (the capability isn’t at once obvious) in my 2d article on Applications.

Features: What works, what doesn’t, and the way to repair it

Headsets

Bluetooth headsets appear to paintings best on the whole, but the device does not yet guide stereo over Bluetooth, so any audio playback might be mono sound handiest. This may be constant with the Cupcake update.

The stressed headset that comes with the G1 offers right sound first-rate, but the predicament of the phone is that it does not have an ordinary headphone/earphone socket, so for stressed add-ons, you have to shop for the ones which are specifically designed to be well suited with the phone.

However, in the US the G1 now ships with an adapter which lets you plug in a regular three.5mm headset. This isn’t but the case within the UK, but T-Mobile have told me that if they receive enough feedback they make nicely alternate this policy and even deliver out adaptors to current clients. If you’re a UK G1 customer, visit T-Mobile’s Contact Us page, scroll down to “send us an email” and fill within the form to permit T-Mobile understand their clients want this accent!

I was given a reaction to my personal shape, telling me that T-Mobile has no plans to make this modification in the UK. That basically approach they haven’t had sufficient grievance emails/calls to make this a problem – permit’s get on this, human beings!

File Transfer

As yet, disappointingly, Android doesn’t guide report transfer among the cellphone and your computer by Bluetooth. This has to be added with the Cupcake update in mid-January. Because this selection is honestly missing from the underlying structure of the working gadget, it is almost impossible for any person else to feature it (via a downloaded application for example) until the update.

File transfer over the USB cable works satisfactory, even though the technique has changed from the Quick Start manual that includes the phone, which has confused some people (me covered). When you plug the USB cable in, a prompt will arise at the G1’s notifications place (the pulldown on the top of the screen), saying “USB Connected – choose to duplicate files to/from your computer”. Tap the message, and when the subsequent field pops up on display select “Mount”. After that, your laptop will see the G1’s SD card as an outside pressure, similar to a Flash power.

Everything the cellphone has stored in your SD card is organized pretty absolutely, and your virtual pictures are underneath the folder called “dim”. You can reproduction your tune, snap shots and many others. Into any folder and the G1’s software should find them.android

Synchronizing With Your Applications

The G1 is designed to synchronize seamlessly and constantly with Google’s personal answers for the calendar, contacts, e mail, and many others. Therefore there are not going to be direct solutions from Google to sync your G1 together with your Windows, Linux or Mac laptop over Bluetooth or a cable.

However, there are some of the ways to sync Google’s on line services with your laptop, giving a -degree solution. I’m no longer going to enter them here due to the fact I sense they’re out of doors the scope of this text, but they’re properly documented on Google’s own help pages and on the web.

Using Your G1 As a Modem (“Tethering”)

Hooking up your G1 to a PC or computing device PC, so the system can get right of entry to the smartphone’s internet connection: Again, this is not but at once supported via the running machine. However, there is a workaround in an effort to allow you to do it, as long as you do not mind tweaking some settings. “Tetherbot” through Graham – a guide to tethering your G1 as a USB modem. Note: The simplest way to point Firefox to the proxy is to put in the Foxyproxy plugin.

It’s nevertheless experimental and complex, but now it is been proved viable, someone will absolute confidence make a friendlier smooth-to-use solution very quickly. When there may be one, I’ll put up it here proper away.

June Fabrics are in the early stages of growing a tethering solution for Android telephones, and an Android model of WMWifiRouter is also in improvement. Both can be industrial (however inexpensive) solutions to the trouble, and (in the event that they work like each companies’ preceding releases) will effectively turn your G1 right into a wifi hotspot with no need another software program set up, making them like minded with any computing device running system.

Audio Playback and Recording

At the moment Android can play audio within the following codecs: AAC, AAC, AMR-NB, MIDI, MP3, Ogg, WMA, and WMV. Playback is pretty properly and stable in my revel in. See my next put up on packages for greater information. Other codecs can be introduced with destiny operating system updates, or new applications may expand that list.

The G1 can record audio, and a few packages already use the functionality.

Video Playback and Recording, and Flash

Right now the Android only supports video in MP4 format and from YouTube (no longer via the browser but through devoted programs, which are honestly grabbing MP4 versions of the YouTube films), and it has to be in pretty a restricted format. You can use any video converter compatible with the iPod Touch or iPhone to make videos that allow you to play in Android – Videora is very good.

Other video formats will probable must look ahead to a running machine replace, despite the fact that a person might also figure out a way to add codecs with a software. Flash support is said to be coming very quickly, with Adobe promising that they’re operating carefully with the Android team. We would possibly even have Flash in January. When it comes out, I’ll allow you to recognize!

Although Android would not but officially assist video recording, a 3rd party software does now offer this feature. This is precisely why an open source telephone is an exciting proposition – the capability for unofficial 0.33 birthday party tasks to fill the gaps within the to be had functions!

Dotphone.Org’s Video Recorder/Video Camera, now to be had from the marketplace, provides a recording of video to the SD card and playback with a few performance. It’s nonetheless in beta and a touch flaky but works pretty nicely for me – although it will drain the battery in minutes.

The Battery

The big failing of the G1 is battery existence. Between the massive display, multiple wireless connections and heavy processor use from the continuously going for walks heritage applications, the set up 1150mAh battery would not ultimate long.

A current phrase from T-Mobile is that they’ve no plans to launch a stepped forward battery for the G1 in the UK. Some G1 users within the US were shipped substitute batteries – an internal memo has reputedly instructed their helpline advisors to accomplish that in reaction to lawsuits – which boom battery existence by 22% with out increasing the scale of the telephone.

If you are a UK G1 owner, I advise going to T-Mobile’s Contact Us page, scrolling down to “ship us an e-mail” and filling within the shape to allow T-Mobile understand their clients need this service. With enough customers pitching in, we are able to call for a better device for our money.

Managing your wi-fi functions can assist. The Power Manager application from the Market permits you to control Bluetooth, wifi, GPS and the mobile area in a single display, and flip from 3G to 2G, all of which extend the charge at the battery.

The large drain is the 3G – the G1 wastes a whole lot of energy searching for a 3G connection whilst one isn’t available (optimistically this could be improved with the Cupcake release). I’d propose turning it off when you’re no longer truly browsing/downloading – your electronic mail and so on. Will nonetheless sync just fine, and if you get notified that, for example, a podcast is downloading in Podweasel, you may turn it on. This added almost 50% to my battery life immediately.

Many users also can improve things by using calibrating the G1’s Lithium Ion battery. It seems that Li-Ion batteries have inner electronics that maintain song in their charge stage, but from time to time want to calibrate, and the G1’s battery frequently does not deliver ready-calibrated.

To calibrate your battery, let the G1 run all the way down, beyond the caution messages about low battery fee, until it turns itself off. You can also want to show it on once more a couple of times – preserve going till it might not energy up in any respect. Then recharge to full and depart on charge for at least a pair more hours. You have to find a massive improvement in battery life. This may want repeating every month or , however don’t do it too regularly as absolutely cycling the battery reasons greater wear (in the main due to heat).

The Camera

The G1 is geared up with a 3.2-megapixel autofocus digital camera, although sadly it doesn’t have a flash. The onboard digital camera software is presently quite constrained, even though it is expected to improve with the Cupcake update. A whole lot better digicam app is SnapPhoto, to be had from the Android Market – see my subsequent article on packages for more statistics.

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