A one-stop guide for the T-Mobile G1 phone running Google’s Android mobile operating system. Android is an open-source project designed specifically to make it easy for developers, both professional and amateur, to create applications that access every part of the phone’s hardware.

Interim Update (starting February 5)

From Android Talk (February 3):

“To ensure a great experience with the T-Mobile G1 with Google, customers with these devices will receive an Over the Air (OTA) update 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 several known issues. New G1 activations will receive the OTA up to three days after service has been activated.”

Mobile Apps

This Update seems to be pretty much as listed above, adding the ability to save pictures and files with a long press, fixing a few minor bugs (none of which I’ve personally experienced, but which have been bothering other people), and adding Voice Search (which is pretty cool). It’s come to many customers in the US, but there’s not much more information about it, probably because it’s rather basic. There seems to be some concern about Voice Search becoming available in the UK – apparently, it has a problem with our accent! This may delay or alter the UK release.

If you don’t want to wait for the push from T-Mobile, a trick allows you to force the G1 to check for updates, courtesy of a poster on the Android Talk forums. You’ll need Any cut installed from the Market. Now, long-press in a blank space on your screen, and choose Shortcut/Any cut/Activity/Device info. When you tap this shortcut, it’ll take you to a screen with a range of interesting system information. Scroll to the bottom, and there’s a button to check for updates. If you click it and it just says “CHECKIN_SUCCESS,” there’s no update yet.

Coming Update – Cupcake

A major update, or series of updates, is coming in the first quarter of 2009 for the G1 and other Android phones. It comes from the development branch Cupcake and will include several fixes and improvements and add many features to your phone. It should download straight to your G1 over the air and update easily.

The official Google position is still ready when it’s ready but is targeted for the first quarter of 2009. We know a very early version was released to application developers around January 16. T-Mobile has noted the flood of emails and calls about the issue and is trying to push this forward as fast as possible from their end.

Some predicted features for this Update are:

* Option to save pictures and attachments from text messages
* Ability to copy and paste text in the browser
* Search-within-text for the browser
* Improved video support – video recording, better playback, and thumbnails
* Stereo Bluetooth support
* Onscreen keyboard, so you can type on the screen rather than having to slide the keyboard open
* A reduction in battery drain, mainly through more efficient use of processing power.
* Latitude, a geo-aware contact system

The soft keyboard is one of the most eagerly-awaited features of Cupcake – the ability to enter text via an onscreen keyboard without opening the slide on the G1. A third-party application now provides this feature – dotphone.org’s Softkeyboard, which is available in the Market. In my second article on Applications, I’ll give more details and some information on how to use it (the functionality isn’t immediately obvious).

Features: What works, what doesn’t, and how to fix it


Bluetooth headsets seem to work fine, but the device doesn’t yet support stereo over Bluetooth so that any audio playback will be mono sound only. This will be fixed with the Cupcake update. The wired headset that comes with the G1 gives good sound quality. Still, the limitation of the phone is that it doesn’t have a regular headphone/earphone socket, so for wired accessories, you have to buy those specifically designed to be compatible with the phone.

However, the G1 now ships with an adaptor that allows you to plug in a regular 3.5mm headset in the US. This is not yet the case in the UK, but T-Mobile has told me that if they receive enough feedback, they cwill change this policy well and even ship out adaptors to existing customers. If you are a UK G1 customer, go to

T-Mobile’s Contact Us page, scroll down to “send us an email,” and fill in the form to let T-Mobile know their customers want this accessory! I got a response from my state telling me that T-Mobile has no plans to make this change in the UK. That means they haven’t had enough complaint emails/calls to make this an issue – let’s get on this, people!