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

A one-prevent manual for the Great Intelligence T-Mobile G1 cellphone, jogging Google’s Android cellular working device. Android is an open-supply assignment, designed especially to make it clean for developers, both expert, and newbie, to create their own programs that get the right of entry to every part of the smartphone’s hardware.

Interim Update (beginning fifth of February)

From Android Talk (third of February):


“To make sure a wonderful revel in with the T-Mobile G1 with Google, customers with those devices will get hold of an Over the Air (OTA) update to their gadgets between February 5 and February 15. This OTA will encompass new machine enhancements, including the capability to save pictures or files from documenting by lengthy-pressing an object, check for gadget updates, and use the Google Voice Search characteristic. The OTA may even restore several known problems. New G1 activations will receive the OTA up to three days after provider has been activated.”

This update seems to be quite a good deal as listed above, adding the potential to keep pics and files with a long press, fixing some minor insects (none of which I’ve personally skilled, however, that have been bothering different people), and including Voice Search (which is seemingly quite cool). It’s come to a group of clients inside the US, but there is no longer a whole lot more in phrases of records about it, likely because it’s alternatively basic. There seem to be a few situations approximately Voice Search turning into to be had within the UK – reputedly, it has a hassle with our accessory! This can also delay or alter the United Kingdom release.

If you do not need to look ahead to the frenzy from T-Mobile, there may be a trick to allow you to pressure the G1 to test for updates, courtesy of a poster at the Android Talk boards. You’ll need Any cut mounted from the Market. Now lengthy-press in a clean space to your screen, and pick out Shortcut/Any cut/Activity/Device info. When you tap this shortcut, it’s going to take you to a display screen with a range of interesting machine records. Scroll all of the ways to the bottom, and there is a button to check for updates. If you click on it and it just says “CHECKIN_SUCCESS,” there may be no replacement yet.


Coming Update – Cupcake

There is a primary replacement, or series of updates, coming in the first region of 2009 for the G1 and other Android telephones. It comes from the improvement branch referred to as Cupcake and will consist of some fixes and improvements and upload many capabilities for your telephone. It must download immediately on your G1 over the air and replace effortlessly.

The reliable Google function is still geared up whilst it is ready but is centered for the first region of 2009. We recognize that a very early version became released to application builders around the sixteenth of January. T-Mobile has noticed the flood of emails and calls approximately the problem and is seeking to push this ahead as fast as possible from their end.

Some anticipated capabilities for this replacement are:

* Option to store pix and attachments from textual content messages
* Ability to copy and paste the text inside the browser
* Search-inside-text for the browser
* Improved video support – video recording, better playback, and thumbnails
* Stereo Bluetooth aid
* Onscreen keyboard, so you can kind on the display screen as opposed to having to slide the keyboard open
* A reduction in battery drain, mainly thru the greater green use of processing power.
* Latitude, a geo-conscious touch machine

The smooth keyboard is one of Cupcake’s most eagerly-awaited functions – the potential to go into text via an onscreen keyboard while not having to open the slide at the G1. This feature is now provided using a 3rd party application – dotphone.Org’s Softkeyboard, available in the Market now. I’ll give extra details and a few data on using it (the capability isn’t straight away apparent) in my second article on Applications.

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


Bluetooth headsets seem to work exceptionally at the entire. However, the tool does not help stereo over Bluetooth, so that any audio playback may be the most effective mono sound. This might be fixed with the Cupcake update. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the G1 Google Phone and Android – Part 1

The stressed headset that incorporates the G1 gives properly sounds excellent. Still, the hassle of the telephone is that it would not have a regular headphone/earphone socket, so for stressed accessories, you have got to shop for the ones that are specifically designed to be like-minded with the cellphone.

However, inside the US, the G1 now ships with an adaptor that lets you plug in a regular three.5mm headset. This isn’t but the UK case; however, T-Mobile has advised me that if they obtain sufficient comments, they make nicely change this policy and even deliver out adaptors to existing customers. If you’re a UK G1 purchaser, visit T-Mobile’s Contact Us page, scroll down to “send us an electronic mail,” and fill in the form to let T-Mobile recognize their clients want this accessory!

I got a reaction to my very own form, telling me that T-Mobile has no plans to make this alteration within the UK. In that essential manner, they haven’t had sufficient criticism emails/calls to make this a difficulty – permits get on this, human beings!

File Transfer

As but, disappointingly, Android would not aid record transfer between the telephone and your computer with the aid of Bluetooth. This needs to be brought with the Cupcake replacement in mid-January. Because this selection is truly lacking from the operating system’s underlying structure, it’s nearly impossible for any person else to add it (via downloaded software, for instance) until the update.

File transfer over the USB cable works first-rate, even though the method has changed from the Quick Start Guide that comes with the cell phone, which has confused a few human beings (me covered). When you plug the USB cable in, a set-off will come upon the G1’s notifications region (the close on the top of the display screen), pronouncing “USB Connected – pick out to copy documents to/out of your pc.” Tap the message, and when the next container pops up on the screen, pick out “Mount.” After that, your pc will see the G1’s SD card as an outside force, much like a Flash power.

Everything the phone has stored on your SD card is organized pretty virtually, and your digital photos are below the folder known as “dim.” You can reproduction your track, pics, etc. Into any folder and the G1’s software have to discover them.

Synchronizing With Your Applications

The G1 is designed to synchronize seamlessly and constantly with Google’s very own solutions for the calendar, contacts, email, and so on. Therefore there are not likely to be direct answers from Google to sync your G1 together with your Windows, Linux, or Mac laptop over Bluetooth or a cable.

However, there are several approaches to sync Google’s online offerings with your laptop, giving-stage answers. I’m no longer going to enter them here because I sense they are outdoor the scope of this newsletter, but they may be nicely documented on Google’s personal help pages and the web.

Using Your G1 As a Modem (“Tethering”)

Hooking up your G1 to a pc or computer laptop so that the machine can get entry to the telephone’s net connection: Again, this is not yet directly supported by using the operating device. However, there may be a workaround to help you do it, so long as you do not thoughts tweaking a few settings. “Tetherbot” with the aid of Graham – a manual to tethering your G1 as a USB modem. Note: The easiest manner to factor Firefox to the proxy is to put in the Foxyproxy plugin.

It’s nevertheless experimental and problematic; however, now it is proved feasible, a person will no question make a friendlier smooth-to-use solution very soon. When there’s one, I’ll submit it here proper away.

June Fabrics are in the early levels of growing a tethering solution for Android phones, and an Android model of WMWifiRouter is likewise in improvement. Both can be industrial (but less costly) solutions to the trouble, and (if they work like both groups’ previous releases) will efficaciously flip your G1 right into a wifi hotspot without needing some other software program set up, making them like-minded with any laptop operating device.

Audio Playback and Recording

At the instant, Android can play audio inside the following formats: AAC, AAC, AMR-NB, MIDI, MP3, Ogg, WMA, and WMV. Playback is quite properly and strong in my revel in. See my subsequent submit on programs for extra facts. Other formats may be brought with destiny working gadget updates, or new applications may expand that list.

The G1 can record audio, and some applications already use the capability.

Video Playback and Recording, and Flash

Right now, the Android simplest helps video in MP4 format and from YouTube (not via the browser, however, thru dedicated programs that are absolutely grabbing MP4 versions of the YouTube motion pictures), and it must be in pretty a limited layout. You can use any video converter well suited with the iPod Touch or iPhone to make motion pictures to play in Android – Videora is very good.

Other video codecs will possibly watch for a running machine update, although someone may parent out a way to add formats with software. Flash guide is stated to becoming very rapidly, with Adobe promising that they are operating intently with the Android group. We would possibly actually have Flash in January. When it comes out, I’ll Permit you to understand!

Although Android does not but officially support video recording, third-party software does now offer this feature. This is precisely why an open supply smartphone is an interesting proposition – the capability for unofficial 0.33 party projects to fill the gaps within the to be had capabilities!

Dotphone.Org’s Video Recorder/Video Camera, now to be had from the market, gives a video recording to the SD card and playback with some performance. It’s nonetheless in beta and a little flaky; however, it works quite nicely for me – even though it will drain the battery in mins.

The Battery

The huge failing of the G1 is battery lifestyles. Between the big screen, a couple of wi-fi connections, and heavy processor use from the constantly jogging background programs, the installed 1150mAh battery does not close long.

The current word from T-Mobile is that they have no plans to launch a stepped forward battery for the G1 inside the UK. Some G1 users inside the US have been shipped replacement batteries – an internal memo has seemingly informed their helpline advisors to achieve this in response to proceedings – which growth battery lifestyles through 22% without increasing the phone’s scale.

If you’re a UK G1 owner, I advise going to T-Mobile’s Contact Us web page, scrolling right down to “ship us an email,” and filling within the form to allow T-Mobile to recognize their clients need this service. With enough customers pitching in, we can call for a higher device for our money.

Managing your wireless features can help. The Power Manager software from the Market allows you to manipulate Bluetooth, Wifi, GPS, and cell area on one screen and turn from 3G to 2G, all of which increase the battery’s price.

The big drain is the 3G – the G1 wastes several electricity searching for a 3G connection when one is not to be had (hopefully, this could be progressed with the Cupcake launch). I’d advocate turning it off while you’re now not really browsing/downloading – your electronic mail and so forth. It Will still sync simply quality, and in case you get notified that, as an example, a podcast is downloading in Podweasel, you can turn it on. This delivered almost 50% to my battery life right now.

Many users can also enhance matters with the aid of calibrating the G1’s Lithium-Ion battery. It seems that Li-Ion batteries have inner electronics that hold tune in their price level, but once in a while need calibrating. The G1’s battery frequently doesn’t deliver ready-calibrated.

To calibrate your battery, let the G1 run all the manner down, past the warning messages approximately low battery fee, until it turns itself off. You can also want to show it on again a couple of instances – maintain going until it may not power up at all. Then recharge to complete and leave on the fee for at the least a couple of greater hours. It would help if you discovered a large development in battery lifestyles. However, this may also need repeating every month or do not do it too regularly as absolutely biking the battery reasons greater put on (mostly due to warmness).

John R. Wright
Social media ninja. Freelance web trailblazer. Extreme problem solver. Music fanatic. Spent several months marketing pubic lice in the financial sector. Spent 2002-2008 supervising the production of ice cream in Africa. Had some great experience developing robotic shrimp in the aftermarket. Spent several years getting my feet wet with puppets in Miami, FL. Was quite successful at supervising the production of corncob pipes worldwide. What gets me going now is working with electric trains in Mexico.