Apr, 30 2009

A few days ago Android 1.5(Cupcake) was released for Developer Phones. I was able to download and install to my G1 using the release I scored from here. Since then I’ve had my frustrations and I’ve had my fun.

The setup: One bronze G1, rooted, using JF v1.42. The aforementioned files from HTC. And some patience.

After installing the files, I headed for the initial boot up. It took about three minutes to get past the initial “G1” screen. After that I was treated to my first surprise: A new loading screen:

boot

Gone are the days of the radioactive Android greeting us every time we load. This screen took about five minutes to get past. Yes, it took a lot out of me not to pull the battery and try again. But, patience is truly a virtue and eventually I was overjoyed when she finally finished loading. Now boots only take roughly 30 seconds.

The first thing I checked was my notifications bar. Everything seemed standard, except they threw in some texture to add a little warmth to my screen. Kudos.

notifications

Afterwards, I set my phone down and she went auto-locked on me. I went to wake her up and was greeted with another visual stimulus, a transparent lock screen, with my background ever so subtly showing in the background:

transparentlock

It clicked into my head that the one thing people are all up in arms over is a soft keyboard. So I went on a hunt to find it. I didn’t have to look far, as the Google Search Widget just so happened to show up right when I wanted it to.

softkeyboard

It was pretty much what I had expected it to be. Almost identical to the ones found in Steel, or ChompSMS. This is when I hit my first snag. As far as I could tell, auto rotate had been disabled completely when I did the update and DroidSans would not work on this release. I lived with it for a few hours before I decided to go hunting. Menu > Settings > Sound & Display > Orientation. Finally, auto rotate is included. However, either by design or by negligence auto rotate doesn’t seem to want to work on the home screen, works just fantastic everywhere else.

3rd Party Applications:

I was expecting hiccups when I ran my first few Market applications just because I knew most developers hadn’t had enough time to make the necessary adjustment for Y2Cupcake.

Steel is pretty much useless right now. The address bar is whacked out of its gourd, and after a few seconds of displaying a page it dims out for no real reason. No worries as the default browser seems to have had a lot of improvements in terms of speed since I last used it.

ChompSMS is slow to display the thread list, and crashes completely when I try to open a thread up.

Open Home works as advertised, but when I hit the home key it force closes and has to reload, slowing the phone down.

Toggle Settings again, works as advertised, but hitting the home key causes the application to force close.

Author’s Note: I am fully aware that developers have not had enough time to update their applications for full 1.5 compatibility, I am just writing down my observations from what I have experienced so far. The people who have and will contribute to the Android community are the ones who are going to ensure Android succeeds in the mobile world.

Reception:

Now this may be total coincidence, or an actual improvement to the radio. Every now and then I am stuck at a desk for a few hours (i.e. school). Now before the update I had no reception what-so-ever, so I was forced to pay attention to the professor. Now after the update, I have 50% reception to the Edge network, and ~75% reception on the schools wireless network. This was a happy day, I didn’t learn squat! Again, this may be a total coincidence and I’m not going to count my chickens before they’ve hatched.

Bluetooth:

I was able to test A2DP(stereo bluetooth), and AVRCP using a SoundBlade we have laying around at work. She seems to be working as advertised, I was able to connect and control the music playing from the speaker. Now if we can get file transfer up and running, Android will be the full Bluetooth package.

Video Recorder/Camera:

Very smooth recording videos, just what the phone needed. Camera seems to have had some real speed improvements; it seems to only take a few moments to snap the picture, versus a few seconds.

All in all, this update has really lived up to its expectations, and I’m truly stoked to see what the community is going to do to build on this already great OS.

[Update]

The image from HTC isn’t rooted.  Thanks to Devolio, I played around with it and found the old school method of rooting will work.  ADB into the phone and run:

mount -o remount,rw -t yaffs2 /dev/block/mtdblock3 /system
cd /system/bin
cat sh > su
chmod 4755 su

Reboot.

local_offer    Cupcake