A few days ago we reported that while the G1 will likely continue to get minor updates and bug fixes, the evolutionary updates (Cupcake => Donut => Eclair) might be over. Noting a tweet from a Google Engineer himself, things certainly didn’t look good. The cause for worrying has been blown out of proportion and greatly exaggerated according to a tweet from a different Android engineer, Dan Morrill.
Great news! Although the word “demise” could be analyzed many different ways. Demise would mean the phone is dead in the water and ceases to do what it should. Obviously that ain’t happenin, especially since Android Market inherently means the phone’s capabilities continue to grow.
Here is what I think: regardless of whether or not future versions of the Android Development branch are added to the G1 and downloaded via OTA updates, Google will continue to maintain development branches BEYOND the most current device. They could be patches and bug fixes or maybe even new features and inclusions.
We all obsess over what phone is BEST packing the HIGHEST specs at a price that is obtainable if not affordable. But Android wasn’t only meant for the ultra-high-end handset that all of us crave. It was also meant to take consumers from the low to mid-range handset and give them smartphone features. So, I think that the idea here is that whether or not future phones have higher powered builds of Android is beyond the point – the G1 will continue to be maintained and groomed as OTHER Android devices, perhaps with even lowlier specs, will be launched in the future.
You’re probably reading this thinking, “Yeah, but I have a G1 and I want Donut.” Morrill’s tweet does little to reassure us that the G1 will get Donut, but G1 owners might not be out of luck just yet. The main cause of concern is that with the Cupcake update, the G1’s internal memory is filled to the brim, leaving little room for OS upgrades that would pack on any measurable features. Cyanogen, Android hacker extroaridnaire, believes that barrier can be easily knocked down:
I recently spoke with Steve Kondik (aka Cyanogen) who has released his own customized builds of Android. He told me that Donut builds were a few megabytes larger when compared with Cupcake, but new compression methods were able to shrink the total install up to 10 percent. “I don’t think that Donut is going to have any problems fitting on the G,” he said “To make it smaller, I use a tool called optipng which analyzes PNG images and finds the optimal compression for them. Apps can be significantly reduced in size by using this tool and applying better compression to the package itself.”
The “I” in the above quote is from Taylor Wimberly who posted his findings in a CNET article. In addition to this hopeful account, it seems that “Donut” might officially be Android 1.6 when all is said and done. That is, if Wimberly’s analysis about the appearance of the OS in mobile analytics is accurate:
So there you have it:
- The G1 isn’t dead
- The G1 will continue to get necessary updates at worst, and could likely get larger scale feature updates as well
- Donut could still come to the G1
- Donut might = 1.6 (Not 2.0, we love you Tyler)
Alright G1 owners… sound off!