G1 Might Get Donut Afterall

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.

g1-tweet

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:

android16

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!

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  • Kabuto

    I’m still waiting for the “G1v2″.

  • http://blog.wingedvictorydesign.com Max

    With it’s extraordinarily committed user base and hacking community, I’m sure the G1 will continue to get the goodies in the future, for those of us that have rooted our handset, in any case.

    I try to explain to people how great it is that I can install any flavor of the operating system I want, depending on what features are important to me, and they just look at me blankly.

  • http://justajason.com Jason D

    I think one of the keys is to fix the security issues that prevent apps from running off the SD Card. I don’t take my SD Card out, I don’t know if a lot of other people do, but it would be just fine with me to leave it inside if that’s the issue they’re running into.

  • Ben

    The twitter post should not be read too carefully. It’s a reference to a Rise Against song called “Rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated.”

  • AGx-07_162

    I try to explain to people all the time the benefits of rooting but they are too afraid to void the warentee that they will probably never need. I’ve been rooted since I got mine and have been developing themes for it ever since. Never ran into any problems I couldn’t fix myself. This whole donut issue will either force those who are too afraid to root into buying new phones (if they are the type who must have an up to date device like me) or root. I fit in both categories. Hardware wise, the G1 just isn’t good enough for me.

  • Adam

    @Ben
    I’m pretty sure it is a reference to the Mark Twain quote actually, just slightly changed.

  • going_home

    I for one have yet to see a phone that would want instead of my G1. When someone comes out with an Android based phone with a hard keyboard I will look at it seriously.
    I do too much texting and emailing for business to give up my qwerty. Virtual keyboards are ok for leisurely texting/emailing but are a real pain if you have a lot of typing to do.
    I dont want your crappy “touch screen only” phones people.
    Get with it and make another qwerty Android phone HTC (the next version of the G1)!

  • cwalker

    I just think its bulls#*t 2 bring out a phone that a lot of f$$kin people surported. And not even a year later Tell us the phone is not strong enough to get new updates!!!!! WHAT are they on! dope or dog food? I mean come on people, this sh*t is not fare. Anyway I’m rooted and happy now Thanks 1 click root. Still piss off for the non>rooted folks.

  • Derrick Best

    You know what people G1 kicks ass. Rooted or not it’s a sweet little baby. I haven’t rooted mine yet and will be fine without an update. But I know the minute there is keyboard based, Android fone with solid hardware (Qualcom Snapdragon 1 GHZ) G1 will be that cute little baby we had.
    The new Xperia Racheal is the closes there is to Android fone heaven. In the mean time….. VIVA LA G1

  • PenguinUsr

    Thank you for the clarity. Much appreciated for clearing up the rhetoric that’s pervasive in Android-Land…

    PU

  • Tim

    “the security issues that prevent apps from running off the SD Card”

    This is because they don’t want people to be able to take the SD card out and copy the app onto another SD card.

    One solution would be to encrypt the app (or part of it) on the SD card and only store the (randomly generated) decryption key in the internal memory. Of course this would have performance penalties.

  • Paul Monroe Jr

    I personally agree with others here. I love my G1, but I do have some issues with it, mainly the low internal memory. But if another version of the G1 was, let’s say re-released with more internal memory, I would buy it. That’s the only reason I want to get another android handset now. I text, and find the on-screen keyboard handy, but not practical. So I think they should re-release it with some tweaks. reward those folks who put android on the map in the first place. cause when I got my G1, I was supposed to ugrade and pay $179. but the store I went to was slow in getting a shipment so I went and paid full price for mine. I’m a loyal android fan and plan on any other phone I may get being android.

  • stefan

    As for the sd card problem, if u have any of the backup apps, anything that’s not protected can be copied and given out.

  • kizer

    Heck even the ones protected can be copied and given out. Its just a matter of keeping the honest people honest. Even those that know how to do it are not because they understand the importance of not disrespecting developers.

  • carlos

    its nice to hear good news for the g1,after all it started it all why would it be left homeless after less than a year. with the new update they should add a feature where u can install apps and os upgrades to the external memory aka micro sd.

  • cwalker

    look people just partition your sd card. problem over!!!!

  • josh

    Got donut this morning..chino,ca

  • MIke

    i have a rooted g1 with cupcake can someone point me in the right direction to update to donut