Monday, June 08, 2009

G1 Android software update

Last week (Sunday 31 May, 2009) Google made an update to the Android operating system. I was chatting to a friend of mine after having some afternoon birthday cake and tea. I accepted the update and continued chatting. Acknowledging that I was doing so.

After the update was done, the date changed to April 15, 2009 at 10:01a, I showed it to my friend who laughed. Seconds later, it changed to the correct time. I looked back at the phone and I was quite impressed with my findings:
  1. The first things I saw was a new icon that said "camcorder" with the picture of a camcorder [here is a video I did]. I had to immediately mention that to my friend, to which he quipped "cool." Not sure if he was annoyed that I was being distracted or if he was really impressed :-). I think the former. I was eager to try this out, but had to wait.
  2. Next, I noticed that the browser icon was now a world map. Nice I thought.
Not to be rude, I left it alone and continued my conversation. Over the next few days, I really checked out the phone and here are my deep findings:
  1. onscreen keyboard: Yes, finally they've added one. It is a bit small and does take some getting used to. During my first few days, I actually refused to use it, but more and more I'm using it and learning it. One thing I could not figure out was how to make the darn thing disappear after I'm done (click the Back arrow next to the power button). Also activating it is a learned experience (you have to tap into the area where you want to write something). By default, the keyboard activates with capital letters; once you press the first letter though, it changes to small letters. You have a "DEL" key and a "?123" key as well. I can't find a "\" though on that keyboard, can anyone? I am also assuming that in Europe there are "£" and "€" signs. The keyboard also auto completes for you so that is a good deal. Oh, sometimes, it places a "Done" on the keyboard and pressing that makes it disappear or completes the action you were performing. All in all a worthwhile addition.
  2. threaded e-mails: Perhaps the best fix yet. The previous issue was that when you receive an e-mail you could not reply to it as the reply would go to the first person in your contact list. For me that was Google 411. This really sucked as sometimes I forgot and wondered why my friend never replied to my text. All that is history and the new threaded feature rocks. Thank you so much google.
  3. contacts: They've re-worked the interface so it is easier to read/use and has cooler icons. There is now a "+" to add a contact's information and a "-" to remove it. You can also "Revert" if you want to discard all you've just done. You can now add a postal address as well as Organizations. If that was there before, I never realized it. When you press "MENU" from the main Contacts screen, you now get "Search," "Display group," "Edit sync group" and "Import contacts." Again, if these were there before, I never saw them.
  4. call log: Not much done here, just that the icons are slightly different and after you've called a number that is not in your contacts, you get an option to add it to contacts as well as send SMS message, plus the usual Call again option. It also gives you stats on the call (time, date and duration of call). Oh, the names and numbers are arranged a little better than before.
  5. dialer: Not much change, except that when you dial a number, the tab in the middle now changes to "Dialpad." After a few seconds, it changes to a lock that says "Double-tap to unlock." Which is good as it helps so that you don't accidentally press a key. I am still waiting for the feature where once I put the phone away from my face, the dial pad activates, but I guess that is next.
  6. favorites: not to be left out, they've actually built some auto functionality into here by adding a "Frequently called" section below any favorites you denoted.
  7. camera: Nice improvement. The new software is 1,000% better than the old. It is actually much better in low lighting now and it looks like they've added some handshake code, which was well needed. Also, now when you click the shutter, it processes what you did and focusses even more for you it seems. Once the picture is taken (by using the new onscreen camera icon or the buttons on the side), it shows in an icon on the upper left if you are holding the phone horizontal and upper right if vertical. The position does not change based on how you are holding the phone. The only odd thing is that the picture is auto saved and once you click on the thumbnail, you get the options to go to the Gallery (formerly called Pictures), "Set as," "Share" and "Delete." Plus an arrow to move to the previous picture and of course you can see the picture and there is a zoom bar (new icons for this release). it does take a little while to load up this new menu though. I have 1,191 pictures on my card so that may have something to do with it :-).
  8. gallery (formerly pictures): nothing new here except the zoom bar now has a "-" and a "+" on it. But this is a new thing for the phone itself.
  9. camcorder: I've saved the newest for last. it is O.K. it is a learned experience. Once you click the camcorder icon, you are taken to a screen which activates the video camera showing a thumbnail of the previous video in the upper left hand corner if he phone is horizontal and upper right if vertical. There is a icon on the right upper corner that is used to start the camera. A counter counts the time and the icon changes to a red dot in gray circle. Pressing the circle stops the record action. Playback is achieved by clicking on the newly created thumbnail of the movie and then choosing Play. Once play is complete, you can choose "Gallery," "Share" or "Delete" or record another movie from the menu choices. Share options are Gmail, Messaging or YouTube. For the latter, you have to enter your username and password, sign in and then give the video a title, decide if you want it public (default) or not, enter a description, add your tags, view the shortened terms of use with a link to the long version and click "Upload" or "Cancel." Voila you are done! You are then taken back to the video on your phone. When complete you get a YouTube: Upload Complete notification. You can see my video here at
There are perhaps more stuff that were updated, but these are the major ones I've seen/used. A good update, thank you, but can you please add a notepad for me?

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