If everyone who says they are launching an Android phone actually launches an Android phone in the near future, the G1 is about to have lots and lots of company. One IS the loneliest number (poor G1), but how about between 6 and 8 Android phones from O2 Germany ALONE?
According to Venturebeat as reported by phandroid, an O2 product manager at an Official Press Conference at O2 Innovation Days in Germany was quoted as saying, "We want to get out 6 to 8 Android devices this year.” If this actually happens over in Germany in '09, what can we expect here in the States? At this point, I think we would be happy to have at least another two or three Android devices to choose from, hopefully with a variety of form-factors. What do YOU want to see for Android handsets this year?
Confession: I'm excited for the Kindle 2 announcement today and will give serious thought into purchasing one. The question is, will I need one? If you didn't hear, Google Book Search is now optimized for Android meaning all the books available through Google are easily accessible on your Android phone!
Head over to books.google.com/m for Google's Library which offers the full catalog of free books (all 1.5 million of 'em!). Sadly, you'll need an active internet connection because there doesn't seem to be an option for offline viewing. Overall, the interface works pretty well--it even has bookmarks and recently viewed books. Is this a serious contender for the growing e-reader market? Could this replace a Kindle?
We'll have to wait and see. Hopefully our eyes aren't too strained from staring at our G1's LCD screen! What do you guys think? Should I buy a Kindle 2?
After the completion of the hectic Smartphone Round Robin, your faithful bloggers at Smartphone Experts decided to keep things moving along at a heady clip. In the past week we have published somewhere in the neighborhood of 175 stories, from accessory and software reviews to news to the latest rumors. That's a lot to keep track of, so we're bringing back our regular "Around SPE" feature to give you a quick summary of what you may have missed in a format that's more helpful than just a list of links.
In that vein, our biggest recent news is that our newest sister site, Nokia Experts is starting strong with a launch contest. If you would like to earn some chances at winning a Nokia E71 or Nokia N85, make sure to enter the contest each week. There are two weeks left to go, so check back as each week we're changing up how you can enter to win!
There's plenty more smartphone news you may have missed, so read on!
Meanwhile we're tracking some potential new Android devices from the likes of Samsung, HTC, and maybe even Dell and Acer. We're expecting there will be a huge number of Android devices hitting in 2009, so stay tuned!
Over at PreCentral.net we are still trying to pin down just when when the darn Palm Pre is going to be released. While realistic expectations and recent reports suggest a May release, we've received umpteen users reports that Sprint representative are still telling users that the Pre will be launched on February 15th. A date that early seems as likely as free money delivered by unicorns, but we'll be watching it nonetheless.
Meanwhile we're starting to help get out users pre-pared for the Pre by discussing how to get your data off your PC and into the cloud. We started with the Mac, but the PC and even Linux are coming soon, so be sure to check back.
Instant gratification is never having to wait. Thanks to the XDA Developer community, the latest Google Android update is available now. Among other things, it includes Google Latitude, a location-based app that's created quite the stir among those with privacy concerns.
The Android update for the T-Mobile G1, RC33, will start rolling out today, February 5th, and will continue rolling out through the 15th. If you don't want to wait for the over-the-air (OTA) update, RC33 can be downloaded now and you can be running Google Latitude in no time.
If you want to know where to download it and how to update the firmware on your G1, then follow along after the break!
Sometimes things like firmware updates can feel daunting if you are trying to do it manually. The good news is that manually updating Android is a fairly simple process, the most difficult part being getting the new firmware version prior to receiving it OTA.
I recommend a fully-charged G1 before you begin this process. So if your G1 is charged and ready to go, then just follow these steps and you'll have an updated G1 in a matter of minutes.
DISCLAIMER: Android Central nor myself accept any responsibility for any mishaps that may occur during the update process. If you somehow manage to "brick" your phone, that's unfortunate, but it's ALL on you. Using these same steps, I managed to update my firmware without a hitch. Just remember that what you do with your G1 in your own home is YOUR business and YOUR responsibility. Now, with the sloppy legalese out of the way, are you ready?
Download the RC33 file that's posted at XDA Developers here. VERY IMPORTANT: If you have root access ("jailbroken" G1), this update will NOT work for you. Community member JF has been very helpful in modifying updates to work for those with root access.
Once you download the file to your computer, it should appear as: signed-PLAT-RC33-from-RC30.f06aa9b3.zip. This next part is important. Rename this file as update.zip.
Make sure you have a Micro SD Card in your G1. Connect your G1 to your computer via USB. You should see the USB icon in the top left corner of your G1. Drag it down and enable the USB connection to your computer.
On the desktop of your computer, drag and drop the update.zip file to your G1, placing it in the root of your Micro SD Card. Then, unplug your G1 from your computer.
Turn off your G1. Make sure it's completely powered down. Then, turn it back on by holding the Home and End keys. Wait for the icon popup after the T-Mobile G1 logo screen. Slide open your keyboard and type Alt + L. The event log should be displayed.
Press Alt + S to begin the update. If you have properly renamed the file to update.zip and placed it in the root directory of your Micro SD card (meaning that it's not in any other folders), the update should begin.
Be patient. The update will take a few minutes. Be sure to follow the on-screen instructions. You will be instructed to press the Home + Back buttons to finish the update. Be aware that your G1 will reboot a few times to properly install the update.
Enjoy your new, shiny RC33 update, complete with Google Latitude!
After you have updated your G1, let us know what you think!
Thanks for the heads-up on the RC33 availability, Yoshi!
The RC33 update to Android should be trickling down to all you G1 users and if you were wondering what's new in the update, here's a quick hitting list:
Google Maps gets updated to include Google Latitude
Ability to check for new software updates
Save MMS Pictures
Google Voice Search
Report Comments in Android Market as spam
Display "Update Available" for previously downloaded applications
And of course, bug fixes
It definitely sounds like a solid update but I won't be satisfied 'til we get our virtual keyboard. Be on the lookout to see if your T-Mobile G1 is getting the RC33 update! Let us know in the comments how it's working out for ya!
It looks like Android is slowly expanding its footprint. The word is that Australia and Singapore will both be getting the HTC Dream (same exact device as our T-Mobile G1) sometime in the near future. The Australian HTC Dream will run on the Australian Carrier Optus and the Singapore version will launch on Singtel. Basically, you'll be getting all the flavors of the G1 just under a different moniker. After all, it is Android.
No immediate details on availability were made. Will we soon see other carriers in non-T-Mobile countries carry the HTC Dream?
According to the NYTimes, the Cupcake Firmware Update isn't really an official Firmware Update at all. In that sense, Cupcake doesn't exist. Instead, Cupcake is a developmental tool. According to a Google spokesperson:
“Cupcake is a tool that we are using to develop future versions of Android”
So it looks like Cupcake won't be delivered to G1 Users in one shot, but rather, continuous firmware updates. How do you guys feel about this? Is a slow trickle of updates good enough for ya? Will RC33 hold you guys over?
There's a bit of confusion in Australia and Asia around the launch of the HTC Dream slated for February 16. The Dream (known to us as the G1) will be launched on Optus, yet a G2 is said to be unveiled at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on the same date. Hmmm.
So, the million dollar question is, should customers pass on the G1 and wait for the G2? According to an Australian tech site, Smarthouse, the answer is: "It emerged that the answer may lie in the fact that G2 may possibly be a software upgrade that may be downloaded to the launched Google phone."
I don't know about you, but my skepticism/confusion meter (it's a dual-function meter) starts pegging in the red when I see "may", then "may possibly" in the same sentence. Will G2 be a new T-Mobile smartphone or will it be a software upgrade, or both? Will it be available to G1 owners? What do you think?
The day wouldn't be complete without another Android smartphone speculation accompanied by a fuzzy picture, not to mention a peculiar keyboard design. The above photo from Boy Genius Report is alleged to be a new Acer smartphone built for Windows Mobile or possibly Android. A new Android phone would be more than welcome. It's reported that this Acer smartphone will be displayed at the MWC on the 16th.
It's not certain whether this portrait QWERTY keyboard design will swivel to landscape mode, so what you see here may be what you get. Having another potential Android smartphone in the market is a positive thing, but it will be interesting to see how this particular keyboard design is received by the consumer. Would you buy an Acer Android phone with this kind of keyboard design?
Following up on one of our newest feature, Ask Android Central, where you guys ask the question and we provide the answer, we have a question from Ty Underwood regarding the T-Mobile G1's usefulness of being unlocked
Would an unlocked g1 run on other (gsm) networks without a hitch? There isn't any tmobile in my area and I was just curious. Thanks!
The T-Mobile G1 is certainly a popular device and Android is in the eyes of a prospective many but one sticking point with the G1 is its ties to T-Mobile. We at Android Central definitely understand your concern about T-Mobile as a carrier—paltry 3G network, spotty service—but luckily there are definite options to make it work on other carriers.
After the jump, Android Central answers how to use an unlocked G1.
Before we get started, we should note that there are a few roads you can take to get an unlocked G1. Our most recommended route? Become an Android Developer and purchase the Android Dev Phone 1 (aka a SIM and hardware unlocked G1 with a snazzy graphic on the back cover). After an initial $25 fee to become a developer, you purchase the phone for $399 and will be able to use ANY sim card from any carrier AND flash custom Android builds since the bootloader is unlocked as well. Honestly, the Android Dev Phone 1 offers an amount of freedom unmatched with other options.
The second option would be to buy a regular already sim-unlocked T-Mobile G1. There's a great web portal that lists unlocked T-Mobile G1's on eBay here.
And finally, the most popular option would be to buy the T-Mobile G1 contract-free from a T-Mobile retail store and then either wait 3 months for the unlock code OR purchase an unlock code from a reputable unlock source (some of the writers on Android Central used unlock-tmobileg1.com) if you want to get nasty with a different carrier immediately. You'll need to give the website your IMEI number which can be found in either the settings/About Phone/Status or by pressing *#06# in the dialer.
After you receive your unlock code, simply follow the instructions in this video:
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Basically insert a non T-Mobile SIM card and then enter your SIM unlock code. Voila. Your T-Mobile G1 is now just a G1. But you're not quite done yet, because the phone is not set up for data on other networks you'll have to tinker with some of the APN settings. Luckily, it's dead simple. For example, for AT&T:
Simply go to Settings > Wireless Controls > Mobile Networks > Access Point Names then hit Menu and select New APN. Enter the settings for your Network. For example, this will set up AT&T (If it's not mentioned on this list, leave it at whatever the default was:
APN Name: AT&T
And you're done! You'll be on your way to a fully functional G1 in no time. But buyer beware, since T-Mobile uses a funky band (in the US, at least) for their 3G Network it won't be compatible with your AT&T account meaning your unlocked for AT&T G1 will only be capable of lowly EDGE speeds. No 3G for you unlocked AT&T users. Why you ask? Well to quote the T-Mobile forums:
In the U.S., T-Mobile and AT&T both use GSM technologies, but there are fundamental incompatibilities in their 3G services. AT&T runs its 2G and 3G services at 850 and 1900 MHz. T-Mobile's 3G service uses 2100 MHz to transmit and 1700 MHz to receive.
The G1 can handle 2G service at 850, 900, 1800, and 1900 MHz, which pretty well covers the world's markets. But 3G comes only at 1700 and 2100 MHz. That takes care of T-Mobile in the U.S. and everyone else in the rest of the world. But it leaves out AT&T's 3G service.
Is that a bit of a downer? Well, of course since AT&T is the only other GSM carrier in the US. But at least you'll still be able to enjoy the openness of Android and its potential on AT&T after following our instructions!
We've been telling anyone who would listen that Motorola Hardware + Android OS = Killer Device. We especially feel confident considering that Motorola without Android is simply floundering--they recently revealed that they lost about $4.6 BILLION dollars in the fourth quarter. Yeah, it can't get worse than that can it?
So what's the current plan of action? Well, for one it looks like a re-focused Motorola is coming to play in 2009. 2009 will be the Year of the Android for Motorola because they believe that Android is a more compelling platform than the current state of Windows Mobile. Sounds good to us. If they need saving, Android should certainly be a great buoy for them until that WinMob7 comes around, if it ever does.
What do you guys think? Can Android save Motorola? Is it even possible to recoup $4.6 billion?
Ah, we'll be quick, we at Android Central need your help. If you could spare a few minutes of your time and fill out the Android Central survey it'll greatly benefit us (our advertisers are itchin' for some data on you guys) and eventually benefit you guys as well (we can re-focus some content to deliver what you guys REALLY want to read).
In another case of T-Mobile looking out for the customer, they've just announced their Equipment Installment Plan which allows you to pay off your T-Mobile handheld and/or accessories in four installments.
Given our current economic state, this could potentially do wonders for those not prepared to spend $200+ for a smartphone in one lump sum. With their EIC, T-Mobile won't be charging any interest and there'll be no additional fees. This is almost too good to be true. To quote T-Mobile [via TmoNews]:
Payments are interest free and your total spending capability is determined by certain credit guidelines. There are no additional fees, start up or interest fees associated with this service.
Even though the new Android G1 update from T-Mobile, RC33, is Cupcake-less, it has still created quite the stir on the Intertubes. As early as today, Google Latitude will be available in the update, which is rolling out to T-Mobile G1 users from now through Feb. 15. Google Latitude is friend-location software that utilizes a combination of cell tower triangulation and GPS to let you know where your friends and family are. CNET-TV Senior Editor Natali Del Conte got a preview of Latitude and says:
"What Google Latitude does is allow you to share that location with friends and family members, and likewise be able to see friends and family members' locations," Steve Lee, product manager for Google Latitude, told CNET. "For example, a girlfriend could use it to see if her boyfriend has arrived at a restaurant and, if not, how far away he is."
I suppose a girlfriend could also see where her boyfriend SHOULDN'T be, which underscores some potential privacy issues. Fortunately, Google Latitude allows for some customization - you can select certain contacts that you want to "hide" from so your location data is not available to them, or you can deactivate the feature altogether. Hopefully it will be accurate enough to really pin people down because this service would be extremely useful for finding friends amongst a sea of people at a large convention, for instance.
When update RC33 shows up on your G1 and Google Latitude is enabled, how will you use it? Are you worried about privacy issues?
Before we moved over to the G1 & T-Mobile, we were AT&T users. So imagine our shock when we first called into T-Mobile customer service to ask some basic questions regarding the G1. The T-Mobile people were just. so. nice.
A lot of people make a big deal about T-Mobile's excellent customer service and we tend to agree with them, T-Mobile really goes the extra mile in making their customer service warm and helpful. So color us surprised when we heard that T-Mobile wasn't tops in customer service last year, falling to #2 behind Verizon. But this year, they re-claimed their throne at the top of the customer service according top JD Power & Associates [via BGR]:
T-Mobile ranked highest among all wireless providers in Overall Customer Care Performance, above all its competitors and significantly ahead of the industry average.
In interactions between consumers and customer care representatives, T-Mobile ranked significantly above the industry average.
T-Mobile ranked highest in online customer service and walk-in interactions at retail stores.
T-Mobile scored well above other wireless carriers and the industry average with the lowest average hold times.
So though T-Mobile definitely lacks in the realm of 3G, they treat their customers right. What do you guys think? Does T-Mobile deserve such high marks for their customer service?
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