News updated for HTC’s Android phones.
It’s been eight days since we showed off the full list of upcoming 2009 phones from HTC. Though we have a lot of faith in HTC, I personally was not expecting to see a live picture of the Sapphire 2.0 this soon. Since the Android powered handset is expected to launch on T-Mobile networks across the globe later this year, it has already been dubbed the G2. But don’t expect this to be just like its predecessor. The HTC Sapphire 2.0 has been put on a diet and has lost the QWERTY keyboard that was featured on the G1. This only means that the G2 will be sporting "cupcake" features, including an on screen keyboard for text entry. Details are still a bit slim at the moment, so we’ll just have to sit back and wait till be hear more.
In the mean time, let’s hope to see a few more leaked spy shots of other HTC devices.
Only two and a half months since it made its U.S. and UK debute, the T-Mobile G1 is now available to be pre-ordered at any T-Mobile shop in the Netherlands. The T-Mobile G1 will cost you 50 Euros (nearly $65). T-mobile customers in Germany will be getting the G1 on February 2 for only 1 Euro. We’re assuming that T-Mobile will be locking you into one of their contracts for at least two years. The G1 is expected to be in customers’ hands on January 30th. Austria and the Czech Republic should be seeing the T-mobile G1 within a few weeks as well, but no details are yet available.
"The G1 is a device which is praised by experts, especially for the ease of use, speed of the Internet and of course the Android operating system that anyone can develop applications themselves. We offer the G1 with mobile broadband Internet, allowing customers to benefit fully from the device to use and always available. The G1 is just made for mobile surfing the web. – Bart Weijermars, Marketing Director T-Mobile Netherlands"
Within the next few days, T-Mobile G1 users will be able to download Skype’s new app for the Android platform. Skype Lite will allow users to chat with their contacts and will also be able to make Skype calls without using the data connection for low fees. This app will be a "must have" for current Skype desktop users to stay in touch with peopel on the go. Skype is expected to have app the app in the Android Market within the next few day.
Only a week after the T-Mobile G1 was launched, a security hole was discovered that allowed access to Android’s root directory on the G1. google and T-Mobile worked quickly to patch the hole and T-mobile sent out an over the air firmware upgrade to G1 users. For many, the RC30 firmware upgrade did not do much. A few big fixes were included to make the general public happy, but developers and system hackers were only disappointed. To them, the security hole was an opportunity to dive further into the core of Android and tweak the system a bit more. Some developers have used root access in an attempt to start skinning the default Andorid UI, but other than that there have been no major advancements for those who still have root access.
Just recently, one of the developers on the xda-developers forum came up with a pretty simply way for G1 users to revert back to their original RC29 firmware and regain root access. I must warn that doing this could void your warranty and brick your phone, but there are quite a few success stories of forum members who have tried it. So if you’re interested in making your G1 UI look a little more unique
Oh, and there’s one thing that I want to help clear up. Getting root access on Andoid is not called "Jailbreaking". That was a term used for unlocking the iPhone to install apps on it. Root access is nothing like that since Android is an open source system. It seems there are a lot of bloggers out there simply using the wrong term.
Google’s Android Market team wanted to finish off the year by reminding developers that the "apps for pay" market will still be launching in Q1 of 2009. An e-mail was sent out to the registered developers of the Android Market, stating that the service will soon be going live. Due to payment support systems for multiple countries, staggered roll-out will go to (1) United States and UK; (2) Germany, Austria and Netherlands; (3) France, Italy and Spain with additional countries to be announced at the end of Q1 09. The e-mail also lets developers know that they will now be able to tailor their apps for different markets. When launching an app, developers will chose which countries it will launch in. This should help keep the market clean for users. There have already bee a handful of apps that are country of language specific that should not be visible to the entire market.
If you want to read the entire e-mail, be sure to hit the read more link. Thanks to TalkAndroid for the news.
When we first got wind that google was going to be rolling “cupcake” into the Android open source project, but noted that there may be a chance that T-Mobile G1 users may never see then on their handsets. It’s completely up to T-Mobile to decide what version of Android makes it onto the G1. However, Engadget got a note from HTC yesterday afternoon, stating that they were confident that the majority of the “cupcake” updates would make it to the G1. HTC made it clear that they have no control over the situation and that the decision is up to T-Mobile.
I would like to note that Google has a vested interest in making the G1 a successful phone. Adding stereo Bluetooth support, on screen keyboard, and other capabilities would only increase the G1’s marketability and in turn would boost Android’s reputation. We can’t say when or what will be included in T-Mobile’s next OTA (over the air) update for the G1, but I’d expect it to add a few more desperately needed features.
It looks like someone has either created their own on screen koeboard for Android, or been able to compile Google’s cupcake project onto Android already. Androidguys is showing off a video of someone using the on screen keyboard. It is very similar to the one on the iPhone, but we’ll just have to wait and see hwo it actually works. They are also featuring a second video that shows off some sliding transitions. This could be a feature in cupcake, but many people already have this running on their G1. Head over to xda-developers for the download. It also includes a little compass that displays in Google Maps.