T-Mobile in the U.S. and the U.K. has begun sending T-Mobile G1 users an upgrade to a new version of Google’s operating system for phones. Android 1.5 brings a number of enhancements, including on-screen keyboards, more home screen widgets, video recording, and stereo Bluetooth.
This upgrade is being sent directly to the device, and some people received it overnight. At this point, there’s no way for users to upgrade their G1 other than to wait for T-Mobile to send them the files they need. However, an unofficial method to manually download and install the upgrade will almost certainly be available soon.
What’s in Android 1.5?
One of the most noticeable new features in the upcoming version of this operating system is the on-screen keyboard. This allows users to enter text with the phone in portrait mode. Currently, users of the T-Mobile G1 have to rotate it to landscape mode and open the keyboard to enter text.
Android 1.5 also adds Home Screen widgets to display the user’s calendar, a music player, and a picture frame. These join the ones already available, the analog clock and the search widget.
The latest version of Google’s OS offers greater support for video, including video recording with the built-in camera and playing video in the MPEG-4 and 3GP formats. Users will also be able to upload videos to YouTube, and upload still images to Picasa, two services owned by Google.
Other improvements include updates and enhancements to the standard web browser, and the addition of Stereo Bluetooth.
An Overview of the T-Mobile G1
The T-Mobile G1 is a consumer-oriented smartphone with a 3.2-inch HVGA touchscreen, a QWERTY keyboard, GPS, and Wi-Fi. It also sports a microSD card slot and a 3.2 megapixel camera.
What makes the G1 special though isn’t the hardware, but that it’s the first device running Android, an operating system that was developed primarily by Google. This has a highly-functional web browser, and includes tie-ins to a number of this company’s online services, like Gmail and Google Maps. There is also a rapidly growing collection of third-party software available.
The G1 is also available now on T-Mobile USA’s website, as well as stores, for $180 with a two-year contract. It can also be purchased in many Wal-Mart stores for $150, or from Amazon.com for $98, with contract.