There have been lots of rumors and screenshots on the forthcoming "Cupcake" update for the T-Mobile G1 Google Android device that may start rolling out as soon as next week. While most of the talk is about an on-screen keyboard, I think there is an even bigger issue that must be included soon or else my G1 will keep being used more as a hobby phone than anything else. The on-screen keyboard makes sense for follow-up Google Android products, but makes no sense to me for the current G1 hardware where the keyboard is perfectly fine and one of the real strengths of the device.
The MAJOR issue that I run into all the time is the memory management. I get constant low memory warnings on my G1 that require me to regularly remove applications I want to try out. There is no way to install applications onto the memory card so your memory will fill up if you load up about 20 applications and use the browser extensively. You see, the browser cache also builds up and cannot be stored onto a microSD card. The problem when you delete the browser data to try to free up memory is that you also looks bookmarks and history, thus making the browser memory management quite lame. With the coming launch of commercial applications that should greatly increase the number, size, and quality of applications in the Android Market, Google needs to get the memory management issue fixed before all these other improvements.
This is a list of items rumored to be in the Cupcake update:
* New Virtual Keyboard * New Local Setting Page * New Option to view running and third party applications * New windows opening/closing animation effect * New default notepad * New Global Time application * New Spare Parts Application * Slightly better looking buttons with more shadow.
The other Achilles heel of the G1 is the battery life. I ordered a Seidio 2600 mAh battery to address that issue, but without a memory management update my G1 will still be of limited use.
I also was just informed by T-Mobile that the G1 will be available at all T-Mobile retail and eligible retail partner locations starting tomorrow, 24 January. If you remember, when the G1 launched in October T-Mobile focused on making it available in areas where the 3G network was up and running. I have not heard any news about further rollout of the network and can confirm that it is still only up in King County (greater Seattle area) here in Washington State. Maybe with the G1 expansion we will see the 3G network expansion too.
UPDATE: Thanks to Michael who posted a comment and link to his site where there are more details on what we may see in the Cupcake update. There still is no mention of the major memory issue, but video recording is there. Even with this update, the G1 is still missing quite a few features and should be considered a beta device for the most part.