The Icing on the Cupcake: Android Update for the G1


Being an early adopter I could not wait for my Cupcake to be delivered, so with some trepidation I followed the directions on Android Guys and manually downloaded Cupcake to my G1. If you are not sure what Cupcake is, it is an update to the Android OS to version 1.5. Frankly, it adds a lot of features that should have made 1.o. Things like Video recording, bluetooth stereo support (A2DP and AVCRP profiles), and Widget support. To see the full list you can go to the T-Mobile forum. What has been a very pleasant surprise to me is what I’ll call the icing on the cupcake, that is, the little UI tweaks you may not even notice right away.

The first little thing I noticed was the bluetooth indicator. If I receive a call, and my headset is paired, the screen indicates it with a blue outline and a bluetooth logo.
Cupcake - Receive Bluetooth

It is definitely subtle, but I like the added benefit of seeing that I need to find that bluetooth headset.

Another change I liked (eventually) was to the Contact screen.  This change was to the Call Log. In the previous version, when you taped on the entry it returned the call to the listed contact at the number they called from, or you tried previously. This is very logical, but obviously some folks did not like it. When I first discovered the change, I was disappointed because now when you tap on the name, it takes you to the contact details screen where you can choose to return to the number listed in the log, send an SMS, or go to the contact details to choose a different number. However, you can still immediately dial back the number by taping on the phone icon on the left side:

Cupcake Call Log

So it is the best of both worlds. Also, you can now see thumbnails of your favorites, if you have them, in the Contact screen.

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They also added an on-screen keyboard. Not a big deal for the G1, but kind of important for upcoming handsets without a physical keyboard (like the HTC Magic). The keyboard displays in both portrait:

Cupcake Keyboard Portrait

and Landscape modes:

Cupcake Keyboard Landscape

It was surprisingly easy to use.

There are a number of other tweaks like it can auto-rotate the screen with the accelerometer (like the iPhone), and they added transitions between screens. Both these features can be turned off in the settings.

I really like the updates, I even think the Camera is taking better pictures (I used to have to tweak the results more). It is a very nice update to a phone I already like. If you don’t want to chance the manual update, you should receive it soon as T-Mobile rolls it out.

33 comments… add one
  • Shawn May 28, 2009, 10:05 am

    Why all the gooeyness over BT stereo support when you still can’t even browse the device or transfer a file?

  • Bryan May 28, 2009, 10:44 am

    No gooeyness from me, I don’t even own wireless stereo headphones. Transferring files via BT would be a nice-to-have for me, but not a big deal. Unfortunately there is not a phone out there that doesn’t suffer from tradeoffs, the G1 just fits my needs better.

  • SkippyFlipjack May 28, 2009, 3:51 pm

    Any idea if cupcake update fixes what I think is a big usability bug — that you can clear your call history list without confirmation? I’ve emptied the thing a few times with one button press, accidentally sliding my thumb from the “menu” button to the big X that appears above it.

  • Mike F. May 28, 2009, 5:06 pm


    It still clears without confirmation.

  • Bob Williams May 28, 2009, 5:13 pm

    BT Stereo is a must-have for me – once you have it you won’t want to use a cabled set of headphones ever again. As to file transfer, I have no idea what I’d transfer via BT.

    I’m considering switching my T-Mobile service from an MDA to the Android, but a couple of things concern me?

    Can you run regular data plans instead of 3g? Does the 3g cost more than the $20 unlimited I’d using today?

    Another website said tethering was verboten w/ the Android on T-Mobile – yes? That’s a seldom-used nice-to-have that I don’t like giving up “just because”.

    Do you know if the sync will work with Google Apps? I’m paying for the services, but on occasion they don’t work and play well like regular Google.
    If this just an iMap, or something more special to the phone?

    How about a replaceable battery?

    Thanks for the time.

  • janesuicide May 28, 2009, 5:54 pm

    I keep hearing about this update but when is it supposed to happen. I’ve been waiting and waiting but nothing is happening!!! I know you can download from a computer but unfortunately I don’t have one….. anyone have an answer??

  • Bryan Sherman May 28, 2009, 6:09 pm


    I have used BT to send pictures to my laptop from my Sony W810, and it was nice. Not a huge miss for me, but it would be a nice to have.

    I am pretty sure all the data plans are the same price now. I am not on a 3g network yet. However, I believe the low end is $25, unlimited we with 400 msgs (and e-mail is NOT a message). So you may see an increase, with any phone.

    I have never had any interest in tethering, perhaps someone else could chime on that. I seem to recall you can sync with Google apps, but I would check that site to confirm.

    Definitely has a replaceable battery. WHO would buy a phone w/out a replaceable battery?! Just kidding iPhone folks… well sort of kidding.

  • Bob May 28, 2009, 8:05 pm

    If you are in USA – should be receiving cupcake update anytime. I received mine today morning OTA. I would say improvements are really noteworthy including camcorder, virtual keyboard, A2DP bluetooth and swift user interface. Had to wait for long, but finally received it today. Don’t worry, yours should be ota soon 🙂

  • virinderpal May 28, 2009, 9:39 pm

    Yea same here I just received the update today. Check out my video on youtube:

  • kiyl May 28, 2009, 10:29 pm

    Does anyone know when the update will be available on all phone?becuz I haventt gotten mines yet

  • jesse May 28, 2009, 11:02 pm

    I got my update today at 8:15 am central time so be patient yall

  • Eve May 29, 2009, 1:15 am


    I have an unlocked G1 how do I get the cupcake update? Can anyone please tell me the procedure to get the update.



  • andre May 29, 2009, 7:52 am

    I have been waiting and waiting on this update does anyone kno a specific date that it will b here

  • Bryan Sherman May 29, 2009, 8:58 am

    Follow the Android Guys link in the article. The step out how to do the upgrade. You will need to download to a PC and transfer to your SD card on the G1.

  • Kevin May 29, 2009, 9:36 am

    How do you download cupcake manually

  • Steve May 29, 2009, 1:15 pm

    Everyday another 10% are done with an estimated completion date of June 4th. Today they are roughly at 35%

  • Shatia Young May 29, 2009, 2:18 pm

    I just got my update.

  • kendre1605 May 29, 2009, 7:00 pm

    Does the onscreen keyboard work for text messgaes or just on the android market?

  • Bryan May 29, 2009, 9:26 pm

    It works for me in every text field I have tried. When you tap in the field it pops up. In fact, in multi-field forms it provides a next button to move to the next field, and can automatically change to a number pad (it does this in the phone number fields of the Contact List).

  • Eve May 30, 2009, 2:10 am


    Ok…. one more thing…will I have to unlock the phone once again after upgrading?


  • josh May 30, 2009, 7:14 am

    I got the update but still can’t hear music with my bluetooth,is there a certain way I got to set it up?

  • Bryan May 30, 2009, 8:00 am

    I don’t know. I do not have an unlocked phone. The manual upgrade does not require the phone to be unlocked. I would go check some of the Android forums, at this point I am sure you can find some folks with unlocked phones that have upgraded.

  • josh May 30, 2009, 3:36 pm

    Finally got the update and am super impressed!

  • Travis Williams May 31, 2009, 1:46 am

    I got my “cupcake” update today – this morning – totally my surprise… I didn’t even know it was coming (i’m in the dark most of the time) – and I really like some of the improvements for sure… the video camera feature is a very nice edition. as is the improvements in the camera. I pretty much didn’t ever use the camera before… now in just today alone I used the camera more than the previous 6 months combined.. and I sent several photos out over twidroid to facebook status. very nice.

    problem is now I can’t toggle off the bluetooth function – which I did alot to conserve battery…. I killed my blutooth toggle program and re-installed still same issue. doesn’t seem to have any ability to turn it off now.. anyone else having this problem?


  • Bryan May 31, 2009, 2:09 pm


    I use Toggleblu. I had to update for Cupcake, but it works fine (along with ToggleWiFi). I also tested Useful Switcher, and it worked as well.

    Glad to hear confirmation I may not be going crazy, I though the camera quality improved.

  • Bob Williams June 3, 2009, 11:50 am

    I just came back from Wal*Mart with my new G1 – sitting here “patiently” waiting for the new SIM card to provision so I can actually use it.

    Wal*Mart’s price was only $99 with a 2-year – $100 less than online/phone or retail store. The clerk mentioned that was the case with most of their phones – I only went in there on a lark that they would have it at all and walked out REAL happy. (With the only downside that the clerk didn’t add the new G1 data plan correctly, so I had to call to get it done right).

    I was also happy to see that the basic charger-only is standard mini-USB, which means the ones I have scattered all over the house and car will still work, though I intend to get an upgraded battery and combo chargers / headphones adapters ASAP.

    T-Mobile is also offering unlimited calling for $10 less than what I was paying for 1500 minutes, and that was with no special contract changes. Not exactly a hard sell on that.

    Still waiting.

  • Bob Williams June 3, 2009, 1:42 pm

    OK, its up – typical issues with misunderstandings – new SIM card never entered into the system because it wasn’t necessary – 2 hours wasted.

    Anyway, its working and its SWEET – I just recently ported my universe to full Google Apps and the integration looks TIGHT – even more so then you’d ever get with the OWA connecter on my old MDA.

    Downside is I have to work this after noon and can’t play with it!

  • Bob Williams June 4, 2009, 12:11 am

    After deciding work was less important, I Googled around until I found a working link for the Cupcake manual update, worked as purported, though I think that the screen speed for the applications “slider?” is slower.

    Otherwise all else is well.

  • yoly June 4, 2009, 8:50 am

    Can someone tell me how to get the touch screen keyboard to show up in my g1 screen

  • chelle June 4, 2009, 2:03 pm

    I luv the new upgrades especially the camcorder loves it

  • Bob Williams June 4, 2009, 5:33 pm

    It just “does” on most apps that would need input. Open an email and touch in the compose area, soft keyboard should pop up.

  • dacool1 August 26, 2009, 12:12 am

    hey bryan,
    do you know if programs running on palm OS or those of windows mobile OS run on android ?
    are there any emulators available?

  • Bryan August 26, 2009, 7:06 am

    @dacool1 I know of no emulators. You can go to thsi site to see all the applications that are available for Android:

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