HTC Sense coming to Magic or G1? Maybe, maybe not…

The launch of the HTC Hero and seeing how well the company's new UI works has left many existing Android device owners looking at their smartphones with no small amount of disappointment.  So news that HTC CEO Peter Chou has confirmed that "HTC Sense will be available on some other existing devices" has understandably stoked speculation that either the Magic or the original G1 might get an official injection of the slick new interface. It may not be so clear-cut, however.  What HTC failed to make entirely clear during their press conference yesterday - and then took pains to point out in the aftermath - HTC Sense refers not just to the new UI on the Hero but to all of the company's latest UI work, including TouchFLO 3D on Windows Mobile devices.  Talking to an HTC executive at a dinner event in London last night, it was made clear that Sense is the culmination of three years of development - since the original HTC Touch device, in fact - with TouchFLO 3D being just one step along the road to what you see here on the Hero. There's also the question of what ties HTC had to break with Google in order to make their modifications in the Hero.  We already know that there are different levels of Android involvement that lead to different types of branding - i.e. whether you can have a Google sticker on the back of your phone - and that branding is conspicuously missing from the Hero.  We don't yet know enough to say whether HTC's new UI sits entirely well with Google's "Android Experience". What that could mean is that the existing devices Chou talks about might not, in fact, be Android-based, but could be newer models from the company's Windows Mobile range.  The recently-launched Touch Diamond2 and Touch Pro2 might be two potential candidates.  It certainly seems more likely that HTC would do a straight port of the latest Sense UI to models in its Android line-up, but until it announces definite plans we can't be certain.

HTC Hero ROM gets video demo on G1

Master ROM-fondler Haykuro has done it again, and delivered a video of the HTC Hero Android build running on a G1.  Over six minutes long, the video shows more of the new homescreen, together with a changed QWERTY on-screen keyboard and a new Twitter app. The ROM seems to use a combination of standard Android code and HTC's own amendments.  We saw screenshots of some of these last month, including the new PMP, browser and other TouchFLO 3D-inspired tweaks. The Hero itself is tipped to launch midway through 2009, so we could be looking at a fairly imminent release in Europe at least.  Check out the recently-leaked video promo for the phone here. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VRX5N5bte68[/youtube] [via Android Central]

Android 1.5 Cupcake rolling out 4 realz guys

We're getting reports that American G1 owners are getting the Android 1.5 update for their devices. The update will bring numerous improvements, UI updates, new widgets, an onscreen keyboard and all the other goodness that those of you who have taken the initiative already know about. We'll see if our G1 has had the update pushed down to it yet, and let us know if your G1 gets it yet in the comments. While you're waiting, you can also go vote for your favorite Android Community MVP so they can win an HTC Magic with Cupcake already installed on it. Oooh. [Thanks to everyone who sent this in, and Engadget Mobile]

Spotify streaming music mobile demo for Android [Video]

Spotify, who provide a free music streaming service, have demonstrated their new mobile client on the T-Mobile G1.  The new Android app - which is yet to be released - allows tracks to be synchronized with the handset for offline playback, meaning that even without WiFi or cellular data music can be played back. The app also supports on-device searches and custom playlists, with straightforward access to the company's huge catalog of tracks.  It's also synchronized with their existing desktop app, meaning you can search for and add a track on the desktop and have it sync for offline playback on the cellphone. As a desktop Spotify user, this is just what I've been waiting for.  The company has previously said that they'd be requiring mobile users to sign up for their premium service (which cuts out the adverts that intermittently pop up for free account holders) and frankly this looks well worth it.  No word on when we could expect to see a release; they're promising more details at Google I/O. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ALGPknOsiU[/youtube]

Global Wireless to offer G1 and Magic in Canada

Global Wireless, the upcoming Canadian carrier, are set to offer the HTC Dream (aka T-Mobile G1) and HTC Magic, according to a leak from an ex-employee.  The handsets - which will be known as the Global (HTC) G1 and the Global (HTC) M1 - will support 7.2Mbps HSDPA, but be firmware locked to Global Wireless' SIMs. The Global (HTC) G1 will be available on 24-month contracts for $129.99 and on 12-month contracts for $229.99 (presumably Canadian dollars), while a pre-pay version will be $429.99.  It will only be available in black.  As for the Global (HTC) M1, meanwhile, that will only be offered in white, but no pricing was detailed.  Data rates will start at $10 per month for "unlimited email, IM and communities"; $23 for 2.5GB of data and unlimited email; and $40 for unlimited everything.  Tethering will be a $5 option. The leak, so the story goes, was the retaliation of a fired employee, whom Global Wireless let go over "poor performance in marketing".  To spite the carrier, he released multiple slides detailing upcoming devices, service plans and other details. [via BGR]

T-Mobile USA confirm Cupcake delay

T-Mobile USA have delayed the roll-out of the Android OS 1.5 Cupcake build to their US users, claiming the software update is still being "optimized".  US-based forum members here at Android Community had flagged up the absence of any sign of Cupcake's arrival over the past week, despite the carrier's assertion that they would begin the launch at the end of last week. Now T-Mobile USA are claiming that Cupcake still needs work "to ensure optimal functionality and smooth delivery".  To that end, their roll-out schedule has been pushed back by "approximately a week", and their target complete date moved to early June (from the end of May).  There is still no way to manually trigger the update, only wait until your T-Mobile G1 offers the new software to you. The change in play prompts the question of what might differ between T-Mobile UK G1 handsets, which are already being updated, and the delayed USA version of Cupcake.  Given that developers and UK customers are already using 1.5 it suggests that it's T-Mobile USA's own network which may be presenting a stumbling block to roll-out.
"G1 community,   We’d like to provide an update on the rollout of Android 1.5 for T-Mobile G1 customers.  We are working diligently to get Android 1.5 out as soon as possible, while aiming to ensure a consistent, positive experience for our customers. We’re finalizing the build this week to ensure optimal functionality and smooth delivery. Therefore, the rollout schedule has been reset by approximately a week, and we expect all G1 customers will have the update by early June.   Your device will notify you when the update is available.  Thank you for your patience and understanding." T-Mobile USA statement
[via Engadget]

Android Community Week in Review: Week 19 2009

Biggest news this week has been the arrival of the Vodafone HTC Magic at Android Community, with an unboxing video and initial hands-on gallery here.  The smartphone is the second to reach the market running Google's Android OS, and according to leaks will show up on T-Mobile USA as the myTouch 3G.  T-Mobile USA will be hoping for strong sales from the handset, too, after the performance of the G1.  That's taken fifth place in the best-selling smartphones in the USA during Q1 2009, beat only by the iPhone 3G and a trio of BlackBerry devices.  It's a confidence in both devices shared by Rogers Wireless, who are planning to offer the HTC Dream (aka G1) and HTC Magic in Canada from June 2nd; meanwhile, slightly further afield, NTT DoCoMo are tipped to be offering the Magic in Japan as the HT-03A. The Magic comes preloaded with Android OS 1.5 "Cupcake", and so it's only fair that G1 owners get the same software update.  T-Mobile USA have finally confirmed that they will be rolling out the latest firmware from the end of this coming week, in an upgrade plan expected to run through to the end of May.  They may be hoping that distracts us from the Android leaks this week: firstly, their own device roadmap which pegs the G1 v.2 and Samsung Houdini as arriving later in 2009, and secondly an in-the-wild sighting of the HTC Hero. Stay with Android Community this coming week for the Vodafone HTC Magic review and more video content!

Rogers Wireless bringing HTC Dream & Magic to Canada

Rogers Wireless have announced that they will be offering the HTC Dream (aka T-Mobile G1) and the HTC Magic in the Canadian market as of June 2nd.  The two Android smartphones will be the first to run the Google open-source OS to be official on-sale through a carrier in Canada. Rogers have been economical with their press release, basically confirming that each of the handsets are coming, but there's not much we don't already know about the Dream and Magic.  The former has been on sale as the T-Mobile G1 for some time now, and has a 3.2-inch capacitive touchscreen that slides away to reveal a hardware QWERTY keyboard.  Meanwhile the Magic has roughly the same specifications as the Dream, only lacking the hardware keyboard; it has recently gone on sale in Europe with carrier Vodafone. For now prices and tariffs are unknown, but it's likely that the carrier will offer an unlimited data package for the 3G smartphones.  It's possible to sign up for more information as it's released here. Press Release:
Canadians to Get Android-Powered Smartphones: Rogers Wireless prepares for the Mobile Revolution with the exclusive Canadian launch of the HTC Dream and HTC Magic TORONTO, May 7 /CNW/ - Rogers Wireless today announced the exclusive Canadian launch in June 2009 of the HTC Dream(TM) and HTC Magic(TM) smartphones, the first cellphones in Canada powered by the Android platform, allowing for fast and easy access to a wide range of Google(TM) mobile services, including Google Search(TM), Google Maps(TM), Gmail(TM) and more. “Who else but Rogers would be the first carrier to offer Canadians the first chance to join the mobile revolution with a choice of not one, but two, handsets powered by the Android platform?”, said John Boynton, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Rogers Wireless. “The HTC Magic offers a responsive touch screen and the HTC Dream delivers both a touch screen and a slide out QWERTY keyboard. Both devices offer outstanding wireless internet search capabilities and a full suite of applications that run two times faster on Canada’s fastest mobile network.” Rogers will release details of the launch soon. In the meantime, customers can sign up for more information at rogers.com/revolution.
[via BGR]

T-Mobile G1 fifth best-selling smartphone in US

Strong sales of the T-Mobile G1 in the US have pushed the handset to number five in the Q1 2009 smartphone rankings.  According to market researchers The NPD Group, the G1 was kept from the top-spot by a combination of BlackBerry devices and the Apple iPhone 3G. While specific sales figures of the G1 have not been given, it's telling that the device - the only Android handset available in the US market - beat Microsoft, Symbian and Palm devices to a place in the top five.  Smartphones now make up 23-percent of total US handset sales, up from 17-percent year-on-year; despite that, both Apple's and Palm's market share of the segment dropped by 10-percent each. The news bodes well for future Android devices, such as the myTouch 3G, also on T-Mobile (aka the HTC Magic), and the Samsung I7500.  Broader availability of the BlackBerry Curve over the iPhone was given as one of the reasons for the handset's success. Full Ranking:
  • RIM BlackBerry Curve (all 83XX models)
  • Apple iPhone 3G (all models)
  • RIM BlackBerry Storm
  • RIM BlackBerry Pearl (all models, except flip)
  • T-Mobile G1
  • [via SlashGear]

    Android 1.5 ‘Cupcake’ released

    Android Community is hearing from multiple T-Mobile G1 users that Android 1.5 "Cupcake" is being pushed out as an OTA upgrade.  The system update, which was released officially to developers earlier this week, will be rolled out to handsets throughout May, according to one report. Cupcake 1.5 brings with it an on-screen QWERTY keyboard, necessary for the new breed of Android devices which lack hardware keyboards, such as the HTC Magic and Samsung I7500 (which will have the new version out of the box).  Other improvements include direct photo and video uploads to Picasa and YouTube, respectively, together with various behind-the-scenes improvements such as faster browsing courtesy of new JavaScript and webkit engines.  Video demo here. Reports are telling us that the update is reaching users in the US and Europe.  The Android 1.5 system update is a 44MB file, and as yet there's no way to artificially trigger its download, only wait for your carrier to push it OTA.  Keep track of progress in this forum thread.
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