Android News

Cupcake update underway, what’s cool about it?

May 29, 2009 | by Andrew Kameka

Android OS, Firmware updates

Cupcake update underway, what’s cool about it?

Cupcake is coming. For real this time. If you haven’t already installed Cupcake manually, you’ll be happy to know that a number of T-Mobile USA subscribers are reporting getting an over the air update for Android 1.5. The update is going out randomly, so don’t check your phone every five minutes to see if it came.

I’ve been playing with Cupcake for a few days and found some great things, so I’d love to see what other people have noticed about the latest version of Android. The browser and interface enhancements were expected based on toying with the SDK, but I was pleasantly surprised in other areas.

WIDGETS
I’ve long said that widgets held the top spot on my Android wish list, and it’s good to finally have them on my G1. Some of the best ones I’ve found so far are the Battery Meter, AndWeather, and the default Calendar widget. Be mindful that overloading your screen with too many widgets can affect how quickly the home screen loads/responds. You may also find that some widgets don’t work in homescreen replacement apps.

FORCE STOP > FORCE CLOSE

Force close errors are Android’s version of the Blue Screen of Death. You’ll get a bit of those because some apps don’t perform well in Cupcake yet, but you’ll at least be able to shut down apps. Yes, Android finally has a kill switch to help manage resources. Go to Settings> Applications> Manage applications> Press menu, Filter to show only running apps> Select an app or activity, and then scroll down to press force stop. It a laborious process, but it’s there. Let’s hope someone manages to shorten it.

Edit: Thanks to commenter Chris for pointing out the correct syntax

BATTERY IS BETTER (for some)
I read that Cupcake was supposed to take it a little easier on the G1 battery and I can confirm that’s the case. I don’t need to recharge as soon as I did previously, and under the right settings, my phone makes it through most of the day just fine. Thank you Android for improving battery management and addressing one of the most important issues.

Edit: Like most electronics, each person’s individual experience may vary. I can only attest to what I have seen others comment about and my own personal experience that since the update, I’ve been able to get more talk time/standby time out of my phone. That’s no guarantee you will see an improvement.

Not all is rosy, however. A few apps don’t work or need to be updated to “Cupcake version” (search in the Android Market) and you can’t toggle GPS through apps or widgets at the moment. Hopefully, that improves soon.

What are you enjoying about Cupcake?