Jul 18 AT 3:01 AM Taylor Wimberly 21 Comments

Donuts, roadmaps, and Android 2.0

For several months we heard the chant, “Where’s my cupcake?”.  Rumors and leaks were rampant as everyone tried to guess the official release date of the Android 1.5 build.  After many delays, T-Mobile finally rolled out the update and the complainers took a break to enjoy their dessert.

The next treat on the Android menu is Donut, which was recently demonstrated at Google I/O.  New features include a system wide search, multilingual text-to-speech, and gesture input controls.

If you missed the presentation video, here is Romain Guy showing off the Donut build (starts about 3:30).

Multiple sites have been referring to Donut as Android 2.0, but that is not the case.  A few of the Android engineers have made this point clear:

“Just to set the record straight, there are currently no official version numbers for future versions of Android, so let’s please not call anything “2.0″ as nobody knows what that refers to.” – Jean-Baptiste Queru

“First of all there is no such thing as Android 2.0. Donut is Donut, that’s all. Then we never said Donut would not be supported on ADP1 or G1.” – Romain Guy

“We don’t know what android 2.0 will be.  We are doing all our work by pastry and someone on the marketing side makes up the version number later” – Mike Lockwood

So while Donut will be released this year, Android 2.0 is quite a few more pastries away in the future.  If you are wondering when Android 2.0 will drop, there is no answer in site.  Keep an eye on the official Android roadmap, but it hasn’t been updated since early 2009.

G1 Lifecycle

While we are on the subject of updates, let’s discuss the lifespan of the T-Mobile G1.  The phone should receive the Donut update, but there are concerns if it will be compatible with later Android builds.  The problem should be no surprise to heavy Android users – the G1 is limited by its small internal memory.

Already, we have seen this space issue become a problem for G1 owners trying to load Magic and Hero builds of Android.  Some roms require a new SPL, secondary program loader, which repartitions the internal storage to free up more space.  Other builds require that some data is loaded onto your SD card to make up for the limited space.  Either way, the phone must be hacked which doesn’t fly for an official T-Mobile update.

This point is again explained by more Android engineers:

“If the data doesn’t fit on /data, no amount of backup/restore will make it fit. It just doesn’t fit.  An upgrade can require to wipe /data, which is not acceptable on the G1″ – Jean-Baptiste Queru

“Also I think the chance that we deliver an OTA update to existing devices that repartitions the flash storage as part of the update is…  very small.” – Dianne Hackborn

With these physical limitations in place, the days of the G1 could be numbered.  HTC has addressed this issue in new phones by upping the internal memory, but where does that leave all the early adopters?  All we can do is wait and see what happens.

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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