May 28 AT 3:27 PM Taylor Wimberly 16 Comments

Android Dev Team Responds To Your Most Asked Questions

Yesterday we attended the Android Fireside Chat that included several members of the dev team.  The audience was allowed to submit questions via Google moderator and we were able to sneak in the top 3 issues I hear readers talking about.  The following is my summary of the questions and answers.

Will we ever see apps installed to the SD card officially supported?

There are no plans to support this feature in the next major release(codenamed Donut), but the team recognizes the demand for this.  There are still several technical hurdles to overcome before this is a reality.  It sounds like they are not sure which road they will take.

Currently, users have been partitioning their SD cards to create a seperate linux partition.  They talked about the possibility of creating a seperate file system inside of a folder on the SD card.  This would avoid the need to create a new partition, but they still expressed concern over what happens when the SD card is ejected.

Personally, I don’t think we will see this supported for a long time.  Many new phones are going with an increased internal memory to avoid this problem.  G1 owners are likely stuck with their limited spaced.

When is multi-touch coming to Android?

The Android team wants to support multi-touch, but no current hardware has the full functionality.  There was no mention of any rumors that Apple blocked this feature so I think we can lay that to rest.  It is simply a matter of having the displays available.

There is a hack released in some of the custom Android builds, but this is not true multi-touch.  The only use of the hack is for pinch zoom.  For a more detailed explanation of this, see Luke Hutchison’s blog post about the original hack.  To summarize, the G1 will never have true multitouch because of the hardware limitations and this feature was not blocked by Apple.

What do you think about rooting/hacking the G1?

The dev team acknoledged that users will hack their phones no matter what.  They would rather make the process easier in order to prevent people from bricking their phones.  They have encouraged the handset OEMs to ship bootloaders that allow custom flashing and believe this will cut down on false defective returns.  It was also mentioned that Google has made no effort to block the hacked phones so there should be no worry about ever losing root access to your G1.

One of our readers Dylan was with us and captured this video about the root question.  If you listen closely you can hear one of the guys say they read the XDA forums.

Android Dev Team on Root at Google I/O 2009 from Dylan Andersen on Vimeo.

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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  • Mike

    Seems like the questions were not answered or should i say not gonna happen?

  • Brent

    One, two or all of them may be “reading” XDA, but they obviously are “listening”.

    I know it’s no small feat for amateur developers to accomplish some of these hacks, but when, in reality, the hacks are indeed accomplishable (with trial, error, and for the most, semi decent results), there is no excuse for the Android Dev Team to not incompass as much AND as many of these hacks into the basic OS as possible.

    Users are taking to hacking their phones, that’s adding risks and returns, we’re 8 months+ into the general release of the initial offering, and they’ve had time to come up with reasonable solutions for basic things like Apps2SD. A little popup warning, a flush to bring the phone down to core functionality when the card is ejected, etc., that would pretty much solve that. Pinch is better than nothing at all. SnapPhoto addresses a lot of the camera complaints. HTC (and some amateur builds) has Exchange working beautifully. Lots of junk (wallpapers, ringtones, notifications for example) could easily be offloaded to the sdcard sans one black wallpaper and one “ding” to make the phone function without the card(especially considering that’s where music and camera photos go), etc., all to free to up a little more room for a couple more apps.

    Simple little things need to be addessed, can be addressed, and would all work a long way to keep their user base much happier.

    It seems like G1 has been relegated to the dust bin to make room for the 18+ new Android devices about to hit in coming months. An 8 month life cycle is unreleastic when T-Mo locks you into 22 or so months with your phone.

    If this continues on the path it’s currently taking, T-Mo and Google better start making plans to offer highly discounted upgrades to every G1 owner the moment it’s predacessor(s) hit the market … otherwise I expect T-Mobile to experience much the same as those tire stores in the tv commercials where the old lady flings a tire she’s unhappy with through the plate-glass windows. “If you’re unhappy with our one of our (products), feel free to bring it back”. Humm.

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  • nEx.Software

    The way that I see it is that the biggest problem with the hacking that is going on at XDA is that it’s not being sent back upstream to the base Android platform. From the sessions at I/O, tt seemed like the core engineers are hoping that that will happen, since that was one of the reasons the system was open sourced in the first place.

    • Clark Wimberly

      Yes, at nearly every chance they got the invited anyone and everyone to make fixes, submit patches, etc. They want the help and are willing to check the changes into the official tree (they even did that live during a session on day two).

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  • Brian

    Given that the G1 devices are receiving an OTA update of the same cupcake/1.5 based build that’s shipping on the Magic, I’m a bit puzzled about the belief that somehow G1 is being left behind or “relegated to the dust bin”.

  • EliteMobileGames

    Is there an interactive G1 on the internet like is for the iPhone? I want to test out the new G1 but don’t know anyone who has one.

  • marcusmaximus

    Gah! Here’s hoping they never carry through with that idea of mounting the linux partition to a loopback file(what they were talking about with storing it on a special file on the sd). That opens up a gigantic security hole since there are no permissions on the FAT32 file system so any app with 0 permissions can freely modify any and all of the apps stored on the loopback file and replace them with malicious versions.

    For example, if someone had the bank of america app, they could replace it with something that looks exactly the same but silently records the users bank information and sends it to the creator of the virus.

    We at xda-developers thought of doing exactly that idea and abandoned it because of the huge security hole it opened up.

  • RKM

    Is there any API available for accessing Youtube Movies from Android phone?

  • MontyMoose

    WIth all the bickering has anyone an answer?
    Obviously the G1 will quickly go the way of the dinosaur or something will be done
    What I cannot understand is that its the service we pay for that makes T-Mobil money and most techies will switch away if they cannot use the larger memory cards

    What about it T-Mobile.. put your effort into pleasing users or the spigot will be turned off

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