May 18 AT 1:55 AM Taylor Wimberly 7 Comments

#AskAndy – Your Android Questions Answered Volume 4

Welcome to the fourth edition of #AskAndy where we aim to answer all your Android related questions.  I would like to make this a weekly column, but it will only be successful if you continue to send in your questions.  Thank you to everyone who submitted a tweet this week.  Again I have chosen 10 questions to answer and we will try to cover the ones we missed in the coming weeks.  If your question did not get answered, you can submit it again or leave a comment here for help.

I wanted to give a special thanks to @TornadoTexan who has been very active in attempting to help other Android users.  As this week’s winner, we are sending you a $25 Gift Card.  Keep submitting your questions via Twitter because we will be giving out more Gift Cards each week to those who ask and answer questions.

If you would like to participate, you can search the #AskAndy tag on Twitter to see if there are any questions you might be able to answer.  We want to encourage community involvement and will be adding new features in the coming weeks to #AskAndy that will make it easier.  Soon we will be creating a dedicated Ask Andy section for the site, but in the mean time you can send responses via Twitter, from the contact page, or send email to andy (at)

Anyone that submits a detailed response to a question will receive full credit with a link back to your site.  If you have any suggestions on how we can improve #AskAndy, leave a comment.  Thanks again and keep the questions coming.

1. argylesocks @androidandme #askandy Is there anyway to keep Google Maps running in the background & updating my location in Latitude?

So far, the only way I have found to keep my location up to date is by manually forcing it to find me.  I open Maps and hit “My Location” which normally does the trick.  If that does not work, then go into the Latitude privacy settings to hide and then detect your location.

TornadoTexan found this Google support page that says this is a known issue and being worked on.

This is the intended behavior, however, there is a known issue where background location updates stop periodically on the Android devices, especially if you are using many other apps simultaneously. We’re in the process of working on releasing a fix for this issue so thank you for your patience. In the meantime, you may need to occasionally tap My Location from the Maps menu to restart background updates.

2. QDOG8 @androidandme do you know when the 1.5 OTA update will officially come out? #Cupcake #AskAndy

Phandroid posted the first screen shot of a cupcake OTA update back on April 30th.  A week after that T-Mobile finally announced on their forums that the update would begin May 11th.  That day came and went, then on May 12 Android Market Support sent an email to developers informing them the the Android 1.5 update was starting and “over the next few weeks, the percentage of devices running Android 1.5 will increase as devices get updated to the latest version of Android.”

The most recent rollout schedule I have seen was posted on Android Central.  They received a tip that T-Mobile would begin the rollout tomorrow May 18th.  This is the rumored release schedule:

  • 5% of Android Devices will receive the Android 1.5 Cupcake Update on Monday, May 18th
  • 15% on Tuesday, May 19th
  • 30% on Wednesday, May 20th
  • 45% on Thursday, May 21st
  • 60% on Friday, May 22nd
  • 75% on Saturday, May 23rd
  • 90% on Sunday, May 24th
  • 100% on Monday, May 25th

So basically, there has been much confusing over the actual release date and rollout schedule.  It is my opinion that this thing was kind of fumbled badly.  It would have helped if T-Mobile would be more transparent with the actual schedule in order to quiet all the noise across the web.

Of course, you could always decide to root your phone and flash a custom build of Android.  Then you get to decide your update schedule.

3. TornadoTexan #AskAndy after rooting my phone I restored my contacts from a backup I had made but now they aren’t showing on gmail. Can I get them back?

Your contacts should sync automatically in Gmail and the Dialer, but many users have reported sync issues.  I had quite a few myself with Gmail, but most of them appear to have been fixed in Android 1.5.

After searching all over the Google Mobile Help, I found the following troubleshooting guide for sync problems:

  1. Press your phone’s < Home > button, then press < Menu >.
  2. Select Settings and then Applications.
  3. Select Manage applications.
  4. Select Gmail Storage and then select Clear data. Answer OK when prompted.
  5. Return to the list of applications by pressing the < Back > key.
  6. Select Gmail and then select Clear data. Answer OK when prompted.
  7. Restart your phone (Press and hold the < End call > button, then select Power off. Press < End call > to power on).

Your phone will re-sync with the server after restarting (this may take several minutes).

That appears to have worked for some people, but I still see many cases of sync errors.  I suggest reporting any unresolved problems to the Google Mobile Help page so they are aware of how many people have problems.

4. treebykooba @androidandme are there any batteries you can buy that are better than the original? do they actually work that good? #AskAndy

If you are looking for a longer lasting battery, you have two options to choose from.  You can get a same sized battery with a higher capacity, or buy one of the jumbo sized versions that more than doubles the original.  The downfall of the larger batteries is that most cases and accessories will no longer fit with the increased bulk.

The HTC G1 comes with a 1150 mAh.  The largest battery you can purchase is the Seidio Innocell 2600 mAh for $52.95.  If you are looking for an original sized battery with a bigger punch, Seido also offers a 1400 mAh extended life battery for $40.90.  If you are trying to go cheap, you can find a 1200 mAh battery for 0.89 made by HTC.0.89 m0.89 from0.89 0.890.0l.

5. therealjorge @androidandme is there a non-geek-speak explanation to teach rooted G1 users to install and run apps on the sd card? #AskAndy

I am not ready to approve a non-geek method for installing apps to the SD card, but we are very close.  MarcusMaximus has released a new version of AppstoSD 2 on the Market that is attempting to address these issues.  The latest version downloads the sdsplit script to your phone which allows you to partition the SD card without typing any commands.

I tested the new version out, but I’m a newb myself and ruined the partitions of my 8GB card.  Thankfully, you can reformat your SD card from the G1 menu settings to repair it.  If you would like to try it out at your own risk, make sure you read the full instructions.  With continued feedback, the bugs should get worked out and the app can be made more idiot proof.

When I feel comfortable enough with the app and the recovery process, I plan to post a guide geared towards the novice user.  Stay tuned for details.

6. dbuffini Does @androidandme or anyone else know if the G1 now supports Stereo Bluetooth? I know it claims to, but has anyone made it work? #askandy

Yes, the new Android 1.5 update adds A2DP stereo bluetooth.  I have no bluetooth headphones, so I have not tested it out.  I’ve seen some readers with bluetooth headphones and we plan to post some reviews soon.

7. therealjorge @androidandme Is 1.5 going to offer a simpler way to do a screenshot for those of us too hesitant to root our G1s? #askandy

No, there is not a built in screenshot feature.  The best option that does not require root access is to install the SDK and use the Davlik Debug monitor to capture the screen.  In the coming days, I will post a full guide on all the required steps.  I believe I have also seen some of the home replacement apps like aHome are starting to include this feature.

I’ve posted the link several times, but The Rebeldroid has a YouTube video up that demonstrates how to use DDMS to capture screens.

8. nateblackest @androidandme my g1 hangs loading my homescreen when I hit the key, I’ve deleted all non essential apps, are there caches to clear? #askandy

The most common cause of degraded performance is normally low internal storage space.  When you run out of room, your phone sometimes pauses in order to automatically clear out Market and Browser caches.  Uninstall as many apps as possible that you no longer use.  If you are still experiencing problems, you can always do a factory reset by going to Settings > SD card & phone storage > Factory data reset.  This of course erases all data so make sure you backup first.

If you wish to manually clear out caches, you can go to Settings > Application settings > Manage applications.  This will allow you to pick and choose which caches are cleared.

I’ve also experienced slow performance when I had multiple home replacement apps installed at the same time.

9. itradio #AskAndy (this is a joke… Maybe) When will Android have an App that will tell me exactly what I want for lunch? lol

nExSoftware:  The Where app has a function that picks at random a place to eat that is “near” you.

10. Amabacha @androidandme #askandy How can I purchase an #Android Dev phone in South Africa?

After you sign up for an Android developer account, you can purchase the Android Developer Phone from a link in the console. The phone sells for $399.00 USD. You can find the order form at

Let Andy answer all your Android questions. #askandy on Twitter.

Let Andy answer all your Android questions. #askandy on Twitter.

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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  • Brent

    I really look forward to your AskAndy guides. I stay on top of all things Android, at least the best I can. I’m by no means an expert, I just feel I’m fairly well informed. That is … until I read your weekly AskAndys. I always learn something new each and every time. Keep up the great work, and please consider doing it 2 or 3 times per week :)

    Seriously, with 1.5 about to hit everyone, it will be a lot like start over once again. There are apparently lots of changes to the underlying system that affect existing programs and developers.

    I’m currently using JF1.5 on my phone. I’ve tried all the others, and they are great too. I stuck with JF1.5 because it’s a matter of trust. His RC33 was legendary, and it just worked without a hitch. For the most part, that’s true of JF1.5 as well.

    One problem I have noticed with all the community builds is a problem connecting a computer to the phone. I’m not talking about through USB cable or ADB. That all works fine. What doesn’t work (at least for me) are PC programs that want to connect via WiFi to the phone. For example, SwiFTP, aFile (Discover), and other server-type programs.

    Up until any of the 1.5 versions, I’ve easily been able to run an FTP server on my phone and connect my computer to the server through WiFi. aFile (Discover), a very unique program that all served up files fairly well, well it has crapped out too. It seems that there has been a fundamental change in the base system that is preventing remote connections to the phone. Maybe the necessary ports are blocked, or maybe it’s just a corrupt file or something else in the IPTables. I have no idea there, I’m just tossing out potentials.

    If you are aware of anything I can do to make these type of programs work, I’d sure love to hear it ! It’s a function I’ve grown to love on RC33, and it’s a function I terribly miss on 1.5. I’ve spent countless hours wiping and re-installing and trying ever 1.5 community release that comes out. None seem to work.

    HELP ! Please.

    – Brent

    Dalvik-Cache to SD
    8gb Class 6 / 7.25 fat .75 ext2
    24 apps
    Debian on there too!
    And considering Ubuntu for kicks.

  • Justin

    Keep up the great work. I love this site!!!

  • Doppelganger

    @argylesocks: The app ‘tracks’ keeps your GPS location running in the background to record where you travel etc. I’m not sure how this will work with latitude as it is unavailable in the UK (go figure), however should at least keep the ‘my location’ updated.

    @nateblackest: I got my OTA ‘cupcake’ update a couple of weeks ago (we got it early in the UK) and it has more or less cured the home screen lag for me. It was so frequent that i was starting to hate my G1, however since the update i have only managed to lag it twice and even then the lag was very brief. Hopefully you will also feel renewed response time when 1.5 lands.

  • Doppelganger

    Correction, the app is called ‘My Tracks’

  • kyle

    I missed the questions earlier, but I have one. If you root your G1, can you go back to the TMobile versions in the future if you wanted to? Also, I heard rooting improves battery life, is that true?

  • therealjorge

    Just fyi, this is by far my favorite android site, and I visit tons of them. Thanks for all your help, it does a great deal of good for novices like myself. Just wanted to post that even though ‘cupcake’ didn’t make screenshots any easier to achieve, I was able to find a solution after rooting my phone. There’s a screenshot app in the market for rooted phones. Works perfectly for me. Thanks again for this site!

  • nick smith

    HHHHEEEEELLLLPPPPPP!!!!! I was using your guide to rooting. I was doing great til I noticed the update that says download DREAIMG.nbk to my computer first. obviously it was corrupted when i downloaded to my phone on the EGDE network. so i deleted it from the sd card. now the bootloader just say no image file. i cant get out of the bootloader and my phone is useless. please tell me u can help me. email me @ [email protected].