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

    Most Tweeted This Week

  • roy

    How big of a deal is this really? The cupcake update didn’t take up so much storage, but it added a great amount of new features and functionality… if donut and all other updates continue to be like this, then we won’t be in trouble for a while, right?

  • Steve

    I have a G1 and am with T-Mobile in the UK. I had to sign up for a 2 year contract to get this phone. I love it but the internal memory (and as a result the speed) sucks. I just hope T-Mobile offer the same deal to us as O2 gave iPhone users, and allow people to upgrade to a new Android based phone and extend your contract.

    • Pat

      You can. I just did it. I was able to buy the MyTouch at 199.00 and extend my contract back up to 2 years.

  • xian

    It is not just the internal storage memory, but the ram. The G1 *only* has 64 meg of ram. I would not be sad to get a new device in a year, but so far what sold me on the G1 (physical keyboard, hardware buttons such as mouse ball) seem to be unavailable on other platforms.

  • mr man

    It would be real nice if they found a way to use a partition on the sd card as a temp memory soloution

  • Pingback: Lördagsnotiser i korta drag | Swedroid()

  • talbot

    i was thinking about this the other day, if there was another SD slot inside the phone (like near the sim card) that could act as swap space and official apps2sd support. a 256mb chip would be plenty, but it’d have to be replaceable due to the higher risk of failure with so much activity.

    i’m with xian on what sold me on the G1 in the first place, but i think i’d be alot more upset to have to give up my physical keyboard in future updates. keep the same design just thinner and more sturdy.

  • http://twitter.com/rickyrescue Ricky

    I couldn’t concentrate, the Romanian Guy is just so hot. :)
    I rather have that than a donut. ;)

  • Pingback: Donuts non sarà Android 2.0 | AndroidWorld.it()

  • Mosquito

    I’m sorry, I’m still a bit confused, you guys said

    “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.”

    So what is the difference between Donut being released and Android 2.0 being released? Are pastries mini-releases to users and versions large releases?

  • http://organizedfellow.com organizedfellow

    Does the YouTube video play for everyone?
    My G1 can’t open the link.

    As for the lifecycle of the G1: since so many devices will be released by the end of this year, I just hope future models become cheaper. Android fans who always want the newest model will get screwed on T-Mobile upgrades :( I haven’t qualified for an upgrade in years.

  • Pingback: Donut no será la versión 2.0 de Android | Android, móviles android, htc magic, htc dream, htc hero, información android()

  • http://www.alexaesthetics.com alex aesthetics

    @organizedfellow the youtube vid didnt show up on my g1 either & also, with the iphone being sold for 199$ & 99$… i wonder how that will affect the pricing of other mobile devices. having phones retail near 400$-300$ still when the leading mobile device retails for 200$-100$ seems stupid for any company that wants to keep their customers.

    • thescarletnecklace

      That’s supply and demand for you. I’m sure once Android gets more popular, the devices will be much cheaper.

      • Tony

        if that were always true, the iphone would be 99 cents!!

  • Pingback: Google: ‘Donut staat niet voor Android 2.0′ > Nieuws > Androidplanet.nl()

  • Pingback: Android » Android Donut nie na Era G1?()

  • Melony

    I agree, if the Iphone is sold for 100 – 200 being the best phone on the market, then tmobile needs to come correct with the new android phone pricing.
    I have a g1 and if the days are numbere due to lack of building then we should be able to upgrade @ no cost and just extend the contract. It’s just a rip off to sell a high priced phone that will go extinct in a year or so. Why do we have to pay the cost for errors made by the makers?

  • Pingback: Android and Me()

  • Pingback: Android and Me()

  • Somebody

    All of the problems presented regarding this kind of updating are easily solved.

    First off, the partitioning. Google people have repeatedly made mention of the OTA updates needing to be kept internal in the /cache partition for reliability purposes. This is a load of horse crap;

    - check sdcard for required space.
    - if sufficient space, disable the “unmount” option, reserve space, download update, install from sdcard.
    - if not sufficient space, do nothing.

    So we have 3 partitions that we can play with; /system, /cache, and /data. With the elimination of /cache, /system can be doubled. Lets not worry about /data at this point, leaving a HUGE amount of space for updates.

    How to:
    This is a multi-stage process;
    1) backup /data partition to sdcard and install new SPL with new partitioning

    ##HAIRY SPOT HERE## — what do you do if the user removes sdcard at this point and maybe deletes everything from it? DUH! The SPL allows installation of signed system images from sdcard. If they do something stupid, give them the link to the update.zip and tell them to put it on the sdcard.

    2) reboot
    3) new SPL begins update from sdcard
    4) restore backed-up /data partition to same-size /data partition on device.

    *nothing has changed in the overall system except that /system is doubled.

    OPTION #2:
    Forget about the /cache partition altogether. Don’t bother repartitioning, just reassign the purpose. Mount the filesystem at /system/app instead of /cache and make /cache a link to /data/cache. DONE.

    Seems to me that google is quite resistant to this. They don’t just fail to do anything, they actively come out and say that it can’t be done. B.S. There are three directories where installed app data exists; /data/app, /data/data, /data/dalvik-cache. Let the launching mechanisms also read /sdcard/apps/app, /sdcard/apps/data, /sdcard/apps/dalvik-cache. User account for each app should be stored in an encrypted database within the sdcard and should be a specific range of userids that can never conflict with the internal userids. You are guaranteed that app and userid integrity is maintained by the user database encryption, you are guaranteed no conflict by restricted userid ranges. Yes there are other issues, but come-on — ask me and I’ll answer them ALL.