Got Cupcake, Here’s My First Take

I finally got the G1 1.5 “Cupcake” update on Saturday. Here are my thoughts on all of the improvements.

I found a list of every improvement on T-Mobile’s message board:

I copied and pasted all of the improvements below, and added my comments in bold, italic, & red.

User interface refinements

  • System-wide:
  • Refinement of all core UI elements
  • Animated window transitions (off by default)
  • Accelerometer-based application rotations

I didn’t think this would make such a difference. But I’m loving these improvements.

  • UI polish for:
  • In-call experience
  • Contacts, Call log, and Favorites
  • SMS & MMS
  • Browser
  • Gmail
  • Calendar
  • Email
  • Camera & Gallery
  • Application management

Like my last comment, these seemingly small tweaks make for a much better user experience.

Performance improvements

  • Faster Camera start-up and image capture
  • Much faster acquisition of GPS location (powered by SUPL AGPS)
  • Smoother page scrolling in Browser
  • Speedier GMail conversation list scrolling

I don’t see one single improvement in performance. GPS is still painfully slow to locate. The camera start up is much SLOWER if at all possible–but it does snap pictures faster if there is adequate lighting (still slow with low light). I don’t notice any difference in browser or GMail scrolling, although I never noticed them as being an issue for me (that’s good I guess).

New features

  • On-screen soft keyboard:
  • Works in both portrait and landscape orientation
  • Support for user installation of 3rd party keyboards
  • User dictionary for custom words

I don’t understand the craze. It’s ok, but my fat thumbs hit the wrong keys. I like the built in keyboard much better. It’s not that much extra time to slide the built in keyboard open to use.

  • Home screen:
  • Widgets: Bundled home screen widgets include: analog clock, calendar, music player, picture frame, and search
  • Live folders

I like the Calendar widget, but it doesn’t have any customization features. The music player widget is nice too. All in all these make the phone that much more complete and easy to use/customize.

  • Camera & Gallery:
  • Video recording
  • Video playback (MPEG-4 & 3GP formats)

This is a welcome addition. Like the camera, the video takes long to boot up, which is ok. I don’t know if it’s my phone or not, but sound recording is horrible. Not only on this app, but other sound recording apps as well.

  • Bluetooth:
  • Stereo Bluetooth support (A2DP and AVCRP profiles)
  • Auto-pairingImproved handsfree experience

I haven’t messed with Bluetooth yet.

  • Browser:
  • Updated with latest Webkit browser & Squirrelfish Javascript engines
  • Copy ‘n paste in browser
  • Search within a page
  • User-selectable text-encoding
  • UI changes include:
  • Unified Go and Search box
  • Tabbed bookmarks/history/most-visited screen

I can’t seem to figure out how to use the copy and paste. The bookmark improvements are nice–all it needs now is a way to better sort and/or label.

  • Contacts
  • Shows user picture for Favorites
  • Specific date/time stamp for events in call log
  • One-touch access to a contact card from call log event

The one touch access is a major improvement. Now I can save incoming call to contacts much easier than before.

  • System
  • New Linux kernel (version 2.6.27)
  • SD card filesystem auto-checking and repair
  • SIM Application Toolkit 1.0

I’ll take their word for it. I don’t know how to tell if this stuff improved the phone or not.

  • Google applications
  • View Google Talk friends’ status in Contacts, MMS, GMail, and Email applications
  • Batch actions such as archive, delete, and label on Gmail messages
  • Upload videos to YouTube
  • Upload photos on Picasa

They had an app to upload to Picasa before, but it’s nice now that it’s built in. Like that you can upload straight to YouTube. I did a quick test and YouTube uploading is quick and painless. The improvements to the GMail app are great.