I had a chance to try Android’s latest firmware update, codenamed Cupcake on my G1, and after only a day of usage, I’m pleased to say Cupcake’s a sweet update to the mobile OS that really fills in some holes.
The two marquee Cupcake features are the touchscreen keyboard and video camera, but I’m most excited about the Gmail client upgrades that catch it up to the recent mobile webapp update. A subtle overhaul of Android’s entire look and feel, performance increases, and quite a few other niceties put the icing on Cupcake. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)
Screenshots ahead cover Cupcakes updates to the Gmail client, text messaging capabilities, and browser.
First things first: the “soft” touchscreen keyboard won’t be a big deal to G1 owners who are used to the flip-out full keyboard, but it does come in handy when you want to text message quickly in portrait mode. Just tap a text area to enable the keyboard, which suggests words as you type. You can enable a satisfying old-school typing sound as you tap, and like the iPhone, tapping and holding keys like e and a offer other options (like the letters with various accents).
My favourite part of Android, the native Gmail client, also got an update that catches it up to the recent mobile webapp makeover.
The labelling interface also updated from less intuitive + and – signs to regular old checkboxes. The Cupcake version is on the left; compare to the 1.1 firmware label UI on the right.
The Settings area of Android also got a few more options, menu items, and filters.
Update: Reader Aaron points out that you can indeed quit a running process by clicking on it, scrolling down, and hitting the “Force stop” button. Thanks Aaron!
I’m still a happy Android user after switching from the iPhone to it a few months back. Cupcake is a solid update to the mobile OS, and should get pushed out to all phones in the coming weeks. Here’s the official (and strangely incomplete) Cupcake changelog. Thanks Viss!