Android Update This Week, More Devices Soon

Google Inc.’s Android mobile operating system will push out an update this week to T-Mobile USA’s more than 1 million G1 users. Meanwhile, new devices are coming soon to take advantage of the OS.

Codenamed Cupcake, but officially known as Google Android 1.5, the OTA update will offer a slate of new features, including:

  • Animated window transitions
  • Accelerometer
  • Faster camera startup and image capture
  • Faster acquisition of GPS location
  • On-screen virtual keyboard
  • Home screen widgets
  • Video recording and playback
  • Stereo Bluetooth
  • Copy and paste
  • The ability to view Google Talk friends’ status in contacts, SMS, MMS and Gmail
  • Picasa photo uploads
  • YouTube video uploads

Android is gaining steam, with Strategy Analytics predicting it to grow by 900 percent in 2009. That’s because the industry will see an expansion beyond the T-Mobile G1 into new devices later this year.

There should be a lot of new devices: The OS is being embraced by vendors like Motorola Inc. and operators ranging from Verizon Wireless to Voadafone plc.

T-Mobile plans to introduce three new Android-based devices in the second half of the year, it told GigaOM. And, Android netbook rumors have swirled, saying that HTC, Dell and Acer are all working on Android-based netbooks. Also, Rogers Wireless in Canada has announced that it will launch two Google Android-powered handsets in the coming months.

Android’s “relatively low-cost licensing model, its semi-open-source structure and Google’s support for cloud services have encouraged companies such as HTC, Motorola, Samsung, T-Mobile, Vodafone and others to support the Android operating system,” said Neil Mawston, director at Strategy Analytics. “Android is now in a good position to become a top-tier player in smartphones over the next two to three years.”

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