Tag Archives: G1

Android Browser Using Extra Space? Check Gears!

I finally found out what’s been taking up so much space on the Android web browser on my G1: Gears!

Whenever the low-on-space warning* icon shows up on the phone, I open up the list of applications. Then I sort it by size, look for the largest apps that I don’t use anymore, and start uninstalling.

“Browser” is always high on the list, but it’s all data. While I could free up the space by telling it to clear everything, I want to hang onto things like bookmarks. Each time the icon popped up, I’d go back to the app, open up More and then Settings, and clear the cache, or the history, or cookies**, one category at a time.

Then I’d go back to the App list and it would still be using up several megabytes of space.

Yesterday, it occurred to me to check the Gears settings. Months ago, I’d set up two WordPress blogs with Turbo mode, which uses Gears as a permanent cache for the admin area. It’s great on a desktop or laptop with lots of local space and a slow or flaky Internet connection. But it wasn’t helping me much, because…

  • WordPress Turbo Mode is only really useful if you use the rich-text editor, which I don’t.
  • On the phone, I rarely manage either blog through the browser anyway. I usually use WordPress for Android (formerly wpToGo).
  • The files it stores take up a whole megabyte — per blog! (possibly more, depending on how the file system stores them.)

So I removed both sites from Gears, along with a couple of other sites that I’d added, but didn’t need anymore, and freed up about 3 MB.

It should be a while before I see that low-space icon again, and I shouldn’t have to ration my installed apps quite so closely!

*This wouldn’t be a problem if they’d given the G1 enough memory for apps in the first place, or if they’d let us install apps to the SD card (where I still have gigabytes of free space), or if I were willing to root my phone, or if I’d just bite the bullet and buy a Nexus One.

**I’d really like to be able to selectively delete cookies — or rather, to selectively keep a few cookies and delete the rest — but that’s another issue.

CDN Breakdown=Bad. Best Buy Mobile Site=Good

One minor rant, and one success story, sort of connected.

The rant: My internet connection is acting kind of flaky tonight. Actually, the connection is fine, but it isn’t talking to some content delivery network(s). All the small-time websites load perfectly, but a lot of the larger ones either aren’t loading at all or are taking ridiculously long. I can load the Facebook timeline, for instance, since that’s dynamically generated…but it took 20 minutes for it to load a handful of static 16×16 pixel buttons for things like sharing links. *grumble*

On the other end of things, I had a great experience with Best Buy’s mobile website earlier today. I’m not sure I’ve ordered anything from BestBuy.com in years. The last thing I can think of was my first decent digital camera…in 2003. Usually if I’m going to buy from them I just walk into the store.

Meanwhile, despite owning my G1 for almost a year, I’ve never actually used it to buy anything that I can recall. Lots of research (ShopSavvy, plus various stores’ websites), but no actual purchases. I decided I wanted to see if I could place an order using just my phone, and it was extremely easy to:

  • Find the item
  • Add it to the cart
  • Select a store for local pickup
  • Update my billing address
  • Place the order

The only real sticking points were:

  • Store locations only listed cities. Fortunately, I could just hit a “map” button and they loaded in the phone’s Google Maps app.
  • I had to reset my password, since it had been so long. Since I have POP access to that account, that meant waiting a few minutes for the whole mailbox to download before I could open the message with the new temporary password. Then I had to write it down because K-9 doesn’t seem to support copying text from incoming mail.

Other than that, everything was not only possible using the Android browser, it was streamlined. If I hadn’t needed to update my address and reset my password, I could have been done in two minutes flat. Maybe three once you factor in typing in the credit card info.

I had a harder time posting a link on Facebook tonight — on my desktop — than ordering something on my phone!

G1: No Android 2 for You!

Okay, I get it. By buying the first device of its kind (i.e. an Android-powered smartphone), I’m an early adopter. In a sense I was helping out in a massive public beta as Google, mobile phone carriers, and handset manufacturers worked out the kinks in the design and realized things like, “Oh, we really do need more memory than that, don’t we?”

But it’s still annoying to read the early reports that Android 2.0 “Eclair” won’t fit on the G1.

We have done this dance before, when rumors surfaced that the G1 wouldn’t be able to handle Android 1.6 “Donut.” Fortunately, engineers managed to squeeze it into the space available, and T-Mobile sent out Donut as an OTA (over the air) update to MyTouch and G1 devices alike. But I’ve had time to think about the issue, and my thoughts basically come down to this:

  • New software eventually reaches a point when it can no longer support old hardware. You can’t run Snow Leopard on a G4 or Windows 7 on a Pentium II.
  • When the hardware is usually tied to a fixed-term service contract (in this case, 2 years), the provider really ought to fully support it for the length of that contract. The G1 launched 1 year ago with (in most cases) a 2-year contract.
  • Even if this is the last major update, my phone is still better now than it was when I bought it.

It will be very nice if history repeats itself, and Google and/or T-Mobile finds a way to cram Eclair onto the G1. Even if it means dropping the convenience of OTA updates and instead requiring you to download it to a PC and update over a USB cable. More likely, though, they’ll freeze the G1 on Android 1.6 except for bugfix and security updates, and it’ll be up to unofficial distributions like cyanogen to bring a newer OS to the older phone.

Because I don’t really want to mess with rooting my phone and installing a third-party distribution, if this is the end of the line for the G1, well…Android 2 has some really nice features that I’d really like to be able to use, but nothing that screams “must have!” The only real worry I have at this point is that app developers might start requiring newer versions of Android.

The other option: buy a newer phone. I’ll probably want to do that anyway in a year or so, but I’m not there yet. It still feels like I just got this one.

Update (February 26): It turns out the G1 will get Android 2.1 after all, but will probably require wiping the phone. That makes sense, because it would allow developers to reassign some of the space set aside for over-the-air updates and use it for a larger system instead — and maybe more space for apps.

Android FTW!

  • Wasn’t aware there was a Sidekick outage. My T-Mobile G1 has been working just fine. Score one for Android! #
  • Wasn’t planning to have a donut today, but T-Mobile just sent Android 1.6 to my phone. #

I’ve had this phone almost a year now, and it’s actually a better phone now than it was when I bought it! How cool is that?