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T-Mobile Readies Android Update For G1

Bellevue, Wash. – Over-the-air uploads by T-Mobile USA of an updated Android OS will give G1 smartphone users an on-screen QWERTY keyboard, video recording and playback, a home screen with widgets, and a variety of other new features and improvements.

T-Mobile expects to upload Google’s Android 1.5 OS to all users of the 3G phone by the end of May. The phone, which features touchscreen and slide-out hard QWERTY keyboard, was launched last October with Google’s open-source OS.

Other new Android features include Bluetooth and stereo Bluetooth, auto pairing, ability to upload photos to Picasa and videos to YouTube, and the ability to view Google Talk friends’ status in Contacts, SMS, MMS,

GMail, and Email applications. Other new features include support for user installation of third-party virtual keyboards, a user dictionary for custom words, and ability to copy and paste from the web browser.

Performance improvements include faster camera start-up and image capture, faster assisted-GPS location acquisition, smoother page scrolling in the browser, and speedier scrolling of the GMail conversation list.

User-interface changes include a Unified Go and Search box, tabbed bookmarks, and one-touch access to a contact card from a call log event.

The video playback feature uses the MPEG-4 and 3GP formats.

The Android announcement coincided with the release of T-Mobile USA’s first-quarter financials, which showed the number of net new subscribers fell 42 percent to 415,000 in the first quarter compared with the year-ago quarter. Net income also declined, dropping to $322 million from the year-ago $462 million, but service revenues were up 4 percent to $4.8 billion, with data revenues up 23 percent.

The company said the results reflect the U.S. economic downturn but said it would cope with the challenge by expanding its 3G footprint, expanding its selection of 3G phones, and reducing its cost base.