Android FAQ

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(Q: Not having root sucks. Any progress on a fix?)
(Q: I was wondering if there are physical stores you can walk into and buy one of those phones?)
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===Q: I was wondering if there are physical stores you can walk into and buy one of those phones?===
===Q: I was wondering if there are physical stores you can walk into and buy one of those phones?===
A: Nope, sorry.
A: Nope, sorry.
===Q: Does the G1 have a compass in it, i thought it did.. but I couldn't figure out how to launch it?
A: Yes, it has a built in digital compass. You will however need to install an application that uses the compass.
===Q: Will the Android Developer Phone 1 work on AT&T's network?===
===Q: Will the Android Developer Phone 1 work on AT&T's network?===

Revision as of 20:28, 9 December 2008

Please note, that this is basically a working draft... It's probably gonna take me a week or so before it is in any shape. (need next weekend) (I need to grep through the IRC logs for question marks). :)

In the mean time if you ask a question on IRC, and get an answer, feel free to add it and the answer to the Unsorted section of the FAQ. If not you may get lucky by adding it to the unanswered questions section.



Q: What is the target audience of this FAQ?

A: Well considering that most of these questions were asked on, I would say visitors to #android. However, it's really for anyone who has serious technical interest in the Android platform.

Q: How do I get my questions about Android answered?

A: There is a list of mailing lists here: Also you can try IRC ( Also the xda-developers mailing list has a lot of Android discussion.

Q: What Android related IRC Channels are there?

A: #android and #android-dev (Both on Also saurik is hosting:

Q: What is infobot?

A: An IRC bot that collects a lot of "interesting", and occasionally (rarely) useful information. Be aware, infobot sits on many IRC channels... and logs: (Update: infobot has been banned from #android.)

Q: Is this the canonical FAQ regarding Android?

A: Absolutely not. Check the following:

Application Development

Q: Are there any videos for developers?

A: See

Q: Is python available for Android?

A: See Jythonroid

Q: How do I switch orientation in the emulator?

A: Numpad 7 will do it.


Q: Is there a web interface to the Android market?

A: Sorta. See:

Q: Is there a way to see the marketplace comments on the web (without a phone)?

A: Not currently, but trust us - you aren't missing much.

Q: Why does the Market take up 14 MB on the G1?

A: Bug caching code needs cleanup. Android team is aware, and plans to fix.

Q: When will I be able to buy apps from the Market?

A: According to this CNET article, developers will be able to charge for applicaitons starting "early in the first quarter 2009".


Q: Are there any IRC clients?

A: ircbeta.apk

Q: Are there any decent ssh clients?

A: ConnectBot rocks. It is available in the market. If you want to run a prerelease version or play with the source check here:

Q: Any reason K-9 is a fork instead of contributing back to the core email app?

A: Long story. Short version is, we're trying.

Q: The Adobe flash player still hasn't come out yet right?

A: Nope. It is unclear whether or not there ever will be a Flash player.

Q: Is there a PDF reader for Android?

A: Yes. Check out

Devices: Developer Devices

Q: What is this I heard about an Android Developer Device?

A: It has been said (by infobot) that devphones is a phone with magical powers and will make all your wildest dreams come true. You can read about them here: - in order to buy one, you have to pay a $25 to be in the "developer club" and then you can get into the back room where they keep them behind a curtain of lava. very expensive to ship outside the US, or sporting this:, or ...

Q: What is the difference between the G1 and the Android Developer Phone 1?

A: The differences are cosmetic, radio lock configuration, and bootloader. Cosmetic differences consist of the removal of T-Mobile branding and a new etched back design

Q: Why is shipping so expensive to my country for the Android Developer Phone 1?

A: Quoting from help page on ordering side: "For Orders shipping outside the US, shipping pricing includes cost of shipping service and the applicable customs, duties, import and country specific other fees."

Q: I was wondering if there are physical stores you can walk into and buy one of those phones?

A: Nope, sorry.

===Q: Does the G1 have a compass in it, i thought it did.. but I couldn't figure out how to launch it? A: Yes, it has a built in digital compass. You will however need to install an application that uses the compass.

Q: Will the Android Developer Phone 1 work on AT&T's network?

A: Yes, however, like the T-Mobile G1, it is not compatible with AT&T's 3G network. (You will be limited to EDGE speeds).

Devices: T-Mobile G1

Q: I've heard that magnetic flaps on cell phone cases mess up the G1's compass. Is this True?

A: Short answer, it does cause short term issues with compass, long term is unknown. Better safe than sorry. See here for more details:

Q: What is the egl library on the G1?

A: (Currently only used by apps using opengl at the moment (since the current version doesn't do multiple context support))

Q: What processor does the G1 use?

A: The Qualcomm MSM7201A RISC Chipset:

Q: BTW, are other HTC's power adapters working on the G1?

A: Any USB power adapter should work.

Q: Can I get an adapter that lets me listen to the G1, while still charging it?

A: Google for: "3 in 1 USB 11 pin Adapter for HTC TOUCH MOGUL PPC6800"

Q: What is the latest version of the G1 firmware?

A: See

Q: Is the G1 supposed to fall back to 2G if 3G is not available?

A: Yes it will fall back to EDGE if 3G is not available? The current implementation seems a bit buggy, however.

Q: Not having root sucks. Any progress on a fix?

A: Yes. If you are running a G1 with rc29 or lower, you can use an exploit. See: Rooting Android. If you are running rc30 or above you are currently out of luck. Buy an Android Developer Device if you really want/need root.

Q: Whats the price for the G1 for developers?

A: Same as for anyone else. You may want to investigate the Android Developer Phone 1 instead.

Q: Does the T-Mobile G1 support VOIP?

A: No, and it probably never officially will. From an interview with the CEO of T-Mobile: "When I talked to Cole Brodman, the CTO of T-Mobile, after the event about what would stop something like Skype from designing a program that could run on the phone, negating the need for a massive voice plan, he said he had "worked with Google" to make sure Android couldn't run VOIP."

Devices: Ports

Q: What devices has Android been ported to?

A: List in progress. See the following projects for status:

Q: If I'm interested in porting Android to a new device or architecture where should I go?

A: There is an android-porting mailing list.

Q: Is there there are any x86 port of Android?

A: Yes but it hasn't been published yet. As a note, the Asus Eee has been mentioned as a target for the x86 port.


Q: How do I leave the bootloader?


Q: What is fastboot?

A: A reflash protocol for android devices, or source code at, or cheat sheet at

Q: How do I clear my notification bar?

A: Pull down the notification bar using a top to bottom finger swipe (like a windows shade), then hit the clear notifications soft button.

Q: Is there an easy way to disable gmail checking?

A: It's in setting, see settings -> data synchronization.

Q: Is there a way to make a shortcut to disabling Gmail sync?

A: Using anycut you can make a link to the sync settings

Q: What browser does Android ship with?

A: It's a browser based on the open source Webkit engine, which is the same engine used by Apple's Safari browser.

Q: What filesystems does G1/Android natively support?

A: YAFFS, vFat (FAT32)

Q: Does android have any native video codecs?

A: Hardware acceleration is available for h264 at certain bitrates. (link needed with specs)

Q: What is RGB565?

A: The file format for splash screens. You probably want to create a 320x480 image. It is unsupported by any other image software, so the only way to create one is to start with a raw rgb888 file (8-bit raw, the default format in gimp or photoshop when saving as "raw image") and run it through rgb2565. Alternatively, you can save as a png and then run this script by RyeBrye on it (assumes you have working ImageMagick as well as a compiled version of rgb2565 in your path.) If you run rgb2565 with no flags, it will create an uncompressed rgb565 file which should be exactly 307200 bytes. This file can be used for replacing the initial screen you see when you start up the phone, which is done by flashing it via fastboot (details here). If, instead, you specify the -rle flag, rgb2565 will compress the image using a simple RLE algorithm. This file can be placed in the root of your boot image and named initlogo.rle, and it will show up after the initial boot screen but before the animated android screen (details here). Do not attempt to use rle compressed files to flash the initial boot screen. See;a=tree;f=tools/rgb2565 to look at source.

Q: So if i put the on the sd, it will automatically load that?

A:Nope. You have to tell it to load it manually (see Forcing OTA Updates)

Q: How do you turn off the GPS/3g network device to save battery life?

A: In the settings, accessible by pressing menu on the home screen

Q: Hey I want to get an Android shirt. Where can I get one?


Q: How do I save browser downloads to the SD Card?

A: Download it, the only place you can save downloads is the SD Card.

Q: Is the UI based on X-Windows?

A: No


Q: Is there any information on creating themes for the window manager in the sdk?


Q: Is there any chance UMA will ever be on the G1?


Q: Is there some kind of l10n overview?


Q: Where can I report bugs?

A: Brandorr will lookup, feel free to answer if you know off the top of your head.

Q: Can the G1 do wifi monitor mode? (for wardriving)


Q: What determines the category ("Lifestyle", "Entertainment") that an app is filed under? Does the developer get to pick?


Q: Do the market and have anything in common?


Q: Can I run a native app easily?


Q: how does the UI operate?


Q: How do the 3D drivers work?


Q: It looks like the only part you need root for is the "flash_image" command, right? (eg to add the modified recovery, this is the onyl reason you need root to do it)


Q: When we press side keys for the volume, does it also make respective changes in volume for call and music? If not, how does it work?

A: Brandorr can answer. If you feel up to it though, go for it.

Q: Are there any extended batteries available for the G1?

A: Brandorr will answer... need to find the links.

Q: Does G1 or Android support multitouch?


Q: For those Android devices that don't have touchscreens, is there a keyboard way to deal with notifications?


Brandorr's working notes

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