Android updates come with little warning or description of what they include. When they roll out, many customers are left wondering what changed on their phones.
T-Mobile pushed such an update last week. It wasn't the Donut upgrade that many Android fans are waiting for; rather, it was a minor permissions fix that contained no new features.
Unlike most desktop operating systems, Android does not provide details on its updates before asking the user to confirm them. To find the update's release notes I had to go digging through the Android mailing lists. According to oCERT, the patch fixed some permissions of the camera and audio resources. Users that have received the update had their Android build number change from CRB43 to CRC1.
Planned features of the future Donut upgrade include gesture controls, systemwide search, and multilingual text to speech. These features were recently demonstrated at Google I/O in May and captured on video.
Google has stopped updating its Android roadmap and there is no public time frame for the Donut release. In the past Google has blamed "limited resources" as the main reason for Android delays. It appears that the actual Android team at Google is not that big, but recent news suggests that it is growing. As Android engineer Jean-Baptiste Queru reported, "I'm seeing some improvements on the resource front, and we're learning from each hurdle that we face, but we're also learning to expect the unexpected and I wouldn't be surprised if we discovered new reasons why code drops need to be delayed in the future."
From what we learned with the Cupcake update, don't expect to see Donut anytime soon. There are signs that it is getting closer to release, but remember that the mobile carriers first need time to test the final code on their network. Cupcake was available to developers and hackers for a full month before it rolled out to T-Mobile customers. I predict a November release for Donut, but I would be pleasantly surprised if it came early.