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T-Mobile's G1 Android to get new features

Updates from the "Cupcake" development branch--which include browser enhancements like cut-and-paste--will be pushed out onto G1 handsets next month.

T-Mobile will push out a major firmware update to users of the G1 Android handset in April, the mobile operator has said.

The update will introduce features such as virtual keyboards and stereo Bluetooth support, as well as an upgrade of the underlying Linux kernel. A number of bugs in the Android operating system will also be fixed. The browser enhancements include upgrades to the latest version of the Webkit core and the addition of cut-and-paste. The browser is also getting support for the new Squirrelfish Javascript engine.

T-Mobile G1 Corinne Schulze/CBS Interactive

The contents of the update come from Cupcake, a read-only mirror of a private development branch within the wider Android development effort. According to the Android development Web site, the changes introduced in the Cupcake branch have now been merged into the master branch, as part of the gradual open-sourcing of what started out as a Google project.

A spokesperson for T-Mobile could not give a precise date for the release. "Google controls the update as to when it goes out. The only thing T-Mobile knows is (the update will come out) next month," the spokesperson told ZDNet UK on Thursday.

A Google spokesperson could not give a more specific release date. "We're not confirming the timing on when Cupcake will be ready," the spokesperson said. "We'll push it as soon as it's ready."

T-Mobile's G1 is the first, and currently the only, handset to use the Android mobile stack. The second is likely to be Vodafone's Magic handset, which is also manufactured by HTC.

David Meyer of ZDNet UK reported from London.