It isn’t often that I get to say this as a writer in the UK, but a ROM allowing Dell Streak UK owners to upgrade to Android 2.1 (from the 1.6 version it shipped with) has been leaked before the device has even been released in the US.
If you’re a Streak owner in the UK (the update image that has been leaked is locked to the UK device running on O2’s network, sorry Americans, you’re out of luck on this one), you’ll probably want to get a little 2.1 action for yourself, as it adds a number of refinements to the device, and make it feel more complete than before.
New Lock Screen and Live Wallpapers
This goes without saying, but just to be thorough, I should probably mention that the Eclair (2.1) update brings with it the all new lock screen, as seen on the Nexus One, and live wallpapers too. The lock screen takes a little getting used to, as you swipe the lock symbol up instead of across when holding the device landscape, but you’ll soon get used to it.
Hallelujah, the numeric keypad has finally been removed! If you’re not a Streak owner, and are slightly confused at this point, allow me to explain… When the Dell Streak was released with Android 1.6, the keyboard had a completely unnecessary numeric keypad to the right of it in landscape mode, making typing completely unnatural and more difficult than it should have been. Now, not only has said numeric keypad been banished to software hell, but it’s joined by the caps lock key too. Good news all round!
The Dialer that shipped with the Android 1.6 version of the Dell Streak somehow felt unfinished. It was bland, lacking features, and it just didn’t look that good. For me, the revamped Dialer is as big a change as the refined keyboard, and makes the Dell Streak feel a lot more polished than it did before. Not only has it got a facelift, thanks to a new theme, but it has managed to pick up a feature or two along the way that make it easier to use.
You can now access your phone dialer, call log, contacts, and favourites all within the same application, so you don’t have to leave the window to see who you need to ring back from that last missed call, or select a contact to ring.
Updated Gallery App
The Gallery was one application that got a major revamp in the jump to Android 2.x, and it looks great on the Dell Streak’s 5 inch display. All the little features are tucked in there, such as the pinch to open a stack of photos, and it adds a lot of value when compared with the gallery on Android 1.6, especially for those users taking lots of photos using the 5 megapixel camera on the back of the device.
How do I get the update?!
The image of the new ROM was originally posted on a somewhat obscure website that took an awful long time to load, however, it’s been mirrored for download here, allowing you to get it a lot quicker! Once downloaded, copy the file to the root of your SD card and rename it “update.pkg”. Then boot the Streak into recovery mode by holding down both the volume keys when powering on, and choose to recover the phone from the file you just put on your micro SD card. Note that your phone will be wiped, so backup anything you want first, and then enjoy Android 2.1 on the Dell Streak!