I have been a loyal, devoted Sprint user for a few years now (at least for the 2 years that was in my contract with them). I have stayed with Sprint due to the coverage, my friends use Sprint and (primarily) they usually have some pretty cool handsets to choose from. In my tenure with Sprint I have been though a Treo 700p, a HTC Touch and I am currently on a Treo 800w- and I have been salivating over the imminent release of the HTC Touch Pro (see my prior posts).
This changed on Tuesday; T-Mobile released the G1 'Google Phone' with a large fanfare and Google fanboy/open source zealots rushing out to buy one. It was like a mini-iPhone release date, accompanied by stores opening way too early and not-so-long lines of people waiting outside the T-Mobile store in the mall. Of course I wasn't interested as I knew the HTC Touch Pro was due out in about a week; however, I was a little curious from all the chatter I have heard about it.
I went to the T-Mobile store on Tuesday afternoon and there was no line. I picked up the G1 and played with it- and it is pretty fucking awesome.
1st off- it looks like a fairly average device until you pick it up. The feel of the phone is very good and the screen is beautiful; it is 480x320 and very bright and crisp. From my understanding this is the only phone besides the iPhone to have a capacitive touch screen- which requires use of a finger instead of a stylus to move around the screen. There are many measures of difference with screen response when comparing my Treo 800w touch screen and the G1 touch screen.
I have only had this phone for 2 days, but I am now seriously considering skipping the HTC Touch Pro and porting my Sprint cell phone number over to T-Mobile! I have 2 weeks to decide and cancel my T-Mobile contract- so if the Touch Pro doesn't make me drool on Sept 30th I will have made my decision.
Here goes my quick pros/cons list of the G1:
- Very fast OS and very stable
- Fast T-Mobile 3G speeds (where available)
- Expandable via microSD 8GB (16/32GB in future)
- Very nice keyboard
- Solid feel
- Charges/Data connect with standard miniUSB connector
- USB 2.0 speeds for MicroSD when connected to PC; appears as MSD
- Very fast GPS lock
- Google Market with lots of useful apps (free through 2008)
- Excellent Integration with Google mail/calendar
- Great browser rendering
- No 3.5/2.5mm headphone jack; audio connectivity via HTC 'ExtUSB' adaptor cable
- No Bluetooth A2DP (yet!)
- Contacts only available through Google Contacts (export CSV and import into Google Contacts to resolve)
- No flash support (yet!)
- No Exchange/Blackberry integration (again, yet!)
- No Video recording
- Meager battery (I have to recharge overnight and once during the day to accommodate my current usage).
Many people are complaining about the lack of an on-screen keyboard; I had an on-screen keyboard (only!) on the HTC Touch and I hated it- so there is no love lost for that item not being on the phone (it is scheduled for a future release).
My main concern is the initial omission of A2DP; this is the reason I sold my iPhone as I loathe to have cables running up-and-down my body while working out at the gym.
- Display: 3.2 in TFT-LCD flat touch-sensitive HVGA screen with 480 X 320 pixel
- CPU: Qualcomm 528Mhz MSM7201A dual-core CPU/GPU
- Memory: 192 MB DDR SDRAM, 256 MB Flash
- Sliding full 5 row QWERTY keyboard.
- Trackball with click button
- Capacitive touch-screen
- phone/home/back/cancel/menu navigation buttons
- Camera: 3.2-megapixel camera
- Storage: microSD card slot
- Bluetooth 2.0
- 802.11 b/g
- Quad band GSM / GPRS / EDGE: GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
- HSPA/WCDMA 1700/2100 up to 7.2Mbps down/2.0Mbps up-link
- Battery 1150 mAh
- Physical size: 117.7 mm x 55.7 mm x 17.1 mm (4.60 in x 2.16 in x 0.62 in)
- Weight: 158g (5.6oz) w/ battery
- Other: Accelerometer, Digital Compass
Hardware aside, the Android OS is really what sets this phone apart from other devices. First off, it is open source- so people can get into the gutty-works and see how it ticks (and re-write, if so desired). Google released the Android SDK around a year ago and there were dozens of great applications available for download via the Android Market.
In addition, there are many other sites already offering Android applications/games, such as:
One of the 'jaw-dropper' applications for this phone is the use of Google street-view maps with the integrated digital compass:
Other Apps that I find interesting are:
- Barcode Scanner: scan a barcode with the camera and check prices via the web
- AccuWeather: weather reports/forecasts
- Twitroid - Twitter client for Android (not available in the Market yet)
What I would like to see on this device in the near future:
- Flash Support!
- Turn-by-Turn GPS software
- NES/SNES/Atari/Etc Emulators
- Flickr push client (with GeoTagging)
- Virtual Chumby software?
It is very important to remember that this is the first official release of the first phone running Android OS- and HTC/T-Mobile/Google did a very good job of making it work! There are undeniably some issues/bugs with the phone but this should be expected with ANTYTHING that is v1.0 software; Hell- the iPhone went through v1.1.4 before upgrading to v2; now they are up to v 2.1.0. I expect to see several updates in the next few months that fix bugs, improve the battery life and add additional features.
The device comes with a clear protective cover on the screen and this will stay in place until I can order a protective skin from bestskinsever.
The G1 is not the easiest device to photograph, but here goes: