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:
I went down to the local Sprint store to see about upgrading my Treo 800w to the HTC Touch Pro (my 'dream phone'- at least for the Sprint network) and I was informed that the launch date has been pushed back to the 30th....
Damn you and Sprint your indefinite release dates via 3rd party sources! (i.e. blogs).
I don't know about the rest of you, but I generally have several games installed on my PC/laptop and play one of them at my leisure. This is inhibited by games that require the CD to play (I don't keep a games CD case with my laptop).
I have been using Daemon Tools to create images of some of my games and store them as ISO images on my HD; this allows me to mount the image and play the game as if it were a virtual CD/DVD-ROM. This works great for most unprotected games that just require the disc.
Then I ran into the problem of Safedisc/Securom/etc protected discs. Daemon Tools needs to be told what the protection is before it can even try to make a backup. For this I found A-Ray Scanner; this software hasn't been updated in a few years (anyone know of newer alternatives?) but it is a great program that will check a CD/DVD-ROM and return it's copy protection information.
So far I have just done some basic stuff with it; installed Diablo II, World of Warcraft, Skype, VLC, etc.
Now I am waiting for Dalaran to come back online after the big v3.0 patch for WoW (which is in preparation for the Wrath of the Lich King expansion due out on November 13th).
I installed the latest Rockbox v3.0 on my iPod 60GB and I was looking through the themes; I ran across the 'Flying Spaghetti Monster' theme...
I also learned that global warming has a direct correlation to the dwindling number of pirates in the world!
I guess I should at least buy a T-shirt or a car emblem to show my support of FSM...
Here are a few items I ran across this weekend:
- Tired of iTunes? Try out Media Monkey; it has a lot of powerful features for organizing your music collection (and writing rating/album art info to the ID3 tag!) and can sync with a variety of devices- including an iPod/iPhone! The basic version is free and some of the advanced features will require a $20 upgrade.
- Fring is an application for most phones (WM6, iPhone and Treos to name a few) that is a multi-IM client and incorporates Skype and SIP connectivity to (and Facebook and GMail addins). The deal-breaker on this app is Skype/SIP calls can only use the speaker phone (and they have been 'working on a fix' since 2006)
- I was using SyncToy 2.0 for backing up my server data to NAS, but I was make aware of Karen's Replicator by a co-worker; this does a MUCH more reliable job of mirroring data.
Other things that caught my interest:
- NUI Group is working on a driver for the PS3 EyeToy- to allow it to be used as a webcam. Currently it will only work with the included test software, but hopefully there will be a windows driver soon!
- There is a Canon 40D hack in the works that may one day allow it to work as a video recorder... (very good news for me!)
- If you didn't hear about the release of the T-Mobile G1 then you probably won't be interested in the G1 emulator at T-Mobile.