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Old 22nd October 2008, 03:47 AM
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T-Mobile G1 Phone (Google Android Phone) for sale 10-22

http://tech.yahoo.com/blog/patterson/29075

It's a bit raw, and the clunky hardware isn't too inspiring, but the Android-powered G1 is the first touchscreen handset I've seen that's a true iPhone competitor—and a good one. While it lacks the iPhone's spit and polish, the G1 benefits from the peppy, easy-to-use Android OS, not to mention the open-source freedom that'll probably lead to a riot of inventive applications. Priced at just $179 and set to ship October 22 (you can pre-order it here), it's no wonder the G1 is already a hit.

But first, let's just say it: The HTC-built G1 isn't much to look at. Available in black and brown (the two flavors are actually tough to tell apart), the 4.6 by 2.16 by 0.62-inch handset isn't nearly as sexy as the iPhone, and at 5.6 ounces it's nearly a full ounce heavier. The 3.17-inch touchscreen slides up and over (somewhat stiffly) to reveal the roomy QWERTY keypad beneath, while below the screen you'll find five buttons—Menu, Call, Home, Back, and End—and a pea-sized trackball. A volume rocker is on the right side of the G1, while the camera shutter is on the left. Missing in action: A physical "silent mode" switch (instead, you must press and hold the Power button and select the silent option).

Speaking of the QWERTY keypad, it's something of a disappointment. The keypad as a whole is plenty roomy (with dedicated number keys, as well as separate period, comma, and "@" buttons), but the keys themselves felt slippery to my fingers. Also, while the backlighting (which turns on automatically depending on the level of ambient light) is effective in the dark, it makes the keys devilishly difficult to make out in low- to medium-light situations.

Another complaint—because the G1 lacks a virtual keypad (save for the phone dialer), you must slide open the QWERTY keypad any time you need to enter text—even, say, just your ZIP code or a user name. Annoying.

That said, the G1 scores big with its easy-to-use Android-powered interface, which (like the iPhone's) begins and ends with a multi-paned home screen festooned with icons. Flick left or right to see the other panes, tap and hold icons to move them around, or pull the tab at the bottom to open a shade containing all your applications. Meanwhile, the physical Menu key brings up a host of contextual options, whether you're on the main screen, tapping out a message, or playing Pac-Man.

I also loved the status bar along the top of the home page (and on every Android page, for that matter). The bar contains a battery life indicator, the time, signal strength, and new email alert pop ups. Also included are SMS messages, missed calls, and a voicemail alert. You just tap and pull down on the status bar to expand it. Here's a feature that Apple should steal, pronto.

All in all, the Android interface is impressively smooth and functional—just don't expect the cool little transitions and twirling graphics that you'll find on the iPhone. Of course, you don't need all those cool animations to get a lot done with the G1—but still, compared to the iPhone, the G1's menus and overall UI look a little bare-bones.

Android is, of course, all about Google, and the first thing you do with the G1 is sign in with your Gmail login. (If you don't have a Gmail account, you'll need to get one.) Once that's done, the G1 automatically syncs up all your Gmail messages, contacts, Google calendar events … everything, and they'll stay synced whenever you're in Wi-Fi or cell range. All my Gmail, contacts, and events synced up within a matter of minutes.

Call quality was excellent on the G1 (callers couldn't tell I was on a cell phone), the speakerphone was nice and loud, and the dialer app is efficient and easy to use (and yes, T-Mobile's myFaves feature is supported). However, I was bummed that when you're in a call, options like "Hold," "Mute," "Speakerphone," and "Add call" don't appear by default as virtual buttons from the calling screen; instead, you have to press the physical "Menu" button first.

Messaging options on the G1 are abundant. Besides Gmail, you also get access to POP and IMAP accounts, as well as SMS and picture messaging (take that, iPhone) and instant messaging (including AIM, Google Talk, Windows Live, and Yahoo! messaging). Gmail messages are stored in your G1 for offline access, and they're pushed to the phone—everything else is pull (up to once every five minutes). Just about all that's missing is full-on Exchange support, which will come once an enterprising developer fills the void.

OK, but how's 3G reception? Here in New York, I had no trouble getting a 3G signal, both in Manhattan and Brooklyn: indeed, 3G reception on the G1 was better than on my iPhone 3G over the dog days of summer. Keep in mind, though, that T-Mobile only recently launched its own 3G network, and it'll only be live in about 21 markets (comprising 95 cities; click here for more details) by the end of the month. The G1 will work on EDGE—you'll still get your email and contacts—but browsing will be somewhat slower (it took more than a minute to load the hefty New York Times homepage on EDGE in my Manhattan office, versus less than 30 seconds over 3G). Then again, you can always connect to the Net via Wi-Fi.

The G1's Web browser is one of the best I've seen on a phone, although it isn't perfect. Complicated pages rendered more or less perfectly (minus the Flash elements, of course), but you can't pinch or double-tap the non-multitouch screen to zoom in or out; instead, you must tap on twin virtual magnifying glasses at the bottom of the screen. Also, scrolling gets to be a bit choppy on larger Web pages, and because the G1 lacks an accelerometer, you'll have to open the keypad or tap a menu option to turn the screen to a landscape orientation. [Update: Actually, the G1 does have an accelerometer—but it only works with Street View on Google Maps (see below), and won't turn the screen; my bad.] That said, the G1's trackball is great for clicking on Web links, you can switch between browser windows, and save or copy URLs—a feature sorely missing on the iPhone.

Google Maps on the G1 isn't quite as polished as it is on the iPhone (no smooth animations or flying pins, for example), but the same tools are available, including an extra, killer feature: Compass-aided Street View, which automatically rotates and swivels your Street View perspective (north, south, east, west, and even up or down) depending on the direction in which you're holding the G1. Love it.

The built-in GPS on the G1 managed to pinpoint my location to within about a third of a block or so when I was outside, following my progress in fits and starts. One annoyance, however: If you're indoors, the G1's map app can't locate you unless you've got 3G mode turned off (you'll have to navigate to a checkbox that's buried a few levels deep in the Settings menu). And as with the iPhone, the GPS-equipped G1 won't do guided turn-by-turn directions—not yet, anyway.

Like its Maps app, the G1's music player isn't nearly as slick as the iPhone's, but what it does, it does well. Playback controls are easy to use, album art gets displayed, the typical repeat and shuffle modes are present and accounted for, and you can create playlists on the fly. Tunes will play in the background, and if a call comes in, the G1 pauses your music and starts where it left off once you hang up. There's also an Amazon app that lets you buy and download MP3s directly over the phone (microSD cards up to 16GB are supported). One nagging problem, though: There's no 3.5mm headphone jack (and no stereo Bluetooth/A2DP support, which is also missing from the iPhone), so you'll have to use the dinky ear buds that come in the G1 box or grab a mini USB-to-3.5mm adapter. Ugh.

Still, while you're stuck with the G1's hardware quirks (such as the lack of a 3.5mm jack), the beauty of the open-source Android OS is that third-party developers are free to tweak any and all of the G1's core features, including the dialer, the music player, the browser, the email client … the sky's the limit. Of course, whether developers will take the opportunity and run with it remains to be seen.

Same goes with the Android Market, which was (unsurprisingly) sparsely populated during my tests. Still, I'm sure the Market will fill up rapidly once the G1 hits stores later this month, and the apps I did try—such as an NFL tracker (coyly called "Pro Football"—wait till Roger Goodell finds out), Locale (which changes your ringer profiles depending on your location), and Wikitude (which finds historical points of interest in your vicinity)—stacked up nicely compared to their iPhone App counterparts. Apps installed quickly (typically in under a minute) and the G1 warns you of any security risks (such as whether the app will access your personal info, the dialer, or your GPS coordinates) before installation begins—nice touch.

A few other notes: The G1 lacks a video player, although there was already a free one in the Market by the time I tested the phone. The YouTube app works exactly as advertised, while the 3MP camera boasts auto-focus and takes decent (if not awe-inspiring) snapshots. There's no video recorder, but someone's bound to build one for the Market.

T-Mobile promises five hours of talk time and more than a week of standby time—that is, if you keep the G1 in sleep mode the whole time. In reality, I found that after a moderate daily dose of Web surfing, chatting, and mapping, the G1's battery indicator was barely a third full by late afternoon. The phone never died on me—so long as I charged it every night. Not the greatest battery life I've ever seen, but pretty typical for a smartphone like this.

Overall? For a first stab at an Android phone, the G1 holds up pretty well—those of you who've already pre-ordered one won't be disappointed. While the G1's dull hardware has its share of quirks (show me a phone that doesn't), the Android OS shows great promise—and it's only going to get better. If you're not an iPhone fan, the G1 might be your touchscreen ticket; then again, if corporate e-mail access is a must, don't forget the BlackBerry Storm, set for Verizon Wireless later this year.
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Old 22nd October 2008, 04:26 AM
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Re: T-Mobile G1 Phone (Google Android Phone) for sale 10-22

Wish I had some money to buy this... but absolutely nothing extra. Damnit!
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Old 22nd October 2008, 04:35 AM
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Re: T-Mobile G1 Phone (Google Android Phone) for sale 10-22

A virtual multilanguage keyboard is what we want....with built in .com autocomplete.... not asking too much are we?
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Old 22nd October 2008, 03:17 PM
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Talking Re: T-Mobile G1 Phone (Google Android Phone) for sale 10-22

Cool!
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Old 22nd October 2008, 03:42 PM
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Wink Re: T-Mobile G1 Phone (Google Android Phone) for sale 10-22

Quote:
Originally Posted by phio View Post
A virtual multilanguage keyboard is what we want....with built in .com autocomplete.... not asking too much are we?
Not .mobi ???


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Old 22nd October 2008, 04:04 PM
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Re: T-Mobile G1 Phone (Google Android Phone) for sale 10-22

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fka200 View Post
Wish I had some money to buy this... but absolutely nothing extra. Damnit!
Don't stress about it to much , i seen a comparison report against the iphone and iphone seems to blow it out of the water imo.
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Old 22nd October 2008, 06:11 PM
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Re: T-Mobile G1 Phone (Google Android Phone) for sale 10-22

Bill,
thanks for posting the article....I think it was in the WSJ today also....

The G1 is likely to be like a Microsoft app.....it won't be really compelling until
version 3.


2ndly....
Chinese companies now, can make a phone from scratch....
from the chipset all the way up the OS stack....

3rdly......
standby for wearable phones.....
Korea wants to embed phones in clothing....like in the chest patch or a number like patch on the back...with bluetootch to the earphone...and a mini usb jack to power the device at night........

Steve
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Old 22nd October 2008, 06:15 PM
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Re: T-Mobile G1 Phone (Google Android Phone) for sale 10-22

Also....Google completely released the Android source code
as open source this week.....

Now the 2009/ 10 race is G1, iPhone, Symbian, Java, Windows Mobile....

all smartphones...all have browsers.......and
dot Mobi is completely irrelevant to the content found or searched for....


sites will shift to ' m.xxxx.com' or 'xxxxx.com/m'
or mobile oriented names .....

Steve
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Old 22nd October 2008, 07:06 PM
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Re: T-Mobile G1 Phone (Google Android Phone) for sale 10-22

Quote:
Originally Posted by thegenius1 View Post
Don't stress about it to much , i seen a comparison report against the iphone and iphone seems to blow it out of the water imo.
It isn't the hardware that is going to make the difference, it is the ecosystem behind it that will blow the iPhone away. To Apple this is a re-run of 8086 PC and MS Dos. The MAC was always a better computer but its descendants spent a generation in the wilderness.
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Old 22nd October 2008, 11:44 PM
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Re: T-Mobile G1 Phone (Google Android Phone) for sale 10-22

Google getting busy in India...both launched last month.

Sify Technologies Limited and Google Inc in Alliance to Grow Indian Internet Users With Compelling Applications & Tools
Sify Technologies Limited announced its agreement with Google Inc. to bring the Google Apps suite of communication and collaboration tools, including email, chat and online documents, to Indian Internet users. Google Apps will now power Sifymail and chat, as well as other applications using the Google Apps platform, which would be leveraged across Sify's fast expanding Network Infrastructure, reaching out to over a million users across India and abroad. Sify will start launching these services for users in the coming months.

Google Inc. Launches Google Map Maker In India-Business Standard
Business Standard reported that Google Inc. launched its new web tool Google Map Maker in India, which was developed by the Indian engineering team. Google Map Maker allows users to add or edit features, such as roads, businesses, parks, schools, apartment buildings and localities among others. Users can also add detailed information about these locations and this user- created geographical content is updated and made visible immediately to all other users.
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