Hands on with the T-Mobile G1
An in-depth and hands-on look at the phone everyone's talking about
First Look The G1’s looks, specifications and, crucially, launch date have already been widely reported. So, that just leaves one question on everyone’s lips: what’s the Android-based talker actually like to use?
The home screen on T-Mobile's G1
At yesterday’s launch, Register Hardware tested the phone and we quickly found ourselves immersed in the new, but somehow strangely familiar, world of Google’s Android platform.
If you’ve used the iPhone or a Windows Mobile 6.1 handset before, then you’ll feel at home with Android because it seems to incorporate elements from both rival platforms.
For example, the G1’s home screen lets users move their most frequently used application icons, such as camera, wherever they like. Each time an icon’s moved, haptic feedback makes the phone gently vibrate. The clock’s position can also be moved.
Icons on the application sub-menu can be moved around
More applications than those shown on the home screen are hidden away in a collapsible sub-menu, which lists everything from Google Maps and Messaging, to a bizarre animal game called Krystle II. Each icon’s position can be moved about onscreen or dragged off and plopped onto the home screen.
Most of your list seem to be either criticisms of the providers plans, or the lack of features that plenty of other smartphones don't have either.
I agree with everyones criticisms of the visual aspect of this phone, but then I thought the whole point of Android was that it was supposed to be a platform not a single phone model (so the cheapness of the build is surely on the shoulders of HTC rather than Google). But lets face it, why would HTC invest big bucks on the design of a phone for a new unproven platform... they are testing the waters to judge the reaction to the Android UI before they make any serious investment. Apple on the other hand controls both the hardware and software for the iPhone, and as such they needed to pay as much attention to the physical appeal not just the UI.
So while I won't be rushing to buy this particularly ugly phone, I will be reserving my judgment on Android until I've had a chance to play with it. I'm also hoping that as someone suggested, Android gets ported to some of the other HTC devices (I'd love to try it out on my current HTC WM6 phone).
As for Google, I'm no fanboi... I've started using Scroogle and while I do use Google Docs for some things, I'd never use it for anything personal or sensitive.
I don't suppose there's any chance that one day in the future I might be able to buy the phone of my choice and install the OS of my choice on it, like I can with a PC (excluding Apple OS's, of course, but then I always do).
So what's it's USP?
I thought this was to be the FOSS alternative to the closed source approach of Apple and Microsoft? yet it's on contract, will be locked down and there's lots of commercial applications.
It just looks to me like a Google clone of Windows Mobile with some iPhone features on typically badly designed ugly hardware.
Trackballs? why not force users to plugin a mouse and be done with it. A properly designed mobile interface does not need trackballs and millions of buttons. A keyboard is justified if the device comes with mobile office software.