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T-Mobile G1

Operating System 1, Hardware 0

The essential guide to IT transformation

That said, Android is still missing a few tricks, most obviously the lack of a virtual keyboard or keypad. Entering text means tipping the G1 over and opening up the keyboard. Not a big issue for long emails, but a pain if you just want to reply to an SMS with a simple 'OK'. For some reason, the inevitable accelerometer refused to automatically swap JPEG images from portrait to landscape, forcing us to open a menu and flip them manually.

The G1 supports MP3, AAC, WMA and Ogg audio files. Playing video will depend on some bright spark writing a video player – two have already appeared in the Android Market Place, but neither is really up to much. But there's nothing pre-installed.

T-Mobile Android G1

The slightly raised buttons are the right size for fast text entry

The Market Place is the beauty of Android. At some point, a bright spark will write the Android equivalent of VLC, at which point the G1 will instantly become a truly excellent media player. After all, the key part of the equation - a nice hi-res screen – is already in place. Loading content onto the G1 is straightforward using USB mass storage or MTP, though you have to live without any sort of DRM support.

The G1's ability to display Google hosted information and applications – calenders, documents, contacts, spreadsheets, maps and so on – is unsurprisingly good. If you run your life off the Google Cloud then the G1 is a self-recommending purchase. As soon as we typed in our gmail account, all our stuff was just there: documents, contacts... the whole enchilada.

And the ability to show Google content is really just an aspect of the G1's excellent web browsing capabilities. Page scaling is fast and faultless, while the zoom in/out feature – accomplished using a transparent touchpad at the bottom of the screen – may be different from the iPhone's pinch-and-pull, but it's no less effective. If we had to find fault, it would be that to go back a page you have to tap the menu button, then tap More... in the contextual menu to see the Back command. It should really be one of the commands in the contextual menu.

The essential guide to IT transformation

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