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Android Ruminations #1 – Hello G1.

10.31.2008 @ 12:25 AM in Technology

I've had the T-Mobile Android G1 for well over a week, and while I could say that I waited so long to get a good review of the G1, truth is, I'm lazy. I never realized how peaceful yet out of the loop one can be while on a blogging hiatus. Additionally, I never thought it would be this hard to jump back on the horse after nearly two months of nothing. Lets get back into it shall we, and please if you will, welcome me back into your feeds with my 9 day review of Android's first born child, the T-Mobile/HTC G1 "Dream." What wacky family the G1 gets to grow up in. First, its mother is Google, who got knocked up out of nowhere and went through a wild and bumpy pregnancy after banging nearly every cellphone company (except Sprint, who's into Asians) only to get knocked up by T-mobile, the runt of the litter. Gotta hand to T-Mo, they're like a guy with a small dick. Though he can't plow you as well as the other guys, he tries a hell of a lot harder to please you. Then we have HTC, who swears he's the real father. And while the G1 looks exactly like him (ya know, shitty internal memory, slow camera, and a disfigured USB port), T-Mobile promised to raise the G1 as his own. Physicalities and such I'll admit, the G1 is no looker. Sure the 3.2 inch touchscreen with 320x480 resolution looks baddass, but everything else about the phone is all wrong. Why? HTC can make beautiful tech. Shit, if they can make a windows mobile phone droolworthy, then why can't they make a new phone with yet to be set design rules so freaking turdlike? The answer is probably because this is the same exact hardware that was built to test the Android platform on. HTC probably had plans to sex up the design a bit, but time constraints and the general need to just get this thing out to developers is probably what greenlit the dev model into production. Maybe I'm a little rough, because I love the phone, I love that its the first of its kind, and that it totally looks like an akward geeky toy. There are a lot of buttons on the G1: Call, Home, clickable trackball, Back, End/Power, Menu, Camera, and Volume controls, not to mention the QWERTY and a dedicated search button. everything is flush or near flushed, making accidental clicks less likely but harder to navigate blind. The camera button is a bit awkwardly placed; try gripping it for portrait mode and your thumb will push the slider up into your index finger which is trying to press the camera button to take the shot which will come out blurry 75% of the time because HTC put yet another slow camera (albeit 3.2 Megapixel with autofocus) in another supposedly high end phone. Another awkwardness is the little curved banana nub bottom half that gets the mic 2mm closer to your face but hates on your chubby fingers when you try to use the keyboard. One handed multitasked typing on this thing is surely a skill to master. I have to say I wasn't so much disappointed about the lack of a headphone jack in lieu of a duel use micro USB port. I've had HTC devices before. Its what they do. The supposed proprietary port will actually allow any micro usb connection but also accommodates certain HTC only accessories with the special connector. I really like the one connection port. reduces the exposure to damage and helps to ease the clutter. If I absolutlely have to charge and use a headset at the same time, I'll plug in the HTC port splitter (came with my Shadow) that lets you get kinky with some double penetration. The trackball is very responsive and can navigate 98% of the phone without having to use the touch screen. While the phone is sleeping it won't turn the phone on or register any function. This is nice because its the only button that sticks out. Everything else about the phone is sturdy. The slide mechanism operates almost like a switchblade, and all the buttons respond to a nice firm press. Physically, the G1 is a sound device, well made despite its fuglyness. A new operating system, a whole new world. I can't begin to explain why Android is so important to the mobile industry. Its just going to have to play out, but I made sure I bought my ticket to glory early. I don't normally early adopt, but I stuck with T-Mobile despite the lack of 3G in Buffalo just to get this phone. This was in February. I committed to buying the G1 in February and I wasn't disappointed. The G1 comes loaded with all the goodies to put Android to the test: 3G, Wifi, GPS, capacitive touchscreen (easy on the touch, heavy on the response), a compass, and accelerometer. I'd say it has everything but for some reason while there is bluetooth, there is no A2DP profile and its more crippled in that regard than a verizon phone. Specwise, it has enough to fly: 528MHz Processor, 192MB RAM, and an internal storage of 256MB. CDMA, Quadband GSM; yup, its a world phone. Syncing to my Gmail account is a breeze, even on EDGE (no 3G in Buffalo). I'm using my Google Apps account @buffawhat.com to sync, too.  For someone that relies on Google for just about everything, you'll find that Android is your friend indeed. Your calendar, contacts, and email are all kept in the cloud, but pulls and syncs seamlessly and with no effort from the user. You can set sync schedules if you are that controlling type, but its best to let the G1 do its thing. After a slight learning curve, the Android becomes a breeze to use. Its not as intuitive to use as the iPhone but you won't get another touchscreen experience like on the Android. It feels so much like a mobile computer, and even more so when you find out you can put folders on the home screen. The homescreen is a mashup of OSX with spaces, and vista with widgets. left and right swipes of the home screen reveal two new spaces to put icons, folders, gmail shortcuts, even widgets (android shipped with a clock, search bar, and a photo frame). I realize that I have a lot to talk about the android operating system, but that will come later. This is only part one of a never-ending (I hope) relationship with Android, right up until the day they all gain consciousness and we lose it all. And it may seem that i totally thrashed the phone in this mini review, but its all tough love..

P.S. - It has cut and paste. and does it fucking well.