Round Robin Review: Does the T-Mobile G1 Hit the Spot?!

CrackBerry's Final Impressions of the Android-powered T-Mobile G1
By Kevin Michaluk on 5 Dec 2008 12:22 pm
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Not Quite. But the G2, G3 or G4 Just Might!

[ This is an official Smartphone Round Robin post! Every day you reply to an official Round Robin blog post or forum thread on CrackBerry.com, you automatically gain an entry ballot for a chance to win a BlackBerry Bold, Spare Bold Battery, and Case Mate Second Skin! If you somehow still don't know what this is all about, visit SmartphoneRoundRobin.com!! ] 

My time with the Android-powered T-Mobile G1 has come to an end. Am I going to miss it? You might think so, considering the first impressions video I posted earlier this week was semi-gushing with G1 positivity, but as I part with the device my real answer is not really.

The G1's form factor is awkward, the hardware is industrial in a day and age when gadget sexy is what people want, and you just can't help but gawk at the G1's weird chin. I don't think anybody is going to pick this device up in their hands and say, "YES, this is the phone I have been dreaming about all my life!" That said, once you get over the look and feel of the HTC-built G1, powering up the capacitive touch screen display and putting Google's new Android operating system to use is a mainly fun and enjoyable experience, especially if you are a Google user. The Android homescreen experience is awesome - you feel like you're working on a desktop that's much bigger than the confined display in front of you, and the ease of customization is welcomed. Considering this is the first device to run on Google's open source mobile operating system, which is considered to still be beta (like all things Google!), Android on the G1 for me was fast and reliable and appeared to manage memory and applications extremely well, which is something that even some been-around the block mobile platforms are still struggling with years later.

In the end, my interest really isn't with the G1... it's in seeing the G2 and G3 and G4 in action. But this is a G1 review, so Read on for my T-Mobile G1 Final Impressions >>

Anticipation and Expectation for Google's First Phone

When I first heard Google had plans to make a splash in the smartphone pool, I gotta tell you, I did get excited. As much as I am a CrackBerry Addict, the truth is I've been a Google user much longer than I have been a BlackBerry Abuser. When it comes to Google's search engine and email client, I was an early adopter... as in within hours of Google launching out of a garage I had already heard about it and had it set to my homepage. It was the same story with Gmail. When it first launched you could only join via invitation and invitations were initially scarce - the moment I heard about Gmail I started calling up friends and colleagues trying to see if anybody had been invited yet and had invites left to send out. Suffice to say, over the past decade I have seen the Google logo more than any other logo. Google is a smart company that has a magic touch when it comes to introducing products that change the game, so my expectations were high for the Google phone.

My expectations as a consumer dropped after Google announced it wouldn't be manufacturing its own Gphone under the Google brand and instead announced Android. Why did my expectations drop? Because of Windows Mobile! Microsoft does not manufacture its own devices and instead licenses its operating system out to other manufacturers. In my opinion this leads to a lack of a unified brand and a mobile user-experience that will never be quite as good as that of a company that is in control of both the hardware and software. Think about it. Right now the North American smartphone game is all about BlackBerry and Apple's iPhone. Both offer very different user experiences and have strengths and weaknesses that are almost inverse to each other, yet both sell extremely well and have vibrant user communities behind them (look no further than CrackBerry.com as an example of the passion behind BlackBerry). Then look at Windows Mobile. Our WinMo-loving pal Dieter would likely tell you Windows Mobile is the best operating system out there that can do the most for you, but I counter that with "so what?" Even if that were to be the case, because the WinMo devices that hit the market are in competition against other WinMo devices (think Blackjack, Q, Touch Diamond, Fuze, etc. etc. etc.) and other non-WinMo smartphones, it's hard for any one WinMo device to gain mass-market awareness and adoption. When a person walks into a store to buy a new phone, they see devices. Show them a Pearl, Curve or Bold and the customer still thinks "BlackBerry." But show them a Fuze, Touch Diamond or Q9H and they don't think Windows Mobile, they think Fuze, Touch Diamond and Q9H. With so many different devices offering varying user experiences and brand recognition getting split between them all, that's one of the reasons I think there are not more Windows Mobile users in the world. I think more success would have been achieved with one out-of-the park Microsoft phone. While more is often better, I personally don't think that is actually the case in mobile, at least when it comes to creating a unified brand for consumers to get behind and ensuring the user experience is as streamlined as possible.

This doesn't mean Google will suffer the same fate as WinMo though. Envision the day when you can get a top-notch Android-powered phone from your carrier for free with voice/data plans that are dirt cheap, and all you need to do in return is put up with seeing some advertising every time you whip your phone out and use it. Even if the brand isn't as unified or user experience on any single device quite as good as it could be, free/dirt cheap mobile in exchange for viewing ads is definitely a game changer. I'm sure it's on the Google radar.

Until that day arrives, it's time to look at the first smartphone to run Google's OS, the T-Mobile G1!

T-Mobile G1 - Overview

T-Mobile G1

The T-Mobile G1 is T-Mobile's first 3G device and the first smartphone to run Google's Android operating system. With 3G, WiFi, GPS and a 3.2 megapixel camera all in one, the device is feature packed. And with both a responsive capacitive touchscreen, physical keyboard and trackball, the G1 offers a little bit of "home" to everyone.

For an even more in-depth look at the T-Mobile G1, you should check out AndroidCentral's video walk through and hardware review. Heck, just yesterday they posted the unboxing of the T-Mobile G1 in white that's definitely worth a look too.

T-Mobile G1 Hardware Impressions

While the video above gets into the geek talk of what Android has going on behind the scenes, as a consumer I just know what's in my hand. And when it comes to the Android operating system running on the G1, my overall experience has been pretty positive - though there is still (and always is) lots of room for improvement.

To activate your G1, you need to sign into your Google account. Since I wanted to run the G1 in Canada on Rogers, there was a little trick here. I actually had to have a T-Mobile SIM card in the device in order to login, but once that was done I was able to yank the T-Mo SIM and run on Rogers just fine. And once logged in, all your Google stuff automagically just works. Your Gmail is now on the device, as are contacts and calendar. If you're a Google user, it couldn't be any easier. If you're not... well.. I honestly don't know! I'm sure of our other Round Robin reviewers won't be as Google-dependent, so be sure to check out all of the G1 reviews (visit SmartphoneRoundRobin.com to stay on top of who has what and when!).

To me, the killer app on the G1 is the homescreen experience. Words and images won't do it justice, so if you have not yet watched my initial impressions video, be sure to scroll up and watch it! Different smartphones treat the homescreen's purpose differently. On the iPhone for example, it does only one thing - launch applications. On the BlackBerry, depending on what theme you choose it either a) just launches applications or b) launches applications and provides some limited info (Today Theme). The Windows Mobile Today Screen is a bit different - putting the focus more so on information and less on launching apps, which are placed under the Start menu. Android's homescreen experience provides the best of both worlds and then some.

The Android homescreen experience is much bigger than the 480 by 320 pixels on the display. Swiping left and right reveals additional panes, which you can leave empty if you choose or can load up with application icons, folders or widgets. Sliding your finger while on the "tab" allows you to pull out the applications dump, where all your apps are located. You can launch applications from here, or can drag them out to the homescreen for easy access. The G1 only ships with 3 Android widgets - clock, picture frame and search - and I'm sure a whack load more are under development. I love widgets because at a glance you can get the info you are looking for. I'm sure there will be Android widgets for everything - stocks, currency, tasks and appointments, friends located within a two minute walk from you, etc. The homescreen makes it easy it change wallpapers too. Just hold down your finger on an empty part of the display for a second, and you can click into Wallpaper once the Add to Home popup appears. As if that weren't enough, you can pull down on the date/notifications bar at the top of the screen to reveal all of your notifications and jump directly to them (and can clear all notifications in one tap if you want to). Setting up the homescreen to your liking takes a bit of time, but it's easy and intuitive to do and actually kind of fun. Two thumbs up for the homescreen user experience!

Android allows you to pull down notifications from any screen - Totally Awesome! From the homescreen you can slide out more apps. It's easy to move a shortcut to the homescreen.

Holding on the homescreen allows you to add widgets, change wallpaper, create shortcuts, etc. Holding down the Home key allows you to jump between applications.
My favorite thing about Android was the homescreen experience.

After the excitement of the homescreen wears off, from an end-user perspective the rest of the operating system remains clean and friendly to use (for the most part!). Like BlackBerry, the Android is capable of multi-tasking – just hold down the home key for two seconds and the application switcher pops up. The app switcher shows you the last six applications you have opened. What I find slightly weird though is that you can’t “close” apps. On the BlackBerry, when you’re in an app you can always hit the menu key and choose to close the app fully or just hit the end call key to return to the homescreen and leave that app running. Or on Windows Mobile you have a more powerful application manager where you can X off apps you want to close. With Android I can’t quite figure out how to just kill an application. The Settings menu on Android is relatively straight forward – with a few clicks or taps you can pretty much accomplish whatever you need to do, be it turn on WiFi, enter your APN settings, add a Bluetooth device, etc.

As you can tell, in terms of user interface I didn’t really have any issues with the G1. Part of this is because I used it in landscape with the keyboard out so much. So if for example I clicked on a field that needed text, the keyboard was already open and I was immediately typing away. Or if a call to action was ever required where it didn’t seem like a tap or swipe would do the trick, my BlackBerry instinct had me immediately on the trackball. I STRONGLY ENCOURAGE YOU to head over to TheiPhoneBlog and check out Rene’s review on the G1. He gripes about quite a few UI failures, and I can see his point – yet I didn’t really experience them. Could be that it’s easier to transition from a BlackBerry to a G1 than from an iPhone 3G to G1.

Android Applications

Android is all about the developer and the applications they build. I think that's one of the reasons why the G1's hardware is so lackluster - Google wanted to ensure the focus remained on the Android platform after the launch of the first Google phone and not have people get fixated on the device itself. The G1's hardware is simply a picture frame for what's on the display.

Email - The G1 features two email clients, one for push Gmail and another where you can add additional email accounts (not push). Since my email routes through Gmail, that's the client I stuck with. The Gmail client is nice, but the user experience for me proved to be way to slow when taking into account the number of emails I typically chug through in a day. The Gmail client really is Gmail gone mobile. Basically everything remains intact. You can add/remove stars, set labels and view inbox by labels, search your Gmail and conversations remain threaded. It's a nice app.

I loved the functionality and look of the app, but in practice I found it a bit too slow for my liking. My first issue was actually with getting email. Though I've been told this is push Gmail, I was never able to get the push to work very good. Maybe it's because I was on Rogers, or maybe I missed something, but without fail emails took a full two minutes longer to arrive on the G1 than on my BlackBerry. I tested it. I have my G1, Storm and Curve 8900 all hooked up to my main Gmail account. I'd open my Hotmail account (not tied to any devices) and send an email to my Gmail. It would take about 30 seconds for it to show up on my computer Gmail - typically the BlackBerrys would have it at the same moment it showed up on the computer or even a bit sooner and then on the stopwatch it would take two minutes before the email showed up on the G1. I'm hoping somebody in the comments tells me I was doing something wrong, because if this was G1 push then it simply wasn't pushy enough for me. My other issue was simply in using the app quickly. You all know how BlackBerry email is - you can turn on your BlackBerry when an airplane plans, have 100 emails pour in, and have gone through them and replied to the important ones before you even finish walking to baggage claim. I just can't do that with the G1.

 

The G1's Gmail application does a great job of copying the full Gmail experience - stars, labels, threaded conversations. Gmail definitely wasn't PUSH over EDGE. Emails were two minutes delayed over the BlackBerry.
Gmail app looks great, but I could never quite get my emails up to speed.

** BlackBerry News Update: For those of you who have read this far, now seems to be a good time to work in some Exclusive info that I haven't seen posted elsewhere yet. Coming from RIM's BIS Roadmap, the good news for Gmail user is that a major update is scoped under BIS 2.7 (target launch in July 2009) that will bring a Desktop like Gmail user experience to the BlackBerry. It will be a Gmail client, with a Gmail icon and the proposed functionality includes Starring, Labelling, Contacts sync, Calendar sync and search. So BlackBerry users, stay tuned for a much improved Gmail experience! ***

SMS - Nice and simple. Threaded SMS. Why doesn't BlackBerry improve this??

Web Browser - The G1 rocks a light version of the Google's chrome browser, which I'm finding does a bang up job of rendering web pages. I just wish it auto-resized it for better viewing. I found I was always doing a lot of zooming and scrolling to get to where I wanted to go. But the browser was stable and snappy.

Phone - These days when we talk about smartphones I forget to mention the phone half the time. I just take it for granted that it's going to work and work well. Call quality on the G1 was fine, and the on call options like hold / mute / speaker / add call /etc. are easy to locate and operate. I gotta say, dialing on a touchscreen without having it "click" a la the Storm is beginning to feel wrong for me. While we're talking the basics, contacts and calendar were all on the up and up. Easy to get used to.


A look at the Address Book. Simple and clean. Shortcuts work with the keyboard pulled out. The web browser did a good job of rendering pages and was quite fast.
Native apps are basic and get the job done well for the most part.

Media - This is one of the weaker parts of the native OS. Considering the G1 lacks a dedicated headset jack and doesn't have stereo Bluetooth (yet), I could guess this shouldn't be too big of a surprise. The Youtube app IS sweet (need on BlackBerry), but there is no dedicated native movie player. The music player is alright, as is the photos app, but there was no real wow factor for me. Per the suggestion of forum members on AndroidCentral.com, I downloaded TuneWiki from the Android Market which I liked a lot.

Android Market and 3rd Party Apps - Man I love app stores. It just makes it so easy to get apps onto your smartphone. The Android Market is currently in beta (go figure!), but there were still a sizeable amount of apps within the store, which on the index page are sorted into either Applications or Games. All of the apps are free right now, and in a couple of clicks you can them downloading to be installed. I was really impressed by the fact I could start to download an app, continue using the phone, and go ahead and start downloading another app. I went on one app bender and at one point had six different apps downloading and installing at once. No rebooting, no battery pulls, just easy peasy app goodness. As for the apps I downloaded, some were good, some were bad, and some were so bad they were actually good (LightRacer!!).


Youtube application is solid. Somebody PLEASE make one for BlackBerry. The Treo Pro's full qwerty keyboard is so small it's almost too small.
Youtube app is awesome. Android market is easy to use.

T-Mobile G1 - Some Final Thoughts

So does the G1 hit the spot? Here's my take on it... Remember the rant I went on in the Treo Pro review about on the go devices vs. stop and use devices? I'm an on the go kind of guy, and with a slider form factor that requires you pull out the keyboard most of the time to do anything and a chin that gets in the way even when carrying it in your pocket, without even turning on the device the G1 is not something I'd want to use as my daily driver for more than a week. But that's the device. When it comes to Android on the other hand, there are a lot of things to be impressed by. I absolutely love the homescreen layout and ease of customization and widgets (need more widgets!). I also loved the stability and speed of the OS. Considering this is the first device to run Android, it's really solid. As Rene points out in his review (as other reviewers have too) there are some UI gaps that need to be addressed to help with intuitiveness.

Just yesterday the second smartphone to run Android was announced - the Kogan Agora. I found the timing of this announcement quite ironic though, as it was only a few days ago on our Round Table podcast where we were chatting and I suggested to the crew my "wish list" device... I want to see a smartphone like the BlackBerry Bold or Curve 8900 get a touchscreen added to it (still with trackball and menu/back button underneath) running an operating system that brings the strengths of the BlackBerry and Android platforms together. I need all of the RIM push goodness, but I want that dang homescreen experience too. At least form factor-wise, the Agora is a step toward my new wish list device.

In the end, the G1 is a good. Hopefully by the time the Round Robin rolls around next year the Android-powered phone we use will be great.

Up Next in the Round Robin - The Apple iPhone 3G! Stay Tuned... 

Topics: SPE Round Robin

Kevin Michaluk Kevin Michaluk "Founder, Editor in Chief " 3922 (articles) 3286 (forum posts)
174 comments

JMuRda

The G1 is a pretty good phone, but its no match for the BB Storm!

BMWRockstar

It'll be interesting to see what Google does with their Android operating system... perhaps desktop-OS killer? Goodbye, Windows. Hello, Android. Great article.

Allyson Kazmucha

I think Google got a bad wrap for the things that were wrong with this phone.

Honestly - I think Android has a lot of potential, but I think it's the hardware on the phone that leaves a lot to be desired. Come on - how do you include an mp3 player but you have to buy a dongle adapter to use headphones? That's seriously wack.

I'm not sure HTC really put their best foot forward on this phone. it's hard to think the same manufacturer that made the hideous form factor and hardware for the G1 was the same one that made such beautiful phones like the touch pro, touch diamond, and touch hd. Now only if those phones ran BB OS or S60, I'd be down!

biclocal

sorry google, good first attempt, but with your resources I would have expected much better...I guess they just don't have the experience with hardware cause that design is soooo bad...the sd card can eject spontaneously, the thing looks like a banana from the profile view...etc

GrkBMWQT

I said the same exact thing.....I think RIM needs to develop a blackberry that is the Bold & the Curve 8900 mushed together with a touchscreen!!!! I think we will be getting our wish sometime next year!!!

P.S.- What was their reason for designing the G1 with that "chin" or bend?? I thought that thing is ridiculous!! It woulda been so much better if they just kept a straight design!!!

Allyson Kazmucha

I do agree that RIM should produce a hybrid touchscreen however. Mostly because it would satisfy touchscreen freaks AND those who are wary about completely giving up buttons, like myself.

Now as far as the slider on the G1. I actually think it's more ergonomic to have that bend. Did you see the Nokia N97, I think that came off well w/ that bend. As far as the G1, I do agree the bend is kind of at a bad angle. It either needed to have MORE of a bend, or no bend at all, because the way they did it really had no functionality benefit.

yankees9920

I agree with you kevin, the future released by google will probably be awesome. Especially when developers have created awesome open source apps!

vupkp44

I like the bold better!

CasyCasy

T-Mobile G1 - What a cool invention. I love the look.

talljason

It is really great to be seeing more mobile OS’s come out and different ideas for smart phones in the market.

lifeinview

I'd never switch but do you think that it would be a good change for my daughter who currently has a sidekick? Great news about the email!

Allyson Kazmucha

I think it would definitely be a step up from a sidekick for sure!

As far as a Blackberry, I wouldn't trade a Blackberry for a G1, but a sidekick, definitely.

scboatman

I also think the future gens of the G1 will be special.

Rene Ritchie

Nice review!

Your BlackBerry background with trackballs might have made you far more forgiving than I, but we all agree this is a platform to watch. (Long as it doesn't take WinMo fracture route).

Can't wait to see your iPhone review!

JSho101

Well, it definitely doesn't look as sleek and sexy as a Bold. I doubt it performs as well either :)

Bla1ze

looks to be a great platform, with a lot of potential but at this point the G1 did not create that wow factor I assume they were hoping for, only the die hard have jumped into it so far. It needs a NICE looking device to actually give it some major ground and take off.

CajunTechie

I finally know a couple of people with the T-Mobile G1 and there are two things I keep hearing about it that this post/review seems to confirm:

1. It's an amazing phone - really the dream phone.
2. It's just not sexy.

Thankfully, the "dream phone" part of it seems to outweigh the "not sexy" part and people are buying. But both T-Mobile and Google are going to have to bring sexy back in the next version to keep the momentum going IMHO.

From the looks of it, the G1 suffers from the same thing the original Microsoft Zune did: good, solid device; horrible, antiquated look. Maybe that's the look they were going for but it just doesn't work. It looks cludgy.

Anyway, thanks for the review!! Good information for those of us interested in buying a G1 soon.

Anthony Papillion
MessengerBoy
www.messengerboy.net

aragon7

It looks alright I guess... but the Bold still kills it :D

Jwolf854

I think this device is the corner stone that future Google phones will be built upon. I'm with Kevin, I can't wait to see what the G2, G3, etc. will have to offer.

For now though, the Bold rules over all!

mkoby

This was an excellent review of the G1. And it confirmed my initial impressions of the device. Those impressions are great 1st generation Android device. I'm really excited to see what kind of phones we'll see with Android on them, but I think the G1 is just the introduction to what can be accomplish with Android.

That being said, I agree with Kevin in asking "Why hasn't RIM implemented threaded SMS/Email" or at least given users the option to have threaded conversations.

The other other CB Smartphone Round Robin review I'm looking forward to is the iPhone 3G one.

lilman573

Did anyone else notice the blackberry button on that Kogan...???

SOUJAH345

If i wasnt so in love with my curve i would venture off to the g1 im happy tmobile finally release a device thats exclusive to them.

wcihlu

no! da bold owns da g1!

Moirethe

Well of all things my MOM was thinking of getting a G1, which was surprising for me. But after reading this review I might have to give her some feedback on that. I have to agree with the banana look, not very flattering, imo.

Anonymous

I just can't agree with this post any more. As much as I was impressed with Android OS and all the free and fun software it came with, I was very disappointed with the hardware for this much anticipated phone. Both my coworker and myself returned the phone in one week. Look forward to the G2 or G3 hardware and hope they will be very careful on picking the phone next time. Until then I will be enjoying my BB Storm to the fullest :-)

Happy Holidays!

cexshun

That is one awkward form factor.

LilMissBBAddict

...might be a nice phone, but it's no Blackberry! It's a good phone for T-Mobile, thought.

Nathan.Carey

I like this phone, not as much as the storm though

ingrassia

It looks like a black brick! Android OS looks great but I think a phone needs a little personality!

davidv2003

The phone itself should be called G1 Beta, especially with that "chin"! It looks like it's been dropped/broken...I'll wait for the "final" release thank you.

blackberry_obsession

Though I don’t like the G1’s look (chin) and screen size, the os looks to be promising. If the HTC Touch HD becomes the next android device, then we might have a winner. The G1 offers a nice alternative to those who neither want an iphone or blackberry.

maxcarter

Can't wait for the bold

diesel349

It doesn't really shine in the necessary categories...

jnieves

Still prefer my blackberry!

Dimietriev

The Storm and Iphone have the edge in looks when you have them side by side, for sure.

l1fe

but having a phone by them seems like i'd have all my eggs in one basket...besides, I want a bold!

justdigphones

It's just such a disappointing form factor. I mean if this were another windows mobile phone it would be laughed at.

STYLN

Boooo-uuurrrnnnnnssss! That is the ugliest fone Ive ever seen! I'll take that Bold now please! :D lol

.m.e.

form factor of this pone alone gets it a MAJOR fail in my my books ..

tnewton3

Phone is not really what I would like, but what I would like is winning a Bold. Please.

mkottman23

I hope Google keeps with the cell phones, even if I never buy one they're bound to come up with amazing cellular innovations that will impact the entire mobile community in the future.

jbonnot03

Looks to be a promising device and platform in future releases. The deal breaker will be that crazy cure all adapter since it doesn't have a headphone jack. When I left my 680 I decided that I wouldn't own another device that didn't have a standard 3.5mm headphone jack. All the adapters do is cause malfunctions.

driwashsolutions

... it still just looks funny to me. Maybe if the bottom portion (in portrait mode) didn't look like it was an afterthought, it may look a tad bit better.

shoyouright

Glad you do these round robins....gives a good idea to what phone is best to fit your lifestyle...keep up the good work

crashdavis

Sounds like a good first attempt. I'll still take the Bold over it.

dagda1

Maybe in a few years but not yet G1. Gotta go for the Bold.

Bunbury

Based on this and the other reviews, I'll stick with my premise; this isn't a smartphone. This is a feature phone with very good Google app connectivity. That's it. I don't use gMail often, though I have an account. I do use Exchange coporate push (or BB BES), Yahoo, Windows Live, and ISP based Verizon mail. For the millions like me, this phone is no different than an LG Dare and may be less functional. If find it shocking that you can stick the word Google on the ugliest girl in school and suddenly she's a prom queen.

pmjohnson99

G1 has promise, they really should just make it as close to functional as possible. Remove any restriction on what you can do with it.

driphter

I agree, a BB with a touch screen and a trackball would be awesome. I would like a more intuitive home screen experience also. The traditional today screen leaves me wanting more.

nmestler

I am excited about this platform. I can't decide whether to go blackberry or android.

satellite1203

I have the bold only for past 4 months. I like it alot. Great piece of toy.

timatl

I use to be a blackberry curve user. I agree with almost every thing that Kevin says. My primary email is from gmail so the adjustment wasn't to bad. I still miss having the push email for the other accounts. The web browsing on the this phone blows away the curve (even with 4.5 OS). I am a t-mo user and I miss my UMA calls over wifi that I had with the curve. The call quality is good. With my curve a steady hand was needed to to take good pictures but the auto focus on the G1 is great. This is by far the best camera phone I have owned. I am really enjoying the G1 and discovering new features all the time. I think google will be updating firmware on a regular basis. The updates come OTA so don't have to download the OS on pc. It just happens.

lawingr

This is the one RIM needs to watch out for - I can see Google's phone getting much better over the coming years.

I really like this phone!

ebarnichta

as great as android can be... I would never even look at this phone simply because of the out-dated hardware.

jperinger

it does not even sound like a device I would TRY.

zee921

The housing just bothers me...no style.

twosixths

Kevin,

The "chin" is pretty awkward. It was designed to let you put the phone 'face down' on a table or desk without scratching the touchscreen or mashing the trackball. The G1's speaker is actually located on its back, so if the phone is 'face up' it can be harder to hear in loud environments. I'm by no means defending its form, just explaining its functionality.

You also mentioned that it felt odd not to 'close' programs. I AGREE. When I had my curve I would close EVERYTHING and do a battery pull every week or so just in case. Android is supposed to optimize memory internally (i.e. shut down programs that are running and not in use, etc.) but this feature needs a LOT of work.

As a former crackberry addict, I can honestly say the two things I miss most are the all-inclusive media player (BB users take that for granted) and the robust contact list. Gmail just doesn't let me enter in enough information about people and even when I can, it doesn't synch in a format friendly to MS Exchange/etc.

So... Send me a Storm and I'll reconvert. Sound good?

Loren

geek#CB

Wow, what a thorough review. The G1 is the only other phone I would consider getting aside from a new blackberry. Only because its 1) on T-mobile and 2) its open source

NamelessLiar

I'm actually looking forward to a G2, or G3...

matanderin

As a general rule, it's seemed like Google has bent over backwards to play well with other folks software (Blackberry, Windows Mobile, Apple), while still developing their own mobile OS. Gmail, calendar, etc have some kind of accessibility in the other smartphone platforms.

You have to give them credit for providing accessibility to all while still trying to sell their own product. Wouldn't it be nice if other companies did the same? (iTunes springs to mind...) It's interesting that Google can be so open and accessible, and still make a profit. Makes you wonder what Mr Jobs really has to complain about...

I'm looking forward to the next generations of the Google phone. It might make me consider making another switch (I was a longtime Windows Mobile user until August).

Kronk

This is my comment. There are many others like it, but this one is mine.

seankir79

I still would rather have a bold

rthomp0215

I enjoyed this review a lot. I am very interested in that Kogan Agora Pro. With luck the Android folks will get to review that soon. As with others, though, I love my curve. When AT&T finally release 4.5 for my 8310, my only gripe about the display of HTML email and web pages ought to be remedied. Android is very interesting, though, so I'm looking forward to see what new devices it shows up on.

PvT

Star Trek's Communicator looked more modern than the G1. OK I know it's supposed to be the 23rd century, but the series I'm talking about was in the 20th century... the 1960's to be exact. ;~) So, they still had the design beat, even back then LOL

liz_309

they need to work on adding some bling to it. it's too vanilla.

PanaSama

Great review Kevin, i was also very excited when the news of a mobile os by google came, i think there is a bright future for this platform the best is yet to come.

BBpixie

My husband saw me reading this review and he likes the G1. I showed him the differences of Treo, G1 and blackberry, etc as I'm still trying to get him into the BB world and dump his Treo!!

PittsDriver

my thoughts on the G1 exactly.

Pyxie

If the phone doesn't go over real well, how much money is Google going to put in their mobile OS. There was a news report that they are having financial troubles like everyone else and limiting how much they put into new things.

bB03

I still look at this device and wonder what HTC was thinking. I would love to see Android on a more refined HTC device.

b1gg134

Sticking with my Curve for now but I personally would rather have the G1 over an ipone.

pclarke

can i get a free bold?

Hayze

You seem to be saying what every other reviewer said about it, that the next generation of this phone will be the winner, and this is more of a beta version.

tjk

the model of the phone could definitely have been better, but the ANdroid os is awfully intriguing i must admit. i would have to agree, the future of the device is pretty darn bright!
thanks for the review. haven't had the chance to see the phone in action.

schaidshaw02

Everytime I see this phone I like it less. It's just plain ugly.

Anonymous

This device leaves me waiting for my dream device...

mate this with a blackberry storm and you have a start..

lcg8080

I recently upgraded my phone to a curve about the same time that t-mobile offered a G1's to their customers before everyone else.

At the time I knew that the blackberry was a proven workhorse that I could use on the go while the G1 was basically a prototype that everyone 'hoped' would be great someday.

I bought the Curve and never looked back.

And I'm so glad I did.

Blackberry Rocks...

PHug

Why can't i get my perfect phone?
Hopefully the G2 will add a Tegra chip and a VGA screen.

Using the round robin to help me decide if i want to stay with Sprint and get a Touch Diamond off of Ebay for $250 - $300 or switch to Tmobile and get the G1.

I would look into phones from AT&T or Verizon but they overcharge too much and i don't enjoy getting face raped.

I mainly need a phone for Web browsing, Video playback, light tesxting, very light phone use and some GPS location based services.

dasupaman23

Great final thoughts. I think I am still going to get this device for my "weekend" phone. My daily driver will be the BB but I want to try out T-mobile's 3G service in So Cal. Thanks for the review Kevin!

yoyobo

the key to the phone is the OS, as long as the OS is successful then it will take off. with talk of sony and motorola possibly using it is a huge a thing.

Dannyg227

The OS looks amazing and seems really cool but the phone looks blah...needs a lil more appeal and less rectangular. I heard someone was able to install linux on an Iphone but it lost its feature for touch. Maybe if someone could try to install Android on a Unlocked T-Mobile Iphone. I might like to have one of those badboys

BeBolder

It's a kind of cool form factor.

CellJunkie21

I played with one of these the first day they came out. I was somewhat impressed and need to spend some more time with it.

trpdnabx

Nothing compares to the Bold!!!!

Silver5

That is the main reason I don't have one. It just doesn't seem like a finished product. The OS, the hardware, the combination...it just makes me think, "Almost."

pinguino1

Thank you Kevin, your video convinced me that the G1 is a lot better than my first impression. But I will wait and see were the G1 and Androit end up a year from now.

Koyei

From what I have been reading and hearing the G1 has a lot of work ahead of itself. About a week ago I went in to my neighborhood T-Mobile store and got to take a look at the G1. I wasn't impressed. Holding the device was uncomfortable. I have very small hands so comfort means a lot to me, especially if I'm texting. I don't care for the fact that you have to pull out the keyboard to use most of the functions. The camera doesn't have a flash (I have two kids so I take and send a lot of pics) and there are practically no ports. My BB Pearl is my MP3 player and if I'm in public I need to be able to use headphones. I'm not an expert on software but the G1 just doesn't seem to add up to what I've experienced with my BB. I think for now I'll stick with what I know.

kasperapd

I just don't like the slide out screen. I'm sure that would be the first thing I would break.

chakejaam

g1 screen looks pretty nice

chad.strunk

...but I'd still rather have a BB. (Who puts a chin on a phone?)

bbsadaj

if the blackberry ceased to exist (very difficult to type)this would be the device i would pick. it looks cool in a weird way.

blueline

The os is the only good part of the phone. The hardware side just does not seem like it was well thought out. However I will be following the development of android and all future phones running it.

lions80#CB

why not make the phone at least look good before you put it out

telejeff

blah blah only commenting for contest blah

wmp.dll

I like the Android OS, but I dont really like the looks of the G1. In White it is ok. That weird bend thing, I could do without.

I'll still take that free Bold your giving away :)

Omahahaha

Sounds like this could become a really cool platform, but I don't think the G-1 should have been released until it was polished in the looks department. Looks do count!

royk

if nothing else, this does show us that there could be another heavyweight of a device in our near future. excited to see how it develops.

maverick262

If I didnt absolutely love my crackberry, I could see myself getting a G1.

BerryEnvy

I left T-Mobile literally just a few weeks before the G1 was announced. I was so disappointed at the time that I nearly dropped AT&T to go back. If T-Mobile's service in my area was better, I just may have. On the bright side, leaving T-Mobile brought me to find my newest love, my Blackberry 8310, so all in all it was a good thing.

Ryan C

Very in-depth review. The G1's really got me curious about Android, and the more I read about it, the more it seems like it's a phone that's worth at least checking out for myself. Regardless of some of the problems the G1 has, I agree that what's most exciting about it is the prospects of the future iterations of the Google phone.

CapnDap

I've always said that the g1 is not for anyone interested in current technology. There is no one product that can sell for a long period of time unless the hardware has some sexy added to its form factor.

linkkoriri

I did enjoy seeing the Homescreen interface. It was well put together, with the multi screens, and how the wallpaper slightly moved with the page flip on the homescreen. And the app store was nice too. But all in all, I'd still be one to wait for the Blackberry Storm (BELL, Pick Up The Pace!!)

dpildner

Being that I am just learning how a Blackberry works due to getting the storm, I am amazed at what it can do. That said learning a new operating system and its tricks even to do a review must be fun (not). I do appreciate the time that the reviewers put in to write an informative review. Thanks to all.

Dave

driphter

When will we see a winner for posting on these round robin reviews? In the words of Nacho Libre, "I wanna Weeen!"

Xopher

Wonderful review, Kevin!

I have to say, I like the look of the OS, and its flexibility. I have no doubts that Android will be the OS to watch in the future. I can see where the current hardware brings down the experience a bit. Since this is a first-generation unit, hopefully newer devices can build upon the good OS experience. :-)

jkeeley1

If the phone I had from Cellular One in 1995 split open to reveal a qwerty keyboard, it would look very similar to the G1. The G1 may have some great features but it looks like you're talking into your TV remote.

ajwoodwpg

The Android OS is the one I'm definitely looking most forward to in the future. I'm a huge advocate of open source software, for both its price (free?!?) and community customizability. I'm a mac user by trade, and everything that I can replace with an open source alternative I have already. Having said this, every new technology needs to go through the painful stepping process, but a testament to both the G1 and Android for having such a huge start right out of the gate. Very exciting.

hpfanatic

It doesn't quite do it for me. The looks just throw me off completely.

Good first attempt though

dcramirez1

I owned a G1 before switching to a curve. Sturdy hardware, sound software, but relied on google to be of any practical use.

I didn't feel comfortable having to put my life on google's servers.

jordanbarsuk91

this is such a good looking phone

tekneakz

i couldn't see myself using a G1. I think android is a step in the right direction but the layout of that device is horrible imo.

ems2857

I agree. and it would be nice if they could make it a little prettier!

laurenmac

What a mismatch of hardware and software. Android is way too sexy for that block of plastic housing.

Queen4111

The G1 is a playful gadget.

Bunbury

It's ugly, runs beta software and has limited connectivity and functionality. If this phone isn't dead last in the roundup, and by a LOT, something is wrong. So far in reading Casey's reviews, the G1 is behind both the other phones he tried.

3083joe

I want a BB Bold!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

sdlphotography07

I think Google did pretty well for their first dive into the smartphone pool. It's a very well thought out phone for the most part. Although I could never get over my Crackberry Addiction...and hopefully as long as i'm alive I won't have to. Again here's another shameless comment to gain yet another entry into the Blackberry Bold contest. Go Bold!!!

pinguino1

I know the BlackBerry and the G1 are very different in every way. I have a question for Casey:

1- What hardware features from the G1 you would like to have in the Bold
-
2- What functionality in Androit you are missing in the Bold
-
3- What apps in the G1 would be great in the Bold?
-
4- What form factor/looks designed from the G1 are missing in the Bold?
-

PRIMECHUCK

I need a BB BOLD. The G1 has a problem with general use. The slide up screen mounts brake off. A problem like the BB track ball falling out.

cafe_civet

The Android OS has so much potential. I'd like to see BlackBerry open up and update its OS or possibly even adopt Android.

dannzeman

How I long for an Android Market/App Store for Windows Mobile...*dreams*

sanduneboi

yeah the G1 just looks like it would be akward to use... Can't say that I am a fan... Can't wait to see what other hardware the OS is loaded onto though...

strickler

my favorite part of everything here is that dude in the videos earring...by far..haha

ecooper11

Please pick me to win the Bold!

dionysos

It really is too bad about the industrial look. I played with a G1, and aside from the looks, seems like a pretty good phone.

G1User

1. The chin of this phone has yet to get in my way in my pocket or while typing. I believe BB users hold their phones a certain way and thats not the way I usually hold any slide out phone to type. Its as comfortable as any other slide out. The pocket thing I think is just an urban legend thats now repeated by anyone reviewing the phone. The chin actually helps me hold it better.

2. The design is just fine. Its not sexy....but neither is the BB Storm in person. The G1 in person looks way smaller and better than pictures. The BB Storm in person looks and feels very cheap as compared to the G1. It feels like a solid device while the Storm feels like cheap plastic.

3. I think you worry too much about Android's market saturation potential and you actually make the case by knocking the design of the G1. With BB and IPhone I'm probably never going to get anything outside of those form factors. With Android theres no telling what type of neat form factors that may come along. If I like the BB form factor theres already an Australian phone that has it while running Android. I'm glad they concentrated on the OS and not a single device like Apple.

maxcarter

A free bold, awesome!!!

essex80

I agree with the form factor but if RIM could manage apps like the G1 does, phones like the Bold, Storm & Curve 8900 would be unstoppable devices. I own a G1 & 8320 by the way. I consider them the best of both worlds.

damnvegetarian

I couldn't agree more that to truly utilize such an amazing OS there should be a dedicated device for the OS. Although some are going to come close, like that Kogan Agora, which if you check the specs claims to push email which would solve one of my biggest gripes about the last android phone. Don't get me wrong I love my blackberry I think that they are the best phones on the market for now. But I am a Linux user which means I like things to work my way, and certain limitations are in place with the blackberry OS. Although there isnt too much wrong with doing things the Apple way or the blackberry way but I cant wait to have a phone that works my way.

damnvegetarian

I couldn't agree more that to truly utilize such an amazing OS there should be a dedicated device for the OS. Although some are going to come close, like that Kogan Agora, which if you check the specs claims to push email which would solve one of my biggest gripes about the last android phone. Don't get me wrong I love my blackberry I think that they are the best phones on the market for now. But I am a Linux user which means I like things to work my way, and certain limitations are in place with the blackberry OS. Although there isnt too much wrong with doing things the Apple way or the blackberry way but I cant wait to have a phone that works my way.

sLpfhaWK

I'm not a huge fan of the G1. One of my friends is a Manager at a Tmobile store here in Mass and he got his for free and had it a few days before the actual release, I played with it tried to get a feel for it and it just didn't feel right in my hands, felt cheap and i hated the trackball even tho its basically the same one you'd find on a blackberry. I hated the email functionality as well. I dunno, the only thing I did like was the barcode scanner.. Made me wanna go into a supermarket and scan everything haha

ART iBerry

the Bold still rules!!!

wantmesomeblackberry

the multiple inputs on the g1. but i like the blackberrys look better. tough choice

royk

I'm curious to see how your time with the iPhone 3G will turn out. The first time I used an iPhone, I was rather distressed about the lack of a hard keyboard (and therefore hated the experience), but have since found quite a few things to like about the iPhone.

Anonymous

yea the iphone is great and all but theres not alot of functionality. It does internet, music, and video very well, but a phone isnt just for those things. I guess i would give it more credit if the battery could last longer and withstand that kind of use. I do feel like android has a lot of potential to get better, but in my opinion the best phones to get right now would be windows mobile phones and blackberry phones. They have productivity and are capable of the music, video, and internet.

KidProdigy

ENTER ME IN THE CONTEST!! YA!

PRIMECHUCK

Don't jump ship, Support RIM BB CB SPRTNT.

talljason

When is the first look for the iPhone 3G coming up?

pmjohnson99

bold is still what I think is the best one out.

KLutes

Hmm I like the G1 but I am just not sure if that operating system is me. It is too, out there and I feel like I much prefer the straightforward and conservative but highly functional OSes which can still be very easy on the eyes like the newer blackberry OS and TouchFlo3d

5hea

gimme a bold any day.
no really, please do.
winning this contest would be suhweeeetttt!

lovethiz

It seems like the G1 is pretty good has a promising future... The BB Bold/Storm would kick major ass if that had a wicked app store like others! So much potential Hopefully they tap into that market so they can let em loose ha lol.

Black-Cat

The G1 looks great to me. I even prefer its utilitarian design and find the chin quite attractive. The screen puts it over the top. How could I be happy with the smaller, non-touch screen on the Bold? OTOH, there's the Storm.

Erikk

Wow... This is far and away the best review ive seen in the round robin. Really in depth shows you care. Good stuff.

Ryan C

Would love to see the Bold incorporate some of the G1's features.

dstrauss#CB

It just seems like it is a very early 1.0 or even .98 release version. Besides, I still just don't get the interest in "another" cellphone OS.

jekyoo_style#CB

Only if the phone was nicer...The OS is nice but the phone is crap. =( The styling is uber failure.

akamaru64

When it's time comes it'll be one amazing device.
The only problem is...it's time hasnt come.

Dctaneyo

If the RIM fell off the face of the earth then this would probably be my next smartphone. Uh but that will never happen GO RIM!

Charlotte A

The G1 may have the new android os but it doesn't suit my ideal phone because of its unappealing form factor

Snowman81

I think overall its a pretty nice device, its just a shame HTC dropped the ball when it came to designing the G1's body. The OS looks pretty nice, but not quite perfect, I think right now if I could get one I'd go with the Bold....even though I like touchscreens.

Devesh

For some reason, SmartPhone manufacturers in North America, seem to overlook many aspects of the phone and the GSM system.

Two features I miss on my Curve, and I wish are there on the Android based phones.

1.
The ability to put a caller tune for all "known" callers, i.e. those folks I have in my contacts list. The Treo had this feature. Dunno if it is still there. Yes, I can do individual contacts, on my Curve, but for 1500 contacts, its a chore.

2.
The ease of phone operations of any Nokia. Especially switching back and forth between two calls. Just keep pressing the green/call button. Most folks in Asia do not have or do not want voice mail. VM is so North America.

North American SmartPhones, seem to be designed for North America, and make assumptions that do not hold true in the global market. E-mail instead of SMS is just one example. In Asia, SMS is still the dominant messaging medium, especially in youngsters 14 years+. They are they smartphone consumers of tomorrow.

A most simple feature -- sending a contact card via SMS. Amazingly, Treo, BB, WinMobile, do not have this. Can anyone clarify if the G1 has it ?

The North American market is still relatively small compared to the Global market, which could explain why Nokia still commands such a dominant share of the global smartphone market, while Apple, BB, and even WinMobile lag well behind.

Nokia is using Microsoft's method of a great user interface, to hook customers now, and for the future. I have personally experienced, over a hundred cases amongst friends and family, paying more, or accepting less bells and whistles, for a Nokia phone, when upgrading to a new phone -- just to preserve the user experience.

Charlotte A

g1 is an appropriate launch for android which maybe the most exciting os. i cannot wait for the next android phone

akamaru64

Yeah, I would only describe the G1 as "good"

DPinMD

Great review. Like you, I'm definitely more interested in the potential for G2s, G3s, etc. than in the G1.

Fruit1580

Google putting out a phone is just weird. I have used it, I prefer the storm over this.

Train13

I dont really care for the physical design and look of it. Compared to other's on the market this just looks kind of going backwards. Google will make this a promising device of the future. Still dont know if I can give up my crack no matter what they do.

seanp666

I think id rather have a bold but I wouldnt kick this device outta bed

PanaSama

The device might be ugly but the OS make it a great smartphone at heart.