hello G1

T-Mobile G1 diary of a user.
Landroid of hope and glory, I’m back with a G1, well a Dev 1 to be precise.  Now the HTC magic has taken android to the masses, and with 18 other android phones due this year, I’m working on some android (and iPhone) app development.   
Sadly the Dev 1 like the G1 is next to useless as a daily medium use device, due to the terrible battery performance, something the second wave of android phones need sot fix ASAP.

Landroid of hope and glory, I’m back with a G1, well a Dev 1 to be precise.  Now the HTC magic has taken android to the masses, and with 18 other android phones due this year, I’m working on some android (and iPhone) app development.   

Sadly the Dev 1 like the G1 is next to useless as a daily medium use device, due to the terrible battery performance, something the second wave of android phones need sot fix ASAP.

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pining for the fjords

This is odd - I’ve had a G1 for a little over a week - and I’m generally not loving it.  Now its a great start for a platform - but the hardware is poor - battery life makes itunreliable as a medium use handset (forget heavy use). At least you can carry a spare (not currently available though - other than dodgy ebay ones). For me the G1 and N96 are two very very different phones. If the N96 had solid firmware it would trounce the G1 - but it doesn’t which makes life more complicated.

The G1 feels fresh - even in post iPhone expectations.  But its just lacking that certain - useful ness.  The App Store Android Market has nothing of real use to me.  Nokia download may be pants - but at least nokia have tons of genuinely useful software to add to you N-series phone.  These will come to android in time - but at the moment its missing core functionality.  Video is uncatered for - I have a big lovely screen and no way of reliably watching video content - or creating any.  The music player should be filed under ‘functional’ but is best avoided as it drains the battery quicker than you can say ‘kylie’s gold hot pants’.

G1 does email and cloud syncing better than ever - without the mobile me style disasters. The keyboard makes replying to emails a joy - but at a cost - even sending a short sms requires you to flop out the keyboard and jump into two handed mode.  A virtual keyboard option is essential in the future (esp as some android phones will presumable have no physical QWERTY or keypad - like the rumoured touch HD with android).

Of course the physical and functional elements of these devices is nothing without a seemless, fast and pragmatic operating system/software combination. Nokia really need to follow google/yahoo and apples lead on a single user login for all services.

So the big question - which would I keep if I could only have one.  Surprisingly I would plump for the N96.  Though neither is an ideal choice - we’re in a post iPhone drought of inspring handsets - and I am confident 2009 is going to start with a bang (5th edition S60 phones -N97? N98? iPhone v3, RIM seem to be hitting the smart/consumer market rather than just the suits and some serious Android handsets).

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The macro mode on the camera is excellent. A little under saturated. It when things are moving and out and about in tricky natural lighting that it comes undone.

The macro mode on the camera is excellent. A little under saturated. It when things are moving and out and about in tricky natural lighting that it comes undone.

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There’s some serious adverts running hitting all the commuters. ie in train stations / on bus stops / the free papers etc.

There’s some serious adverts running hitting all the commuters. ie in train stations / on bus stops / the free papers etc.

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speed test.

I’ve been getting really good 3G though t-mobile - WAY better than o2. So i thought i would test it on the train home - the harshest of mobile environments. I kept getting 900 - 1500 KBPS!! wtf! though oddly it was reporting wifi - even though there was no wifi connection and the 3G <-> thing was flashing during the tests.

my battery was quite low at this point too. The G1 cant make a full day on a charge on light use - heavy use and its lucky to make lunch.

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Love Hate

Ewan at Mobile Industry Review has posted his 16 things I Like about the G1 and i pretty much agree with him. I haven’t been as excited about a new device like this since the original iPhone.  I could probably add on another 16 things i Like too. But instead ill list the negatives.  

Battery life - par for the course - and what you pay for in terms of OS speed, great 3G speed and lovely big screen, etc. At least with the G1 I can get a spare battery / or bulky extended battery/cover combo.

The Device Hardware. It’s not a patch on some other HTC devices in terms of bulk and overall design.  The screen isn’t true to the device when open - see below.  The device needs to be open for a high percentage of use - which makes it slightly ungainly and awkward.

Heat generation - again comes with the territory - iPhone 3G and HTC Diamond both generate similar hand warming experiences.

Camera - HTC don’t do cameras. every HTC phone I have used has had a very poor camera - and this one suffers from a similar issue with the cover actually degrading the camera performance - be it form finger prints or just the materials used.

Video recording - like that hollywood blockbuster it should be coming soon, but already I missed it this weekend when playing with my kids.  I had to run and dig out my N95, which i couldn’t find - so ended up using my lumix.

Video playback - its a joy on the iPhone, its pretty good on the N96. Its close to useless at the moment on the G1, but when core comes out that should be addressed.

MP3 - it seems to drain the battery very badly playing back MP3, and support for album art, file transfer is limited.  on par with nokia’s current efforts - well behind iPod erm I mean iPhone.

Non cloud syncing. Its a pain to transfer odd the images - without physically removing the memory card. All that usb mode crap is hidden away.

Finish - again a love / hate - the soft touch almost rubberised paint on the black one - make it stick in your pocket when putting in and out - combined with the overall bulk - its more of a coat pocket than jeans pocket phone - which for me is a bit of a negative - esp when the weather improves.  I suspect the smooth white version is a little easier getting in and out of jeans.

Little things - the usb flap is a bit unnecessary, no 3.5mm audio - and no stereo bluetooth - show the devices lack of a music / video focus.

Camera button - is badly placed - they way you hold the phone to steady it means that as you press the button - your thumb ends up pushing up the screen and stopping you pressing the button - though now I know I can use the roller ball instead its not such an issue - I have stopped using the dedicated camera button all together now.

No virtual keyboard option - which means unopened/single handed usage is impossible.

No multi-touch - ok no one has it but apple. But its sadly missed in maps.

oh I’m really loving it really - and as I said I could probably write a list twice as long that evangelising the positives. 

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I&#8217;m loving the location services.  The G1 is the best gps on phone ive experienced (this is after using N95,N96,iPhone 3G and HTC touch diamond. Now no phone based GPS is perfect - the battery issues and satellite lock issues will always be a problem. But this does a great job of locking on to location in seconds rather than minutes - or not at all.
My testing has been in central london - where the N95/N96/iPhone struggle to do anything other than nearest cell location.   It did a very good job quickly - sure its out by a few meters - but over all better than I expected - and I expected a fail.  
The only down side - an error on google maps data (it&#8217;s the same online) where the bit of Wardour street below Shaftsbury avenue is incorrectly labeled Whitcomb street - this confused the hell out of me.

I’m loving the location services.  The G1 is the best gps on phone ive experienced (this is after using N95,N96,iPhone 3G and HTC touch diamond. Now no phone based GPS is perfect - the battery issues and satellite lock issues will always be a problem. But this does a great job of locking on to location in seconds rather than minutes - or not at all.

My testing has been in central london - where the N95/N96/iPhone struggle to do anything other than nearest cell location.   It did a very good job quickly - sure its out by a few meters - but over all better than I expected - and I expected a fail.  

The only down side - an error on google maps data (it’s the same online) where the bit of Wardour street below Shaftsbury avenue is incorrectly labeled Whitcomb street - this confused the hell out of me.

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unlocking the G1 without any software or hardware amends. Just the magic sim card clip on from simable.  When restarted it said - no service.  but then bars started to appear. obviously I didn&#8217;t get any data - though thats just a case of entering all the suitable operator details.  On restarting with the t-mobile sim back in had to enter my google account password.  I&#8217;m not sure what advantage this is - unless you can get one sim free from somewhere?

unlocking the G1 without any software or hardware amends. Just the magic sim card clip on from simable.  When restarted it said - no service.  but then bars started to appear. obviously I didn’t get any data - though thats just a case of entering all the suitable operator details.  On restarting with the t-mobile sim back in had to enter my google account password.  I’m not sure what advantage this is - unless you can get one sim free from somewhere?

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Is this normal? My screen is always at a alight angle - rather than true to the keyboard. Being a zen kinda guy - this annoys the hell out of me.  It&#8217;s like having a wonky picture frame - very nagging in an irrational way.
I&#8217;ve added two white lines to show the issue - it&#8217;s slight - but its always off a bit.

Is this normal? My screen is always at a alight angle - rather than true to the keyboard. Being a zen kinda guy - this annoys the hell out of me.  It’s like having a wonky picture frame - very nagging in an irrational way.

I’ve added two white lines to show the issue - it’s slight - but its always off a bit.

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Here there be photo&#8217;s. This is an ongoing updated flickr set of soem sample photos taken with the G1s camera&#8217;s. The results are mixed - basically good light = good results.  Natural light being best.  Also keep an eye on the lens cover as if it has finger prints on the results are really bad.

Here there be photo’s. This is an ongoing updated flickr set of soem sample photos taken with the G1s camera’s. The results are mixed - basically good light = good results.  Natural light being best.  Also keep an eye on the lens cover as if it has finger prints on the results are really bad.

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