Life with a Google phone

November 22, 2008

When the much-herald Google phone was launched in the UK towards the end of October, and we started the Erewhon project at about the same time, I decided that fate had intended me to acquire my first smartphone. I therefore went out on day 1, signed up for the exorbitant initial contract offering from T-Mobile, took home a white G1 and have been using it ever since.

If you have not heard of it, the G1 phone is the first device to use Google’s Android operating system, intended to be freely available to any phone manufacturer, and enabling application developers to write high-quality tools which will run on a wide variety of phones. If it is successful, you can expect to see more
manufacturers picking up on Android. This first model is made by the respected HTC company from Taiwan.

In summary, what the G1 and Android give us today is

  • phone (as you might expect!)
  • always-on internet (seamless switch between 3G and wireless networks)
  • touch-screen interface, enhanced by slide-out keyboard
  • storage on micro SD card (I added an 8 gbyte one)
  • complete syncing integration with Google apps (mail, contacts, calendar, maps, search)
  • camera
  • GPS
  • web-browsing
  • media playing
  • .. and as many other applications as people care to write
G1 Google phone desktop

G1 Google phone desktop

Reviews of the G1 are widely available, and vary wildly in their assessment depending on the standpoint of the reviewer. To those who love the Apple iPhone, it is a cranky weak imitation; to long-time
phone-watchers, it’s a ho-hum bit of hardware with an interesting operating system; to “openness” advocates, it is the second coming, real-Linux-onna-phone. Read the rest of this entry »