HTC Google G1

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For ages now, I've been suffering from a poor to non-existent Orange phone signal in the office. A couple of days ago I'd missed one call too many and snapped, so I'm now the owner of a shiny new HTC Google G1 on T-Mobile.

I decided to keep my old Orange phone anyway as Orange Wednesday 2-for-1 cinema tickets are not worth sacrificing, and the phone was on Pay as you Go so it won't cost me anything to keep. However, this does mean my new phone is on a different number. Contact me directly if you want the new number.

As with any new piece of technology there are good and bad things about it. Here's the good, in no particular order...

  • A consistent phone signal in work!
  • Hardware keyboard - The lack of a hardware keyboard is one of the thing that has put me off buying an iPhone for a long time, despite the phone being a great piece of technology otherwise (the overpriced, fashion item, DRM riddled status of the iPhone is another reason I don't own one). The G1's hardware keyboard works well, even with my fat thumbs (you end up holding the phone at each end with your fingers and typing with your thumbs). This is why I wasn't tempted to wait for the G2 which has moved to a touch sensitive soft keyboard.
  • Big screen - This seems obvious (big photos, video, web pages etc), but it also allows some nice user interface improvements over my old phone. It treats SMS like an IM conversation, so you can read the history of messages to a person on screen which is a lovely touch. Also, any notifications (new text messages, missed calls etc) can be seen instantly by dragging the top of the screen down.
  • Wireless - 3G sucks for proper internet browsing, so it's lovely to have a decent wireless connection on a mobile device, either through the open guest connection at work or at home through my secured wireless router.
  • Open source - I can do what I like with it, I don't have to use iTunes or any other proprietary sync software. If I want to download a piece of music, I simply do so (legally of course) from whatever site I fancy, directly on the phone. I haven't installed the SDK yet, but when I do I'm sure I'll be writing a blog post or two about it.
  • Web Browser - A lovely web browser that seems to work well with pretty much any site I point it at. It's based on WebKit (the same tech as Chrome and Safari) so it's not really a surprise that it works well. My old phone did a good job too using Opera Mobile, but the screen was far too small to make this particularly useful, plus data charges prevented me using it much (data is free on the new contract).
  • Soft case - It was nice to find a fabric case in the box with the phone. It's a bit cheap looking, but it'll stop the phone getting scratched in my coat pocket or bag.
  • Everything works - Unlike my last phone which took a day and a half and several phone calls to customer services people who didn't seem to believe me when I told them it hadn't activated. This new phone was activated within seconds.

Unfortunately, there are a few bad points...

  • GMail - There's nothing wrong with GMail as such, but I really hate being forced into something. I've already got a Google account (registered with my Hotmail address which gives me a little perverse pleasure). I can login to Google Reader and other services using this address, but I don't see why the phone insisted I create a new GMail account as well. In fact I was in such a rush to get this step over with that I mistyped my email alias, so now instead of having an extra email account I probably won't use, I've got one I definitely won't use. Just to rub salt in the wound, there's no way to correct the spelling in the email alias, and it has promoted itself to being the primary email address for my Google account, meaning it sits there taunting me at the top of Google Reader. No other Google service I use forces me to have a GMail address, so why does this phone?
  • Size - While the big screen is lovely, the phone itself is a bit big in my pocket, though I suppose that's the sacrifice you make for buying a smart phone (they all seem to be of similar dimensions).
  • Proprietary headphone socket - Nuff said. There was a set of compatible headphones in the box though, so at least it isn't going to cost me any extra money to listen to a few tunes on the walk to work.
  • It's locked to T-Mobile - But so what? Unless you spend a fortune on an unlocked model, pretty much any phone in the UK is locked to the network you bought it through.

It's only just occurred to me that I should have written this blog post using the phone as a good test for the web browser and keyboard, but I've written it on the PC. Never mind, I guess it's a bit of a mindset change to get used to.

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I've had my G1 for a few weeks now. I first wrote about it just after I got it and now I've had some time to get used to it. Also, it was recently updated to Android 1.5 and I've... Read More


How about contact and calendar syncing? How well does that work?

How are the apps? Tried Skype yet?

Odd how the Android version of Skype can't use Wi-Fi and the iPhone version can _only_ use Wi-Fi.

IainB - I dunno, I'm still in the getting to grips with it at this stage and I haven't played with all the applications yet. It synchronises with GMail contacts and Google Calendar, but won't touch Exchange (unless there's an app available for it that is).

I haven't tried Skype, but then I don't use it anyway. Any phone calls I'm likely to make would be covered in the free minutes.

I've set up the GMail account to sync with my Hotmail account (and send messages as though it was the Hotmail account), so now all my mail appears to be readable and synced on the phone. w00t!

Also, it seems to be automatically syncing any contacts. This rules! Why didn't I buy a smartphone years ago?

i have just purchased a locked version of htc g1 t-mobile google phone which i unlocked online and now the phone cannot work with my local network as i am unable to logged on to a google account here in africa using the phone. personalli i already have a functional google account so what is the preferred solution to my problem

Hi David. I'm sorry you're having a problem with your phone, but this is not a technical support forum and really isn't the place to ask questions like that. I think you're best off contacting your local network - perhaps the settings got changed when you got the phone unlocked and just need to be re-entered.

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This page contains a single entry by KeefJudge published on April 2, 2009 11:09 AM.

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