All of last week I was struggling to make the big decision of whether or not to leave behind my beloved Moto Q (Sprint) for the brand new T-Mobile G1. I’ve been a Sprint customer since December of 2003 and I’ve been quite pleased with their service, especially their network’s great coverage and lightening fast speed. However, they have always been lacking in terms of innovative handsets and great video support. Don’t get me wrong, my Moto Q is really great but it’s basically locked into the Windows Mobile platform; a proprietary jailhouse that lacks flexibility and stymies application development.
Android, Google’s mobile platform, is an open source operating system that allows 3rd party developers to create innovative, useful mobile applications for consumers. Many of them are free for use and can be installed on your G1 with a simple click of a single “install” button. This is great not only for the consumer but for Google and the outside developers too. That is, it allows the consumer to customize their phone to meet their own needs via the numerous available apps, it creates jobs by allowing developers to create new innovative applications, and it helps Google further develop their mobile platform while keeping some of their costs down. For those reasons, an open source or API based approach toward developing a technology is in my opinion the best way to go and why Sprint, despite their great network and crappy leadership, is failing.
I had initially considered purchasing an iPhone as it too provides lots of flexibility and tons of great features. However, I couldn’t get past the tangible need to have a real keyboard at my fingertips (a primary reason why I love my Moto Q). I don’t know how any iPhone user can stand to peck key by key at a virtual keyboard and not get frustrated by how long it takes them to simply type-in a few words, let alone a full sentence or text message. In contrast, the G1′s feature set and abilities rivals that of the iPhone and gives me a large physical QWERTY keyboard to boot.
I finally pulled the trigger and purchased the T-Mobile G1 last Monday and to my surprise it arrived in the mail the following Wednesday. T-Mobile was offering a pretty great price for new customers that signed a 2-year contract. I added the unlimited data and text messaging plan and a MyFaves service plan as well. After charging it overnight and stuffing it with a 8 GB Sandisk MicroSDHC memory card I was able to start tinkering around with it the very next day. I found it delightful that synchronizing my Google Account with my new G1 was a total breeze. Within a matter of seconds I was already emailing friends, reading my favorite feeds (Google Reader), and testing out my calendar.
One of the biggest changes for me, a Windows Mobile based Moto Q user, was the ability to connect to surrounding Wi-Fi networks. I previously didn’t have the pleasure of using Wi-Fi on my Moto Q. I’m not sure I actually needed it then since I was using Opera Mini (very fast mobile browser) on Sprint’s speedy network, but it really does make a huge difference when it comes to download speeds and webpage loading times.
Besides the regular stuff that comes with today’s smartphones (i.e. email, web access, etc.) the G1 comes stocked with lots of other great features and functions such as:
- Touch screen
- Tracking ball (operates like a mini mouse)
- Virtual dial pad
- Instant messaging via AIM, Google Talk, Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger
- 3 MP camera
- Ability to access your Yahoo! email account via pop mail – something not normally accessible without a paid Yahoo! account
- Ability to effortlessly watch YouTube videos
- Download and open documents easily via Google Docs
- Google Maps
- GPS integrated with Google Maps
- Google’s super fast mobile web browser
- Amazon MP3 easy downloads and inexpensive prices for DRM-free music
- Google’s free 411 service
- Data synchronization
- Expandable memory
So far I’ve been able to test out quite a few of the Android Market applications and games with my top favorites being:
- ShopSavvy – comparison shopping with barcode scanning abilities
- Flashlight – turns your screen into a bright flashlight
- AcroBible Lite – full KJV of the Bible
- PicSay – photo annotation
- Quickpedia – Wikipedia on my phone
- Ringdroid – allows you to create your own ringtones on the fly using any audio file or mp3
- The Weather Channel – check the weather for any location at any time, receive updates & alerts
- Twidroid – Twitter app
- Upvise Pro – task management tool
- TuneWiki – ambitious media player that does nearly everything
- PAC-MAN – one of best games ever made
- Xtremelabs Speedtest – dead simple, reliable speed testing done right
The Android Market is still somewhat in is infant/toddler stage and it is still primed for more developers to enter and create some fantastic new apps. Some applications that I would like to see added in the near future include:
- A file manager that allows me to access my folders, files, and storage card
- A great RSS reader app like Feedly
- A mobile/location based social network like Loopt or BrightKite
This is only my 6th day of testing and I am still yet to kick all the tires and hit the highway to see what this baby can really do. But so far the only real criticism I can find is that the camera is a tad bit slow to respond. Other than that, I’m practically in love with my new G1. I’ll follow this post up with some real download speed tests, more application testing, and hopefully a bit of criticism…that is, if I can find anyIf you liked this article, please take this time to share it with your Facebook friends using the Facebook button (see Facebook post button to the left) or retweet it using Twitter (see retweet button to the left). You may also want to follow us or subscribe to the site to stay up-to-date with this article. If you'd rather follow us from your Facebook account, join our Facebook fan page or subscribe to our NetworkedBlogs profile.
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