My ex new phone

In what represents a most likely (personal) unassailable world record in short ownership I very briefly owned a T-mobile G1 google phone recently.

Whilst I don’t think first impressions are the be all and end all in reviews, here is what I found out in my roughly 24 hours of ownership

Battery life – pitiful. My blackberry lasts a week on a full charge. My G1 lasted less than a day. Once the battery is ‘conditioned’ that might go to 24 hours of light use. What life do others see? (One of my mates has a BB storm which is equally as poor as the G1 – maybe I’m just out of touch?)

internet – good, decent screen makes it usable.

Keyboard – good, all the useful keys are easy to find and click, on the BB some blindingly obvious keys need major digital contortion.

email – not good, I set up a pop account but the G1 has less memory than your average goldfish (that’s a nice castle…that’s a nice castle…that’s a nice castle…). It was unable to remember which emails I had downloaded and read, and just kept re-downloading and marking all as unread – poor. Poor for 2 reasons – way too much bandwidth and, poor integration with my main systems. That was with a POP account my attempts to set up an IMAP account did not succeed, I didn’t bother with Gmail as I’m not a fan.

With my Vodafone BB I point it at my pop account and it remembers what I have read etc. When I download my pop email to my desktop they also clear from my BB. I like this, and prefer it to having to maintain 2 independent email accounts (The T-mobile/Blackberry server approach).

Scrolling – freaky. Its actually the opposite way to scroll bars. It works how excel works when scroll lock is on – which creates any number of NG requests per week. When you drag down its like you grab the doc and pull it down – probably what you really want is to grab the doc and drag it up to read the next bit. Its the opposite metaphor to the usual where you interact with the view – here you interact with the doc. Not sure if either is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ but they sure are different. I guess with this grab approach you could save a few pixels by removing scrollbars. (I love the way Excel scroll bars are proportional – I like to know if I’m looking at a monster ASAP)

As I will be doing a lot of travelling in 2009 I need something that is the exact opposite of profligate data squandering. Looks like I’ll have to stick to my BB (Even though Vodo squeeze you till your pips squeak on roaming charges!). So the T-Mobile G1 had to go back.

One option I am considering is getting an unlocked G1 and a range of PAYG SIM cards for favourite destinations. At this stage though it might be worth waiting for the next G phone?

I note however that the G1 does Wifi so maybe that is an option, it would be great to have a mobile phone that actually worked at home. If there were an Android Skype client then I would find the G1 hard to resist I think.



4 Responses to “My ex new phone”

  1. Giles Says:

    I’ve had my G1 for a month or two now, and I like it. I’m not sure I would switch to it if I’d already had an iPhone, but it certainly beats the Windows Mobile horror I had before.

    Battery life is OK once it’s conditioned – not a full week, but certainly enough that I don’t need to charge it at the weekend if I switch it off overnight. (I normally just let it charge by plugging it into a USB port on my work machine.)

    The internet browser is a dream to use, especially Google Reader, and I’ve got used to the scrolling – perhaps all of that playing with friends’ iPhones made it feel natural…

    I have to agree that the POP/IMAP built-in email client is useless (though Gmail does pretty much everything I want). Agreed it’s not the right phone if you’re roaming a lot of the time, too – I was in Spain for xmas and had to tell it to not do data roaming (it’s good that there’s an easily-discoverable menu option for this) to avoid bankrupting myself.

    Android Skype – yes indeedy! I bet T-mobile would do their damnedest to squash it, though…

  2. Ross Says:

    My first impressions where a bit like yours Si. I thought i was really plasticy as well, that the scroll wheel thingy was too small, and that the lumby bit at the end got in the way. I was playing with a beta device, but android seemed solid as a rock!

    My current HTC also scroll in the wrong way. To be honest smart phones still have a very long way to come!

  3. Simon Says:

    It certainly wasn’t perfect, but I would get another if I could get a sensible data plan (incl skype from free hotel wifi)

    As time goes on I think there will be a good set of interesting open source apps for Andriod that will make these a very useful bit of kit. I am not talking about fart apps!

    On the other hand its prob not revenue generating for Google so they could bin it if times get too hard. But then the OS-ness would come into its own.

    I can’t decide if a simple little light phone (with no email) and a netbook with wifi broadband might be a better bet.

  4. Giles Says:

    Hmm, I saw a report of the release of Skype for the G1 this morning, but after investigation it turned out to be Skype Lite ( which charges you for calls you make at the standard outgoing call rate – so pretty much a waste of time.

    Presumably it does something like calling a Skype number using the “phone” part of your phone, rather than the Internet connection, then routes your calls through there.

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