T-Mobile G1 review: The whole cagoogle
The T-Mobile G1 is the Googlephone. Did we really need to say that? Well, there's more Google in this story than there is phone, so we guess we did. We've got a new contender on the race track but we're talking no rookie here. If you thought Apple made the phone game breathtaking, think of where it's all heading with Google keen to play along. Unlike the iPhone Mac OS X, the Android is the joint effort of the whole Open Handset Alliance, which brings together makers that sure know the drill. So much for the rookie, as long as Google is siding with Asus, HTC, LG, Garmin, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Toshiba.
But well, that's the bigger story. We have the first chapter right here, and it's called the T-Mobile G1 or HTC Dream if you prefer. The first impression sure is important. So, there we go.
T-Mobile G1 or to be also released as HTC Dream might not have the specs to make a geek's heart melt but we guess the Android OS was still gonna draw drool even if it came tossed in a plastic bag or wrapped in newspaper. So, forget about the peculiar form factor, the full QWERTY keyboard, the large and crisp touchscreen and the anti-utopian design. Android's inside and google is the limit.
- Android OS
- 3.2" capacitive touchscreen display of HVGA resolution
- Slide-out five-row full QWERTY keyboard
- Qualcomm MSM 7201A 528 MHz CPU, 192 MB RAM
- Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE support
- 3G with HSDPA 7.2 Mbps and HSUPA 2Mbps
- 3.15 megapixel autofocus camera
- Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g
- Accelerometer sensor
- Digital compass
- Quite unassuming looks
- Pretty bulky and heavy
- The slider mechanism rattles
- No video-call camera
- No video recording
- No flash support in the web browser
- No file transfers or A2DP over Bluetooth
- No FM radio
- No screen auto rotation
- No smart dialing
G1 does look like a rather wary and conservative approach to introducing a new OS to the mobile world. While the T-Mobile G1 isn't by any means low-end it kind of deliberately falls short of what the current multimedia monsters have to offer, both in terms of styling and mind-boggling high-tech feats. This gives the G1 two quite important advantages. Firstly the main focus of the device remains on the OS, though this doesn't exactly relieve the pressure. Secondly, keeping a low profile allows the G1 to get away with its juvenile weaknesses more easily.
Another seemingly smart move by Google is to debut in a rather vacant segment where the G1 will face less competition. While there certainly are a few slide-out QWERTY touchscreens, only a couple of them have achieved a fair degree of success recently.
HTC Touch Pro and Sony Ericsson XPERIA X1 are both manufactured by HTC and are basking in the spotlight. However, the WinMo Professional isn't everyone's cup of tea even with all the custom plug-ins there are. So why not freshen things up by bringing something completely new - the G1.
The result they achieved is controversial - the G1 sells pretty decently but still hasn't matched the iPhone kind of hype. Part of the explanation is of course the iPhone itself, which raised the bar rather high for any newcomers. But we doubt that any personal failure of the G1 - if any - is likely to spell doom for the Android platform. So, in a way that sounds pretty safe and reassuring for this here Google-phone.
Anyway, we're more interested in that one soldier at this point rather than the army to come. So, let's see if there is more to it, as we inspect the T-Mobile G1 more closely. We take off on the next page with the design and ergonomics of the first of them Androids.