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Full Review of the T-Mobile G1 Android Device

CmdrTaco posted more than 5 years ago | from the gadget-lust-is-a-powerful-force dept.

Cellphones 135

palmsolo writes "Want to see the biggest and most in-depth review of the T-Mobile G1 Google Android device from a person who has been using it for a week? Check out over 260 photos and 5 videos of the device and just about every screen of the Google Android OS. Find out how well HTC, T-Mobile and Google did with this first-generation device." I played with one for a few minutes and found it a solid unit. It feels less polished than the iPhone, but the screen and keyboard are great. It'll be a real test of Open Source to see what happens with the iPhone App Store's closed system vs. Android's open one.

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135 comments

Not quite so open (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25398601)

Re:Not quite so open (0)

chrb (1083577) | more than 5 years ago | (#25398723)

So how open is it? Surely it's easy to disable the "kill switch"?

More lazy questions:

Can you replace the kernel with a custom compiled one? Are all of the drivers open source?
Is the desktop open? Which widget toolkit does it use - can you run gtk/qt/x apps on there?
Can you compile real apps or just Java?
What distribution does it run? What package manager? Can you even update the applications? Is there any chance of a proper distribution like Ubuntu being ported to this thing?

Re:Not quite so open (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25398913)

1) Some phones will lockdown the kernel, some might allow you to replace the kernel.

2) Android drivers are open source, but vendors might throw in binary blobs (particularly for cell phone functionality).

3) They use their own custom GUI toolkit and display -- not X, not GTK, not QT, not swing.

4) The app store, sdk, etc are built for java. If you have a phone that isn't locked down, you could probably put native code on it, with some work.

5) Also, they use a custom jdk (and libraries), so the java apps have to be built specifically for android

6) Android is the distro. The app store is the package manager

7) The app store will be able to check for updates to installed apps

8) Debian can be used on some ARM and SH-based smart phones.

Re:Not quite so open (4, Informative)

OglinTatas (710589) | more than 5 years ago | (#25399595)

Here is a bigger problem:
"Google may discover a product that violates the developer distribution agreement ... in such an instance, Google retains the right to remotely remove those applications from your device at its sole discretion."

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/10/16/android_kill_switch/ [theregister.co.uk]

That is a show stopper. I'm still rooting for Openmoko.

Re:Not quite so open (4, Informative)

Cornelius the Great (555189) | more than 5 years ago | (#25399885)

From the article:

The clause only covers applications distributed through the Android Market, but the whole point of Android is that anyone can distribute any applications they like.

Not quite as locked down as you think. The "App store" has the right to uninstall only the apps that it installed. I would imagine that Google is covering its ass in case someone releases malware or other potentially dangerous app into the Android store and gets downloaded by some unsuspecting users before anyone finds out. I doubt they'll remove legitimately useful apps "just because it competes with us". The resulting fallout would be enough to kill Android.

And unlike Apple, you don't need to use the Android Market to install software.

Re:Not quite so open (0)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 5 years ago | (#25400969)

I doubt they'll remove legitimately useful apps "just because it competes with us". The resulting fallout would be enough to kill Android.

I'm just as concerned about them removing useful apps that a local government requests be removed. As long as they truly can not touch stuff installed from outside the "app store" and thus aren't capable of satisfying some arbitrary authoritae's desires, then I'm good with it.

Poke with an UGLY stick !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25401887)

That is one ugly POS !! Reminds me of a Hasbro Speek and Speel !! Kartoonish is THE WORD !!

Re:Not quite so open (4, Interesting)

Em Ellel (523581) | more than 5 years ago | (#25400009)

Here is a bigger problem:
"Google may discover a product that violates the developer distribution agreement ... in such an instance, Google retains the right to remotely remove those applications from your device at its sole discretion."

As per article, this applies only to apps sold through their App Store. What I am curious about is - does this mean they can delete any app (regardless of how you installed it) when you use the app store or does this mean they can only delete apps you got via their app store if they discover something is wrong with it? I can kind of understand the latter with proper disclosure, but it needs to be made much clearer.

-Em

Re:Not quite so open (2, Informative)

lysergic.acid (845423) | more than 5 years ago | (#25400411)

that's only for apps distributed through the Android Market. i'm assuming this functionality is so that Google can immediately remove bad apps which violate licensing agreements or can potentially damage the phone (or contain major security holes) from all handsets that have purchased the app through Google.

presumably this will not affect non-Android-Market-installed apps. so if you want to install your own apps on the phone via another source you don't have to worry. is it a necessary feature? maybe not, but i can see why Google would reserve that ability.

it really shouldn't be all that surprising. if you break Google's developer distribution agreement, then of course they're going to remove your application. so if you don't want to be restricted by Google's distribution agreement, don't distribute your application through their site.

Re:Not quite so open (1)

bemo56 (1251034) | more than 5 years ago | (#25399921)

1) Some phones will lockdown the kernel, some might allow you to replace the kernel.

Hackers will find a way, and any that don't allow you to replace the kernal probably wont be used by anyone here

2) Android drivers are open source, but vendors might throw in binary blobs (particularly for cell phone functionality).

Might encourage some companies to adopt it. Never a bad thing, look where it got Windows or the iPhone . Freedom is about allowing you to do what you want. if you don't want a blob, don't install it

3) They use their own custom GUI toolkit and display -- not X, not GTK, not QT, not swing.

Let me explain the 'custom' GUI Toolkit used by J2ME. Its developed for a mobile platform and makes incredibly easy for making your program match the Look and Feel of the mobile. I don't know the android toolkit, but i'm guessing it will make GUI development easier than just porting another toolkit over to a platform it wasn't originally designed to use

4) The app store, sdk, etc are built for java. If you have a phone that isn't locked down, you could probably put native code on it, with some work.

Sweet!

5) Also, they use a custom jdk (and libraries), so the java apps have to be built specifically for android

Could be a problem for porting it, but good software design (in your software) should make this easy.

6) Android is the distro. The app store is the package manager

if it means i don't have to go around searching for software, no problems. Although i'd still like to know i have to option to install software from other sources

7) The app store will be able to check for updates to installed apps

Sweet again

8) Debian can be used on some ARM and SH-based smart phones.

How does this affect Android?

Re:Not quite so open (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 5 years ago | (#25401485)

4) The app store, sdk, etc are built for java. If you have a phone that isn't locked down, you could probably put native code on it, with some work.

5) Also, they use a custom jdk (and libraries), so the java apps have to be built specifically for android

I see a fair bit of complaints about this, a lot of developers who have existing symbian and other c++ based code want to re-use that for Android. Given that the underlying libraries are C++ [google.com] anyway, it makes sense for Google to release more native-friendly development kits. Encourage them to go native, they will support it in the future if everyone asks. (see this blog [google.com])

Re:Not quite so open (3, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#25399151)

Are all of the drivers open source?

Most probably not. The baseband chipsets that provide the network interface tend to be very, very proprietary, for example.

Is the desktop open? Which widget toolkit does it use - can you run gtk/qt/x apps on there?
Can you compile real apps or just Java?

I think you can probably compile anything you like, provided you have the appropriate cross-compiler and emulation environment and you can shoehorn the libraries onto the device.

Is there any chance of a proper distribution like Ubuntu being ported to this thing?

Ubuntu is working on their own mobile devices [ubuntu.com].

If anyone knows anything different from what I just said, feel free to correct me.

Re:Not quite so open (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#25398795)

Is that for viruses and such or wha kind of apps risk the treatment?

Re:Not quite so open (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25398973)

You can bet that they're going to kill any app that enables tethering, or VoIP calls; the phone is totally open, as long as you don't compete with T-Mobile's other (profitable) services. Sounds more and more like the iPhone store...

Re:Not quite so open (1)

Jellybob (597204) | more than 5 years ago | (#25399031)

They might do that in the US. Over here in the UK T-Mobile realise that people would like to use the phones they bought, and will quite happily let you tether it. They even have tech support who are quite willing to just give you the login details if you tell them you know what you're doing.

VoIP might be pushing it, but we do have an operator who actually sell Skype over 3G as a feature on several of their phones.

Re:Not quite so open (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#25399345)

Yeah, I don't see why they would break VoIP either. It's my phone, and how is it in Googles or HTC intrest to keep VoIP not from running? Sure in the US it may only sell from T-mobile for now but whatever.

When I buy the phone with no subscription in Sweden if it's released I expect to be allowed to take whatever provider and plan I want if any and use it in any way I'd like. If that includes SIP then fine.

And we have Tre with Skype here to. But I'd never buy a phone for Skype.

Re:Not quite so open (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 5 years ago | (#25399265)

Actually T-Mobile LIKES VoIP, check out their Hotspot@Home program. In fact T-Mobile's program is better than any third party VoIP setup because you use your existing handset and number.

Re:Not quite so open (-1, Flamebait)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#25399369)

You mean like with any SIP provider which let you transfer your number to their services and give / sell / let you buy an ATA-box? Yeah, that makes them very special indeed ...

Re:Not quite so open (4, Informative)

afidel (530433) | more than 5 years ago | (#25399635)

No, as in your cellphone connects over WiFi and any new calls are completely free. There's no need for an ATA, no need for a different handset, no complicated call forwarding setup, you just connect to WiFi and you cellphone becomes a free VoIP phone with your normal number and cellphone features.

Re:Not quite so open (0, Flamebait)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#25399997)

Ah, I didn't thought/got that we where talking about a cellphone. Yeah, nice of them if they include and provide that feature.

Would make economic sense as well if they have a unlimited calls plan.

Re:Not quite so open (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 5 years ago | (#25400647)

T-Mobile does have unlimited call plans:

$99/month for individuals

$150/month for Family Plan with two handsets

Disclaimer: I've been a T-Mobile customer for 8 years, and have the Family Plan for my business with several handsets on it.

Also, the HotSpot@Home/WiFi feature is amazing. I was visiting family in the boonies in Central Pennsylvania a while back, and T-Mobile had spotty access out there. I simply paired the phone to the Linksys at my father-in-law's house, and had phone/sms/email connectivity over WiFi. Also worked like a champ on a cruise ship in Europe.

Re:Not quite so open (1)

Em Ellel (523581) | more than 5 years ago | (#25400113)

You mean like with any SIP provider which let you transfer your number to their services and give / sell / let you buy an ATA-box? Yeah, that makes them very special indeed ...

I think you missed the point - its NOT porting your landline number and lets you use a landline phone - it works with your CELL phone handset and number!!!

What ATA box supports cell phones? I'd love to get one, cuz AT&T coverage SUCKS big time and having my own cell hotspot would be awesome!

-Em

Re:Not quite so open (0, Flamebait)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#25401039)

Many of the Nokia N handsets can run SIP, I don't know if they have wifi and can connect over that.

Re:Not quite so open (1)

bluesk1d (982728) | more than 5 years ago | (#25399651)

"You can bet that they're going to kill any app that enables tethering, or VoIP calls; the phone is totally open, as long as you don't compete with T-Mobile's other (profitable) services. Sounds more and more like the iPhone store." The beginning of your statement started out as a guess and then ended as a statement of fact. It happens to be completely wrong. When asked about this specifically, T-Mobile big wigs already said they would not pull anything (including tethering apps) from the market place just because they don't endorse it. This isn't Apple we are talking about here. This "kill switch" is being blown out of proportion. It's needed in order to remove blatant malware. They have also been completely clear that even if something is not available on the market, there is no restriction in place to prevent you from obtaining any app directly from the developer or elsewhere and installing it via your computer.

Re:Not quite so open (-1, Offtopic)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#25398871)

I found this article on the FCC website that I thought was interesting:

"Operating such [white space] devices on the adjacent channel causes interference with digital television & $40 coupon, government-subsidized digital-to-analog converters. WSD operating at 100 milliwatts would cause interference in 84% of the television viewing area." We need to stop these Androids before they cause further harm.

http://fjallfoss.fcc.gov/prod/ecfs/retrieve.cgi?native_or_pdf=pdf&id_document=6520175536 [fcc.gov]

Re:Not quite so open (4, Interesting)

Piranhaa (672441) | more than 5 years ago | (#25399087)

It's not as bad as you think. Before you compare it to Apple's kill switch....

1) The source is open. They're not hiding it from people's view, like Apple's. People had to dig down for Apple's to find it
2) They state this in their Terms of Service: "Google may discover a product that violates the developer distribution agreement ... in such an instance, Google retains the right to remotely remove those applications from your device at its sole discretion"
3) They offer a "return" (not sure how.. it's electric) within 24 hours if it's found the application has an issue and must be blocked. Apple does NOT do this.

Re:Not quite so open (4, Insightful)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 5 years ago | (#25400075)

4) They are simply covering their asses incase they accidentally send a program with malware through their store. If you install an ap through a source other than the store they cannot killswitch it. Which means about 10seconds more effort to install something at WORST.

Open source a selling point? (5, Insightful)

anomnomnomymous (1321267) | more than 5 years ago | (#25398671)

In all the ads/product reviews I've seen so far, none has mentioned that it's build on an open source framework.
Whereas people will of course be plucking the fruits of the (free) apps that will be developed, right now it's not a selling point that makes any impression with the 'normal' user.

I hope that, once released, there will be a place where all the apps will be collected (maybe accessible from within the phone), otherwise I don't think that people will -ever- know about the existence of such apps.

Re:Open source a selling point? (4, Insightful)

ThinkingInBinary (899485) | more than 5 years ago | (#25398919)

I hope that, once released, there will be a place where all the apps will be collected (maybe accessible from within the phone), otherwise I don't think that people will -ever- know about the existence of such apps.

There is a Market app on the phone that allows you to download free apps. In the future it will also allow developers to sell apps. It's also perfectly possible to post source code on SourceForge or Google Code or elsewhere, and I'm sure third-party directories of Android apps will pop up.

Frankly, advertising open source to an end user is meaningless. Advertising "lots of available apps" and "if you're a programmer, you can write your own for free" is more likely to make an impression.

Re:Open source a selling point? (3, Insightful)

anomnomnomymous (1321267) | more than 5 years ago | (#25399053)

I have no clue why I was modded troll... Moderators must be on Hatorade today.

I didn't know there'd be a Marketplace app on there, though that sounds excellent.
But as I mentioned before: I haven't seen any pointing in the ads/product reviews of how they're going to be loads of apps: So to the ordinary user this is 'just another phone'.

Re:Open source a selling point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25399137)

In all the ads/product reviews I've seen so far, none has mentioned that it's build on an open source framework.

I didn't know there'd be a Marketplace app on there, though that sounds excellent.

And yet all the ads and product reviews have pointed out that there will be "store" apps. Makes one wonder just how much attention you've actually been paying. Maybe that's why you were modded Troll.

Re:Open source a selling point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25401987)

This is probably because most people neither know nor care what open source is. They just want a phone that works and doesn't break their wallet. Now if you have 30 seconds to advertise your phone to a potential customer, what are you going to say? "It's built on a software licensing ideology that came from Richard Stallman" or "it can show you voicemail and browse the web"? This is marketing 101.. only on Slashdot would you find people who actually ask "why doesn't the ad say it's open source".

Less Polished (1, Interesting)

thompson.ash (1346829) | more than 5 years ago | (#25398673)

I can forgive HTC for allowing a "less polished" feel in return for not having to pay the enormous mark-up present on Apple's iPhone.

I eagerly anticipate the post in the near future of "Android hacked onto iPhone chassis".

Now that might make the iPhone worth the extorsionate price they're charging for it!

Im still slightly in the gray about the open-ness of the android platform. Everywhere I've looked has said that Android is open but the official website under "Will Android work on [insert phone here]" Only gives the SDK emulator rather than an HCL.

Can anyone shed some light on whether it will only run on specifically designed hardware or if it is "open" in the sense they lead me to believe.
I may have got the wrong end of the stick but I hope not, I have an LG Nyx I was looking forward to androiding...

Re:Less Polished (5, Informative)

ThinkingInBinary (899485) | more than 5 years ago | (#25398741)

Im still slightly in the gray about the open-ness of the android platform. Everywhere I've looked has said that Android is open but the official website under "Will Android work on [insert phone here]" Only gives the SDK emulator rather than an HCL.

So, Android needs to be ported, like any OS. Mobile phones, in particular, have very specific hardware. If you tried to put the OS from the G1 onto another phone, you'd need to add drivers for the other chips on it, especially things like the cellular baseband chip, and the hardware for things like audio input/output, LEDs, etc. It's sort of like RockBox in that it requires a large chunk of work to be ported. They initially ran on only one device, but, over time, gained additional compatibility.

Re:Less Polished (1)

thompson.ash (1346829) | more than 5 years ago | (#25398859)

So it's not a complete impossibility. That's good. I'll just have to wait! I'm nowhere near smart enough to even consider writing anything for it.

That and my knowledge of cellular devices equates to "use of" and that's it.

I'm just wondering if they're taking the "Open in that you have a choice of our handsets" a la symbian, or whether I'm going to be able to put it on the nyx in the fullness of time.

Failing that, I'll just have to wait for the G1 to be available in the UK :( Roll on 2010!

Re:Less Polished (3, Interesting)

chrb (1083577) | more than 5 years ago | (#25398921)

So, Android needs to be ported, like any OS. Mobile phones, in particular, have very specific hardware. If you tried to put the OS from the G1 onto another phone, you'd need to add drivers for the other chips on it, especially things like the cellular baseband chip, and the hardware for things like audio input/output, LEDs, etc. It's sort of like RockBox in that it requires a large chunk of work to be ported. They initially ran on only one device, but, over time, gained additional compatibility.

Ports shouldn't require a massive amount of work - mobile hardware seems to have evolved to a fairly common platform, ARM CPU, some LCD driver, audio device, wifi chip, etc. Many of those chipsets will already have Linux drivers, or slightly similar variants. When Linux was ported to the Xbox there was some amount of work, but a great deal was already done - the kernel ran on x86 already, the open source NV20 video driver worked with only some minor tweaks, audio was an Intel chipset and the driver worked with only minor changes, USB was a standard chipset and the driver worked immediately, etc. I doubt there are many mobile phones out there that would require the whole kernel porting from scratch, and certainly those that are wouldn't be used as the base for new Android based hardware.

Re:Less Polished (1)

somethingwicked (260651) | more than 5 years ago | (#25398809)

I can forgive HTC for allowing a "less polished" feel in return for not having to pay the enormous mark-up present on Apple's iPhone.

A reasonable trade off...

eagerly anticipate the post in the near future of "Android hacked onto iPhone chassis".

Now that might make the iPhone worth the extorsionate price they're charging for it!

So its okay for the phone to be less polished, because you won't have to pay as much for it, but you're willing to pay the iPhone's "extorsionate price" if you could get less polished Android like performance from it?!?

All for Open Source, and I am sure someone else will argue that Android is just as good/better/more holy/yourchoicehere, but this logic seems nothing other than fanboy "never seen it yet, but I like it because its not the popular choice"

Re:Less Polished (3, Interesting)

thompson.ash (1346829) | more than 5 years ago | (#25398939)

I'll rephrase.

I'm not going to pay for the iPhone beacuse of the restrictive OS.

Severely restricted bluetooth, poor / absent MMS capability... Both blackmarks for me.

If I parted with that amount of money safe in the knowledge that an open source, extensible OS would slot in there quite nicely and not be subject to Apple's "you're not playing with that" mentality toward 3rd party apps, I'd be much happier about it.

It's not the hardware I dislike, it's the ball and chain operating system.

Then how do you feel about the G1? (4, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 5 years ago | (#25399451)

Severely restricted bluetooth, poor / absent MMS capability... Both blackmarks for me.

Since the G1 has the same limitations then, you must continue to be sad.

I still don't see why anyone would use MMS when they can email or post photos. I do find it odd the iPhone still has the same limited Bluetooth support, and that Android has matching limitations... I know it would hurt battery life but I really feel they should let the user choose here.

Re:Then how do you feel about the G1? (1)

thompson.ash (1346829) | more than 5 years ago | (#25399519)

oh bugger :(

Still... I think Android has more chance of having that rectified than iPhone...

It's bloody annoying, I can't RTFA because work has blocked it so I'm flying blind here for a few hours.

Bloody control freaks :D

Re:Then how do you feel about the G1? (5, Informative)

thisisauniqueid (825395) | more than 5 years ago | (#25399851)

Google have already discussed this. The bluetooth stack simply wasn't ready in time, so they removed it. There will be full bluetooth support soon.

Re:Then how do you feel about the G1? (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#25401459)

Google has a track record of slapping a beta label on something, pushing it out the door, and moving on to something else.

Re:Then how do you feel about the G1? (2, Insightful)

Em Ellel (523581) | more than 5 years ago | (#25400361)

Severely restricted bluetooth, poor / absent MMS capability... Both blackmarks for me.

Since the G1 has the same limitations then, you must continue to be sad.

Yeah, but you can write an MMS app for it without having to hack your phone and invalidate your warranty. In fact it is encouraged for Android as opposed to iPhone.

I still don't see why anyone would use MMS when they can email or post photos.

Erm, because most people CAN get MMS and CANNOT get email with photo attachments. Not everyone has an iPhone or G1. Before going to iPhone I used to be able to send pictures to people - can't do that with iPhone... ("Can't do that with iPhone" should be the "truth-in-advertising" campaign slogan for iPhone - it applies so well to so much)

I do find it odd the iPhone still has the same limited Bluetooth support, and that Android has matching limitations... I know it would hurt battery life but I really feel they should let the user choose here.

Now, aren't the drivers for Bluetooth open source - or can at least be replaced with open source versions? If they figured out how to put A2DP onto Treo 650 with closed source OS, no docs or support - I can't imagine someone will not be able to write a full Bluetooth stack if there is enough demand.

-Em

Re:Then how do you feel about the G1? (1)

edmicman (830206) | more than 5 years ago | (#25400509)

My KRZR cannot easily read email or browse photo sharing websites. But, it can read and send text messages, photo messages, and video messages.

Re:Less Polished (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#25400453)

Agreed. it's funny but in a meeting we came to the conclusion here in the office that actually right now the WM6 phones are the best to develop for if you are a developer.

at least until Microsoft get's wind of this force people to pay them to install an app crap that Google and Apple think is so important to them.

several of us have openmoko phones, but they are at LEAST 3 years out to be usable to joe and jane user.

Re:Less Polished (1)

bleh-of-the-huns (17740) | more than 5 years ago | (#25398817)

The markup on the iphone is not huge or ridiculous (okay maybe the markup is compared to manufacturing costs...) But still, look at the cost of many unlocked phones, my old basic sony ericcson z600 which was a basic flip candy bar style phone cost me almost $400, my imate jam cost me almost $600.

Unfortunately, I suspect the markup on those phones was pretty high as well, buying the Nokia 9000 series communicator smartphone, that was around $800 direct from nokias website.

Phones are expensive when you buy them aftermarket and unlocked. Whether that cost has been artificially inflated based on colusion between manufacturers or not is another story.

Re:Less Polished (1)

thompson.ash (1346829) | more than 5 years ago | (#25398983)

Yeah but it's not unlocked or sim free is it?
It's locked to O2 (Uk). It'd (probably) be worth it if it was sim-free but £399 for a different sim card... I dunno about that.

I'd like to think that now iPhone has gone to PAYG it might follow that trend and get cheaper.

They'll probably drop the price to celebrate the release of Duke Nukem Forever...

Re:Less Polished (1)

ThinkingInBinary (899485) | more than 5 years ago | (#25398841)

Can anyone shed some light on whether it will only run on specifically designed hardware or if it is "open" in the sense they lead me to believe.

So, it will run on whatever you port it to. The larger problem is probably getting it on to the phone. Most phones are not designed to be flashed by the end user, because it would allow them to bypass restrictions like SIM-card locks and DRM. Android will really work best when phone manufacturers themselves decide to use it.

Re:Less Polished (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#25401551)

It's open in the same way SPARC is open. If you own a fab plant, you can produce your own SPARC chips. If you own an overclocked celeron, you can't update the microcode and turn it into an 8-core niagara.

Likewise, if you design/manufacture cell phones, you can put Android on it (instead of symbian or windows mobile or some other linux variant). If you're an end user, it doesn't matter.

Re:Less Polished (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25398949)

Well,
            It appears that the android will cost you $179 when you buy it through T-mobile, which doesn't have much of a 3G network. The iPhone costs an extortionate $199 and works on a more comprehensive (just tolerable) network. Its clear that the extra 7gig you get isn't worth $20.
AC

Re:Less Polished (1)

Em Ellel (523581) | more than 5 years ago | (#25400503)

Its clear that the extra 7gig you get isn't worth $20.
AC

Yep... [newegg.com] 8GB SD Card - $16, open OS, removable memory and battery - priceless.....

They should make a cheap "for the masses"-one. (0, Flamebait)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#25398695)

The G1 isn't available in Europe yet but even if it was it would probably be to expensive. They should make something cheap which more or less could just handle a call but still using the same OS for the masses to.

I like to have an open phone but I don't want to invest a fortune in a phone because I don't use it very much and I believe and mp3-player/pmp/DSLR/.. handle its things better.

Sure if it really IS a kick ass mp3/pmp player.

Re:They should make a cheap "for the masses"-one. (1)

tomzyk (158497) | more than 5 years ago | (#25399287)

1. $180 (about 133 Euro [google.com]) is not by any standards "a fotune"

2. you want a pocket-sized, internet-enabled computer that can run custom-made applications... that isn't "too expensive"? Dude, hardware doesn't grow on trees.

3. "I don't use it very much..." Um, then why do you want a G1? Just take the freebie clamshell phone that your wireless carrier offers you when you get a new plan. I think a lot of the freebie phones nowadays have cameras and MP3 players in them if thats a necessity for you too.

Re:They should make a cheap "for the masses"-one. (0, Flamebait)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#25399619)

1) Is that with some forced on expensive phone plan for months or just the phone? I'd expect that kind of phone to cost around 3500-4000 sek or so, so like 600 dollar or something, over here that is. But then just for the phone unlocked and all.

I don't care what a locked phone with subscription cost, in that case most phones cost 1 sek but so what?

2) But cheap phones can be bought for around 500 sek, or like 80 dollar. They still do what a phone should do.

3) Because it's cool that it's open and can run plenty of apps?

I don't care for "free phones with plan." Since like, you know, they aren't free (as in beer.)

Why do you need an OS to make calls? (2, Funny)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 5 years ago | (#25400601)

You do not make sense, a phone that just makes calls doesn't need an OS as complex as this. This OS is needed ONLY for smart phones. You might as well ask for a ferrari to put their engines into mopeds. No moped needs a 800 horse power en... I WANT ONE!

Re:Why do you need an OS to make calls? (1)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#25401021)

With an open one you can get standardized, replaceable, skinnable menues, contact lists, syncable calendars, and so on. Things can be fixed, they can't on a closed one.

So are you saying... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25398725)

...that this "solid unit" needs more polishing?

Partial list of apps in Market (5, Informative)

jsharkey (975973) | more than 5 years ago | (#25398813)

A few people have put together a list of all the apps observed in Market to date [androidcommunity.com].

I'm sure this will flood with even more over the next week when they open the developer portal. Oh yea, and I reverse engineered the iTunes remote control protocol and released an Android client GPL'ed: http://dacp.jsharkey.org/ [jsharkey.org]

Re:Partial list of apps in Market (1, Troll)

aproposofwhat (1019098) | more than 5 years ago | (#25399001)

How the fuck is that offtopic?

Does some mod have a beef against jsharkey or something?

(disclaimer - I don't know who jsharkey is, but posting links to free Android apps is offtopic?)

Hopefully Apples appstore.... (1, Offtopic)

bleh-of-the-huns (17740) | more than 5 years ago | (#25398847)

Will change its crappy policies once the Android app store, and hell, even the blackberry app like store becomes more popular, and developers just stop making apps for the iphone because all the red tape and apples tendency to yank anything actually useful.

Nokia N810's successor? (2, Interesting)

Speare (84249) | more than 5 years ago | (#25398905)

The G1 looks like it's so close to the general feature set of the Nokia internet tablets, plus the phone bits obviously. I'm wondering what the next stage of Nokia's 770, N800, N810 series will look like. They made a WiMax version of the N810 but I haven't seen any info about a new successor. The slide-out keyboard for the N810 seems to be a lot nicer than the G1's, and the general maemo development platform has been okay for me (especially since python is well-supported with fairly extensive maemo bindings).

If the G1 or its successor (G2?) supports Japanese input and output "out of the box" (but with English as the primary interface language) and has suitable J-E/E-J dictionary support, I'd be more interested. Haven't seen much info about that in the reviews or discussions of Android.

Re:Nokia N810's successor? (1)

quadrox (1174915) | more than 5 years ago | (#25399203)

I'm hoping they will get something done before christmas. Then I can get the shiny new toy and give mine away as a gift :D

Re:Nokia N810's successor? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25401559)

The next version of the tablet is under development and includes a 3G radio. I've also seen the tablet OS running on N95, maybe it's a sign of things to come.

Oh great... (3, Insightful)

xgr3gx (1068984) | more than 5 years ago | (#25398951)

From the article:
"When installing a new app, Android flags up which services - camera, network, GPS, etc. - it will use. That way, the user can judge whether the software is going to do what it claims it will, or something nefarious. It's useful, but it assumes a degree of understanding that many users just won't have."

Just what we need...the average cell phone user having to decide wheater or not something they are about to install is nefarious.

Get ready for automatic crank calls from a contact list worm.
Or better yet, a virus that will randomly take snapshots with the camera, and mail/text them to everyone in your contact list

Re:Oh great... (1)

mallardtheduck (760315) | more than 5 years ago | (#25399869)

a) This phone is not aimed at the "average cell phone user".
b) Any "virus" that needs to be downloaded and installed manually isn't going to spread very far. I expect that any security hole that allows a worm to spread will be closed fairly quickly.
c) Symbian, Windows Mobile, and even J2ME already have the possibily of such nefarious applications being developed, but I am not aware of any such instances, despite having had Symbian-based phones for the last ~2.5 years and have recently switched to Windows Mobile.

Re:Oh great... (1)

xgr3gx (1068984) | more than 5 years ago | (#25400231)

That is true about the phone not being aimed at the average cell phone user - good point.
But again think of how easily malware is installed by average computer users who just bang through setups by blindly hitting every "next" and "ok" button they see.
The fact that average users probably won't have this phone negates the point.

Re:Oh great... (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 5 years ago | (#25400671)

The Blackberry has done this since at least OS4 and the world hasn't come to an end. For instance if you install Google Maps Mobile by default it cannot access your GPS, your phonebook, make a call, or even access the web (kind of makes it hard for it to provide maps!). You can grant it any or all of these privileges individually.

Re:Oh great... (2, Funny)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 5 years ago | (#25400727)

Just what we need...the average cell phone user having to decide wheater [sic] or not something they are about to install is nefarious.

Mama's gonna check out all your applications for you, mama won't let anything dirty get through, mama gonna keep baby cozy and warm...

The point is, every user knows exactly what the application can do, and the application can be denied at the API-level by the OS from accessing to those features. Android, like BlackBerry and Symbian, treats users like grown-ups who are capable of making decisions about whom they can trust, and just how much trust they can afford to those vendors.

If your cell phone spams everyone you know, it's because you installed an unvetted application, let it access everything it asked for, and ran the application. Way to go, Einstein.

ARG (0, Troll)

db32 (862117) | more than 5 years ago | (#25399057)

Apple haters - quit bitching
Apple fanboys - quit bitching
Let me explain this in very simple economic terms. Right now lots of people produce widgets, but Apple has made a Super Widget. Well they are the only big production makers of the Super Widget at the moment so they get to control the field. This isn't monopoly, this is normal economics. Now, Android, OpenMoko, and so on are gearing up to also build Super Widgets. This means there will be competition in the Super Widget sector. Competition means that ALL of the Super Widget makers are going to have to work harder to make their Super Widget the Super Widget of choice. This benefits everyone. Even as an iPhone owner I am happy that these things are picking up steam because of this.

We don't have fast computers simply because science has made it so. We have fast computers on the shelves and in our homes because the people selling computers always need a way to edge ahead of the competitions sales. This is why AMD redid their whole naming for their processors because people assumed lower clock speed = slower.

Who'se bitching? (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 5 years ago | (#25399385)

Apple haters - quit bitching
Apple fanboys - quit bitching

I don't really see any bitching about the iPhone.

Apple haters like it because it's not from Apple.

Apple user like it because competition means better products from both companies.

I like it for many reasons, among them is that its more open platform may draw Apple to open up a little more as well (we've already seen the SDK discussion restrictions released, for example).

Re:Who'se bitching? (1)

db32 (862117) | more than 5 years ago | (#25400115)

Not in this thread, but every time an Android or iPhone story hits people start launching into tyraids about how evil Apple is, or how Apple is the bestest thing evar!.

The funny thing is I never was fond of Apple until I actually sat and played with a MBP for a while. I always thought it was just over hyped over priced stuff not terribly different than any other laptop. After playing with one for a while (and eventually buying a refurb one) there is a tremendous amount of thought and design that went into the hardware. They go way beyond comparing processor and memory.

App limitation to internal memory is odd (4, Interesting)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 5 years ago | (#25399133)

One disturbing thing is that apps can only live in the internal phone memory (I believe 192MB). The point out most apps are just a MB or two, but as you see more games and more polished apps with more graphics, that number increases quickly. Super Monkey Ball on the iPhone for example, is I think 32MB or so.

I imagine it's for speed of access, but should probably still be allowed...

On the plus side, I had read before you could only sync with one google calendar but am happy to see you can at least see other calendars in addition to your own. But I think the limitation is still there to be able to only hook into one gmail account at a time, which I don't think I could work with as I have multiple gmail accounts for different domains.

Re:App limitation to internal memory is odd (1)

edmicman (830206) | more than 5 years ago | (#25400577)

Why not just manage all of them from one domain? Have them all forward to a common domain, and add "send as" accounts to that common domain so you can "send" from each of those? Would that work on the G1 I wonder?

Re:App limitation to internal memory is odd (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 5 years ago | (#25400971)

"Send As" though is not a good solution for business accounts since you can still tell from the headers what "real" account it was sent from...

I already use a forwarding service for some things in the way you describe (POBox.com) but I moved to real mail systems for business accounts as that approach just isn't the same not to mention it's much nicer to keep the email really distinct).

Re:App limitation to internal memory is odd (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25401363)

Actually, looking at the apps out there, there aren't many over a few hundred KB. These things are really small. Apps can access the SD card so you only need the code on the internal memory.

Re:App limitation to internal memory is odd (3, Informative)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 5 years ago | (#25401691)

The Texas Hold'em App on iPhone would fill that entire memory space.

Guess Android, or at least that phone, won't be having any fancy apps with lots of graphics or animations.

Not too helpful (3, Insightful)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 5 years ago | (#25399143)

Without a doubt, people will compare the G1 to the iPhone and out of the box you honestly have to say the G1 wins over the original iPhone with wireless syncing capability, cut/copy/paste, games, a wireless music store, application store and 3rd party application support, integrated GPS, multiple client IM clients, and multi-tasking capability.

Unless I'm mistaken, all iPhones can run the 2.x software, so why would he compare it to the original iPhone's software? iPhone 2.x already includes MOST of those features, and I'm sure Apple's App Store is way ahead Google's right now.

Re:Not too helpful (2, Informative)

swillden (191260) | more than 5 years ago | (#25400967)

Unless I'm mistaken, all iPhones can run the 2.x software, so why would he compare it to the original iPhone's software?

Because he's comparing the first generation of this phone to the first generation of that phone. That's not unreasonable, given that Android will see major upgrades quickly, just as the iPhone OS did.

Why in the hell would you do that? (4, Insightful)

hellfire (86129) | more than 5 years ago | (#25401213)

"Because he's comparing the first generation of this phone to the first generation of that phone. That's not unreasonable, given that Android will see major upgrades quickly, just as the iPhone OS did."

Timing is everything, and everything moves quickly in the tech industry. The original iPhone without 3G is over a year old. That's old news. By the time Google has updated it's phone, Apple will have more updates too. Comparing what you can get now to a piece of technology that's a year old is dishonest and smacks of the old tactic where PC consumer mags that would always compare the latest PCs to older Macs and declaring that PCs won in head to head tests.

This is not properly comparing apples to apples (or as the case may be Apples to Androids). Compare what you can get now from Apple/AT&T with what you can get now from Google/T-mobile. I have no desire here to smack down google or be an Apple fanboi, I'm just saying for a smart review, you need proper comparisons.

Re:Why in the hell would you do that? (1)

swillden (191260) | more than 5 years ago | (#25401915)

The original iPhone without 3G is over a year old. That's old news. By the time Google has updated it's phone, Apple will have more updates too. Comparing what you can get now to a piece of technology that's a year old is dishonest

Oh, nonsense.

It would have been dishonest if the comparison had not made clear which iPhone version it was talking about. What the review said is that the G1 currently falls somewhere between the original iPhone and the current iPhone (except in a few areas, where the G1 exceeds the current iPhone). There's nothing misleading about that.

Given that this is a first version, what I take away from the comment, and what I think the author intended to be understood, is that the G1 is well-positioned against the iPhone, and it's entirely possible that it will close the gap. Sure, Apple is still going to be working, so it's a race -- but the G1 is not very far behind.

radio (1)

zogger (617870) | more than 5 years ago | (#25399441)

I looked through the tech specs on the thing and noticed one omission-it doesn't have just a normal "real" radio in it for getting free OTA broadcasts, AM/FM, which would be a nice addition as long as it is being touted as a smart phone capable of a lot of functions.

Nokia e71 (1)

F34nor (321515) | more than 5 years ago | (#25399525)

Grow a pair, stop thinking that your service provider should help you pay for your device, and buy a real hunk of technology.

Other networks? (1)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 5 years ago | (#25399591)

So can I buy this phone and use it on the Sprint network? It doesn't look like Sprint is coming out with an Android phone until next year

Re:Other networks? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25400065)

So can I buy this phone and use it on the Sprint network? It doesn't look like Sprint is coming out with an Android phone until next year

Nope. Sprint and Verizon are CDMA networks; at&t and T:Mobile use GSM.

Sprint is again going to be late to the game.

Yup, it ticks all my boxes (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 5 years ago | (#25399637)

1) can it make phone calls? check
2) can it receive phone calls? check
3) will it fit in my trouser pockets? check

That's pretty much all I need from a phone - if I didn't have one already, I might consider this

Re:Yup, it ticks all my boxes (3, Insightful)

Arthur Grumbine (1086397) | more than 5 years ago | (#25399999)

Uh...if that's all you need from a phone why would you consider any but the cheapest (free w/ plan) phones?!?

Your mom (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25399947)

I played with one for a few minutes and found it a solid unit.

That's what your mom said.

Updates? (1)

djfake (977121) | more than 5 years ago | (#25400071)

Did the phone have any updates to the os/software when it was activated? One of the most interesting aspects of this phone is how Google/T-mobile will manage updating the device. Granted it's a 1.x device, and things should only get better from here. Isn't that what makes Android so cool?

This isn't Feed worthy.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25400183)

From TFA:

What applications do I hope to see?: There are a few of the items in my list above that could be down here in the applications area, but there are several other applications I would like to see on my G1 and these include:

        * Bible application (also first)

His review is null because of that.

accessibility (1)

GarrettK18 (1200827) | more than 5 years ago | (#25400227)

Seriously, someone should write something like Nuance Talks [nuance.com] for Google Android, especially since the sole means of input is not through a touch screen. Having seen an iPhone, I was struck by two things: 1. It's a huge, ugly-feeling brick of a device. 2. There's only like one button. Either Nuance or Code Factory [codefactory.es] should port their mobile phone screen reader products to the android platform, or someone should get a group of tallented blind programmers (I don't consider myself tallented) together to write something. Yes, I'm blind, you insensitive clods!

niG6a (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25401077)

person. ask your At times. From and/or 3istribute with THOUSANDS of Else to be an
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