Oct 20 AT 10:30 PM Chuck Falzone 80 Comments

First impressions: T-Mobile G1 (three years later)

g1-birth-photo Image via: whatleydude under the attribution license

Exactly three years ago, those who pre-ordered began receiving their T-Mobile G1′s, the little phone that started it all. I was lucky enough to be in that group. After spending several hours with the bronze-colored geegaw on October 20, 2008, I wrote up my breathless, geeked-out thoughts for my personal blog. It’s cute, I was excited about things like “a nice MySpace client.” For nostalgia’s sake, here are my first impressions of the good ol’ G1:

So I just lost the last several hours to playing around with my new Google phone (officially the T-Mobile G1, but I have a hard time not calling it the Google phone).

The UPS man about gave me a heart attack, leaving it sitting on the front porch, no signature needed apparently. I checked UPS tracking at work and saw DELIVERED, rushed home to get it on my lunch break.

I had to get the data plan set up on the right phone line so called in to T-Mobile on the way back to work…learned that the plan will not actually be in effect til the phone’s launch date, this Wednesday. I used this to convince myself it’d just be a brick til then, which allowed me to focus on work the rest of the day. But I powered it up when I got home: lo and behold, I was able to associate it with my gmail acct, make calls, even send and receive email. But nothing from the browser, maps, etc.

Then I switched on wifi– and everything worked.

The author, still giddy in November '08

My early report: it’s really great. As I said, it had me sucked in all night. It is truly a tiny little computer. I don’t have iPhone experience to compare it to, but the browser is functional, email really nice, and maps as cool as you expect. Downloaded a bunch of apps from the market (all free at this point), and while not all are great, some are really cool:

  • ShopSavvy, which lets you scan a barcode with the phone’s camera and then finds prices for the same item at online retailers
  • Bonsai Blast, an addicting little game
  • TuneWiki, a social music player
  • A nice MySpace client (hope Facebook is coming)
  • Locale, which automatically changes phone settings (e.g. ringer volume) based on your location (via GPS)

The keyboard is plenty roomy and I’m able to thumb around pretty easily and accurately.

I set up a shortcut to BeTwittered for use as a Twitter client. As it was designed to live in an iGoogle gadget, it works really well on the little mobile screen. It’ll be nice to have one that alerts me to incoming tweets, though. ‘Course I could set that up through SMS but this way I don’t have to use up my monthly allotment on them (I cheaped out and went with the 400/month plan instead of the unlimited messaging plan).

Quibbles:

  • The phone knows my email address; it’s registered to my gmail account; why can’t there be an easy, one button way to insert that address when an online form calls for it? Maybe there is and I haven’t found it (I, of course, have eschewed the manual so far).
  • It took me a while to find the Nice app for Google Reader. When I accessed it via my iGoogle page, it was all kinds of messed up. When I accessed it via the Google home page, it’s great. Not a big deal, as I can just bookmark it now, but still– why does it vary in the first place?

So, uhm, that’s my short little post on my first thoughts on the G1. Undoubtedly, more will follow.

Ah, those were heady times. The G1 ended up serving me well until I moved on to a Nexus One and I passed it on to a friend who is, no joke, still happily using it.

Whether you had one or not, what are your fond memories of the big-chinned little guy?

Chuck, an at-home dad, spends most of his time hanging out with an amazing little girl and two crazy hounds. He is enthusiastic about pork fat and the Android mobile operating system.

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