May 15 AT 7:23 AM Christopher Earle 10 Comments

Two Months of Use: A Retrospective Review of the T-Mobile G1

Deciding to switch from BlackBerry to the Android based G1 was not an easy decision. The reliability of the BlackBerry network, the familiar BlackBerry interface, and the library of apps that I’d come to rely on were all things that kept me from making a quick decision on the G1. After two months of use, I am a convert.

Here is a confession: I am a smart phone addict. My job as a writer requires me to be in constant contact with a large group of people. Being out of contact for more than a half a day is simply not an option. The G1 has performed beautifully. By setting up my Gmail account to poll other email accounts, I get email messages very shortly after they were sent. The G1′s email interface and full keyboard(I was a Pearl user) are superb.

As a writer, research is a big part of my job. Android’s browser simply works. With the exception of Flash based sites, the browser is fast and very functional. Researching on the train or on a park bench is now a reality. T-Mobile’s 3G network is faster than AT&T and side by side tests with iPhones consistently favor the G1. With the improvements to the browser in Cupcake, I believe that the G1 is simply one of the best hand-held web browsing solutions available.

For people who enjoy customizing the look of their phone, the available after market home screen replacements are incredible. The themes available for aHome, dxTop, and Open Home are fantastic. With the addition of downloadable font and icon packs, the possibilities are endless.

The Open Source nature of the G1 also is appealing. I run a rooted G1 with Jesusfreke’s Android 1.5. This won’t appeal to everyone, but the ability to control the OS version is very appealing to me. By rooting my phone and moving various caches to the SD card, I’ve not only improved the overall performance of the phone, I’ve opened up more space for apps.

Now for the bad. The Android Market isn’t as complete as the marketplace for the iPhone. I’ve managed to find most of the tools I need. When I couldn’t, the app somehow managed to appear at a later date. As Android captures more of the market, the financial incentive for developers to write apps for Android increases. We will see far more apps for the G1 in the near future.

Even though there are fewer apps for Android than iPhone, there are still an incredible array of apps. After two months, I’ve found everything I need. I’ve even found things that I didn’t know I needed until after I’d installed them.

Do I recommend the G1 to people who are interested in a smart-phone? Absolutely. As the Android operating system matures and is used on newer hardware platforms, a strong contender will simply become stronger. Although I still like my BlackBerry, the person I gave it to is simply envious of the G1 that replaced it. Even my wife, a dedicated Luddite, is thinking about swapping her BlackBerry for a G2.

Still don’t have an Android phone?  Amazon has the G1 on sale for $97.99

T-Mobile G1.  My dream phone.

T-Mobile G1. My dream phone.

[Photo via Flickr]

Christopher Earle has been working as a freelance writer since 1987. He currently lives in the Denver, Colorado area with his wife, son, and their two cats. He has been a fan of open source software for many years.

    Most Tweeted This Week

  • Michael

    Great write up Christopher.

    I’m glad to read of a happy Android user, as when my contract is up with Sprint come July, I’m switching to the G1 and never looking back.

    I just went to a T-mobile store yesterday, and the G1 was $180, which I really wasn’t looking forward to having to pay, especially since it didn’t seem like they run deals either very often, or at all for brand new customers.

    So, seeing the phone on Amazon for less than $100 is incredibly tempting.

    A few questions though:

    1) Any idea how long that price may be good for on Amazon? Is that all the time, has it been like that for a weeks, months?

    2) It says the price is “with new service”. Is there anything stopping me from buying the phone now from if I’m not going to be getting new T-mobile service for another 2 months (at most)?

    • RobN

      Costco has them for $79.99 with a contract, now that the G2 is so close. The advantage of the G1 is that you’ll get both a physical qwerty keyboard and a software keyboard with the Cupcake upgrade. The G2 will only offer the software keyboard.

      Right now, the G1 is a really excellent, smart buy.


  • Francisco

    I love my G1, it’s my 1st Smartphone. I will admit that I did want the iPhone when it came out… and all the way up to before the G1 coming out. But I like T-Mobile and I didn’t want to switch carriers. Plus I saw the way Apple was screwing customers by making better versions of the iPhone available (and dropping price) only months after it was released. So when I saw the G1 come out, I jumped on it. And no regrets.

    Of course it’s not smooth sailing. The battery life is crappy, but I have my charger with me all the time, I live in NY so I always have a bag with me so that’s no big deal.

    The memory is the kicker. I don’t have the confidence to root my phone yet so I’m hoping that Google will find a way around this soon in an update (could be in Cupcake, have to check that out). I have an 8GB SD card that’s just waiting to be used for space from Apps.

    Another small complaint, i don’t like that it doesn’t have a headphone jack. Again, very minor, but I hate that I have this extra foot of wire that I’m attaching to the already long enough headphones. Maybe there’s an accessory that exits that can help me with that and i just haven’t found it yet.

    My wife just bought a Blackberry Storm and she hates it. It doesn’t work well. I wish I was with her in the store, i didn’t know she was going to get a smartphone, I would have warned her about it. I would have suggested the Pearl or something like that over the Storm anyday.

    • Michael

      I guess the one thing I’m not following here is the headphone jack thing.

      Meaning, if you want a headset, it has to be a bluetooth one?

      However, you’re saying there are headphones that you’re attaching more wire to?

      • Michael

        Oh wait wait. Scratch that. I’m an idiot.

        Headphone jack does not equal the same size as headset jack.

        Moving on…

  • Yaniv C

    Couldnt have said it better myself.
    Also, now theres even MicroSoft Exchange support by 3rd party developers and even HTC has developed an Exchange Client that will come built into the Magic overseas.

    I too am a tech junkie; Ive had EVERY “new” phone there is. The Nokias, The iPhone, the Curve, the Storm… NOTHING yet compares to my much loved G1.
    “The futures so bright ………. and its only gettin better”.

  • Jose Chancafe

    I totally agree with you guys, i made the right decision when i bought my g1, i was going in the beginning between a Nokia N96 and a Nokia E90 when i saw the G1, i borrowed some money from mom, and i finally got it, it cost me 320 bucks, unlocked and without any contract, now im using my G1 in Peru, and i guess im one of the few persons who have one here. As the article mentioned in the beginning there was not so many application, but they started to appear with a time, what i like about my g1 is that is very functional and customizable, now im running cupcake build from dude 1.1 with some other things, i totally agree when the author refers to the android market, i guess it will grow with the time… :)
    Another happy user !!!

  • maximosis

    I notice you said you are running J.F !.5 how did u get caches to sd ? My old script does not work anymore

  • Pingback: Android has almost 50% world smartphone market share, iOS bumped to second place – Android and Me()

  • Pingback: Android has almost 50% world smartphone market share, iOS bumped to second place | AndroidFools()