T-MobileTM G1 with
is a cellphone or smartphone manufactured by HTC. It is available with a
subsidy to contracted T-Mobile clients, or an unlocked and unsubsidized
G1 can be purchased from Google by registered Android Developers.
I want it to combine in one device the voice chat (cellphone) role and
a variety of activities for a handheld computer. For the most part it
has done everything I asked for.
Android is the operating system
running on the G1 (and soon, other devices).
Android is a variant of Linux.
One forum poster asked,
Why are you guys obsessing over this Linux business?
It's just a phone! The reason is that we guys (girls also welcome) can
make the device do a whole lot more than just cellphone calls, and we don't
need the cooperation of a bunch of marketing droids with the carrier and the
handset manufacturer, who will not consider our needs to be important enough to
implement across the whole product deployment.
So what are these special things I'm using the G1 for?
Read e-books, downloaded journal (magazine) issues, etc. Other users say the major use of their handheld device is to view field maintenance manuals or product catalogs at the customer's site independent of whether an internet connection is available. (Gotcha: requires hacking, which an ordinary user might have trouble with.)
Keep personal records. I have hypertension and I need to monitor my blood pressure, and I found it very useful on trips abroad to record dutiable and taxable items as purchases were made. I didn't purchase or create a dedicated application for this: I used generic Linux tools, a spreadsheet program and a flat file editor.
Play games. Other smartphones also have games, and I'll leave it to the reader's judgment whether their possibilities or Android's are more numerous and more interesting.
See the prepurchase evaulation for a list of other activities (not all are exclusive to Android) including web browsing, email, instant messaging (both XMPP and SMS), maps (with GPS), PIM/PDA functions, and connecting securely to my shell account at work or at home from anywhere in the world.
The G1 has good points and bad points. If I buy one and switch over to it, a considerable investment of effort (and also money) in the Nokia N810 and 770 is going into the tank. Shall I be conservative and make the older equipment last until it breaks? Or in this bad economic climate, shall I consume conspicuously on the new geek toy?
Now that I have the phone, I have annotated the list of activities with their current status. Also, this page has the specifications of the G1.
Just push the power
button? Yeah, sure. This part of the job took two days. But the care
and time was worth it. I describe my carrier strategy: you
can use T-Mobile's
Go plan, and if I had understood what to look for, I could have done
the whole setup on my T-Mobile
SIM in about five
minutes. The purchase procedure is also described.
Update: T-Mobile, the weasels, have spoiled the Sidekick option. Discover my new carrier here.
The various ways to communicate into and out of the phone: USB, Bluetooth, WiFi, and cellular data.
Evaluations of the applications provided with the phone, and obtained from the Android Market.
I'm just getting started here, but the page has a list of links to forum postings about how to get root, the update schedule, etc.
The inevitable collection of items that either have not yet been sorted or have no logical home.
While my wish list on the G1 is shorter than for the Nokia family with Maemo, there are still items I would like to see improved. And as an Official Android Developer, there's a good chance that I could do the open source thing and actually make some of them happen. A to-do list of hacks is here also.