I have switched to a Google G1 "Dream" phone for a month. I feel like writing about it.

My friend Omar pointed me to an excellent review of the iPhone and Android keyboards side-by-side. It's a great examination of the differences and the conclusion is spot on.

Because I find the Android virtual keyboard pretty useless I find myself switching to the physical keyboard which is almost as bad. On one hand I'm happy to see physical keyboards disappearing with the next HTC phones coming out, on the other hand Android really needs to fix their virtual keyboard to be as useful as the iPhone's. I'd say it's absolutely the most crucial thing for me to keep using this operating system.

Last night I did find some software that I actually liked. It's a todo list application called Astrid [review] and I was surprised to find out this morning that it's an open source project. I could see myself using this on the iPhone if I hadn't paid for Things.

Astrid has a feature that is not even possible on the iPhone. Using a Locale plugin, you can assign tags to task items that trigger alarms when you are in certain situations. For example, you can have a task to "buy batteries" and assign it a tag of "store". Then in Locale you connect the tag "store" with a situation in which you are near your local hardware store. Or simply maintain "home" and "work" task lists with reminders.

Here's a real example I am now using this for: I have a task called "buy muni pass" which is only available a few days before the end of the month and only from certain retailers. I walk by a place that sells them, but I always forget to buy them during the window and I usually remember when I'm nowhere near the store.

Finally, I think I've decided that many of the major problems I have with this phone (aside from the virtual keyboard) is the hardware. It's just too slow, it's too thick, and the need for a dongle to listen to music is ridiculous. There is only one reason why I have hope for Android and it's called the HTC Hero.

Tell me you don't want to just eat this phone. Still a shade too thick, and far too many buttons (both physical and on the display) asking for attention, but it's definitely getting there. Look at the virtual keyboard!

before this i wrote android software (day 3) after this i wrote android g1 and day 7


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