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

Before the iPhone arrived I was a very happy Ericsson k750i user. It was fast, I was pretty good with the number pad, and Google Reader worked really well on it. The coolest thing it did was in-camera photo stitching (example 1, example 2) and the damn thing had a 2MP camera that also shot video. Oh and computer tethering worked right out of the box. This was early 2007.

To say the least, at that point in time I was very much a mobile phone enthusiast. I researched the latest phones. I bought unlocked phones from Amazon for hundreds of dollars just to have the latest and greatest. People laughed when I told them what I paid for my phone, but I didn't care because I was commuting by train and my phone was pretty much my computer for the hour or so it took to get to work.

Of course, we all know what happened in June of 2007. The iPhone arrived and it was wonderful. Sure, I had to lose Internet tethering, in-camera photo stitching, the 2MP camera, the video recording, the removable SD card slot, and the drag/drop mp3 loading, but the iPhone was just so good without any of those features most of all because it promised an experience that I was used to on my desktop: regular updates. And possibly, fingers crossed, an SDK.

The Ericsson software was woefully out of date. There was a patch you could load to get some new features, but it was at least a year old, and I had to jump through many hoops to get it installed (the least of which was get the phone to show up in Parallels as the updater was Windows only). When I finally did install it, I found newsreader software that seemed to be written by people who didn't really know what a newsreader was.

So I think, looking back, the thing that sold me on the iPhone was knowing the software in 2007 would be updated by 2008. That was a very big deal for me back then. More than the features I listed up above—regular updates and the promise of a reasonable syncing workflow (without installing conduits and drivers and god-awful phone PIMs) was so much more attractive than a removable battery and drag-and-drop mp3 playlists.

Now we're in 2009 and despite the CEO of Palm saying[1]: "PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They’re not going to just walk in." The "PC guys" did just that. They walked right in and made some very cool devices you could (pretty much) install your own software on[2] and call your mom.

So it's only been two years but I've gone from absolutely loving Apple as gatekeeper to my device's software to just flat out hating it. The past few months have been a parade of sad stories of developers getting bit by app store policies, or us, the users, losing out on software that would have been great to have[3]. Google Voice, for example, has been something I've been eagerly waiting for every since I was invited to use the service.

Add in the $600 price tag for a new 3GS (I was told to check back in July 2010!) and I started wondering what my next phone would be. Somewhat randomly as this was going on I was given a new, unlocked, G1 developer phone which arrived at my office today. I decided to give it a month and see how it goes.

So far I have to admit to liking it a bit more than I thought I would.

The hardware itself is flexible in all the wrong places and almost nothing lines up like its supposed to. It reminds me of the predecessor to the k750i, the s710a. The Ericsson s710a was a swing-out phone that took massive (at the time) photos and had a large, pretty screen, but was a bit heavy and you could use it like a roll of quarters if you needed to punch someone.

I'll write about the software later. For now I can say I won't have a problem using it for 30 days. I am sure I'll miss a few games, but most of the apps I use are simply front-ends to web services like Twitter or Google Reader. Google Voice is EXCELLENT. The whole Google Account integration "just works". I launched maps for the first time and the system knew who I was and signed me into Google Latitude. Also, my calendar is updated and synced as are my contacts pulled over from Google Voice.

I think tomorrow I will write about my least favorite thing about this phone: the audio player and dongle.

[1] Seriously, I fucking love that quote so much.
[2] I realize Blackberrys existed at this time and many people used them, loved them, and wrote software for them, but they were just so comically huge! I still don't understand that device. I will never understand that device.
[3] I'll never jailbreak my phone. That road just leads to heartache and pain and I can't bring myself to do it.

before this i wrote street dj after this i wrote android software (day 3)


The best fresh roasted coffee right to your door. It's easy! Give Tonx a try…