Oct 212008

So I got my T-Mobile G1 Android phone yesterday, and boy am I excited! I had mixed feelings about it initially because I wasn’t so sure of the form factor. I remember thinking that it looked a little clunky, but now that I have it here, in my hand, I have to say that it feels well-made and rather solid. The exterior is made of plastic, and it feels smooth to the touch and not cheap at all. The keyboard slides out smoothly and I’ve had no problem typing on it. The interface is pretty snappy. I was actually surprised at how smooth and responsive it was. As far as the interface is concerned, the only issue I have is with the zooming. It may just be that I haven’t figured out to activate it reliably. I guess they had to go with this method because Apple is trying to patent the “pinch” motion for zooming. I think that is completely stupid, of course, and the patent office should throw it out.

Anyway, so once I picked up the phone I opened up the package and carefully laid everything out. T-Mobile sent me another SIM card with it, which didn’t work; I guess you have to activate it. But that really wasn’t a problem since I have my old SIM card. Once I put it in the phone and hooked up the new battery, I started up the phone. When it firsts starts up, it asks you for your Google account information so that you can sync everything with your phone. As soon as it synced up (which happened within a matter of seconds), I was good to go. I started off by trying to import my contacts from the SIM card. This is where I came across a problem. Apparently (I could be wrong, I was too impatient to explore more options) you can’t import all your SIM contacts in one go. You have to do it one by one. I found that a little annoying. You can either import your contacts one-by-one, or import them all in one go by hitting the Menu button and then choosing the Import all option. As soon as I had my contacts imported, I started exploring the other options. The home screen is pretty sweet. You can drag and drop icons on there, and swipe left and right to either add more icons or run google search. In addition to GMail, you can add other POP3/IMAP accounts and you can also use other IM networks in addition to GTalk. The G1 also has a music player and a bunch of sample tracks (including Flight of the Conchord’s “The Most Beautiful Girl in the Room”). The phone doesn’t have a headphone jack, so you have to get a USB to 3.5mm converter. The Bluetooth works fine and synced up to the Hands-free Link in my Acura without any problem. Although, like the iPhone, you can’t transfer files via bluetooth. I imagine that they will fix this eventually. The phone also has a feature where you can set up a “pattern” to unlock it. You have to “draw” a pattern on the screen connecting nine dots (laid in a 3×3 grid pattern) to unlock the phone. The other cool thing was the “Compass Mode” in the Google Maps street view. The phone adjusts the street view based on where you’re pointing it, and so the scene on the phone actually moves when you move the phone. It’s pretty neat!

So, my opinion? As far as a phone (or PDA) goes, I think that the G1 is pretty solid. I know that some reviewers claimed that they didn’t think it would really appeal to most people. However, I think that it will. It has a pretty slick interface and a lot of neat features. Additionally, I think the demographic it will appeal to most, is people like me – developers and people who like to play with neat gadgets. I know that once I get some more time on my hands, I’m going to try and develop stuff on it. iPhone killer? I don’t know. But I think the G1’s strength is that it is completely open. In effect, it is the antithesis to the iPhone, or the anti-iPhone. Google doesn’t control the G1 (or Android) as strictly as Apple controls the iPhone, and especially with regard to the SDK. Google seems to want to encourage developers whereas Apple seems to want to encourage them only as long as they play by Apple’s rules. Consider also the fact that if you do want to develop for the iPhone, you can only do it on a Mac. Whereas you can develop apps that will run on Android on Windows, Mac, or Linux. I guess we’ll have to wait and see. But for now, I’m just happy to have a cool new toy er… I mean, phone!


I’ve noticed a lot of queries to this blog post regarding the importing of SIM contacts into the G1. The process is quite simple:

  • Swipe the dock at the bottom of the screen upwards to access the G1’s menu.
  • Select Contacts from the menu.
  • Hit the Menu button and then select Settings
  • You should now see “Sync Groups” and “SIM contacts importer”
  • Select SIM contacts importer. You should now be able to import your contacts.
  • If you want to import them all in one go, hit Menu and then select Import all

As a general rule, if you’re having trouble finding (extra) options, hit the Menu button. It should show you a few more options.

The G1's outer box
The G1’s outer box

The G1's inner box
The G1’s inner box

The G1 inside the box
The G1 inside the box

The G1's accessories and manuals
The G1’s accessories and manuals. The accessories you get are a carrying case, battery, headphones, USB cable, and charger. Oh, and you get a SIM card too (if you ordered through T-Mobile’s website)

The G1 inside the box
The G1 inside the box

The T-Mobile Android G1
The T-Mobile Android G1

G1 side view
G1 side view

G1 keyboard flipped out
G1 keyboard flipped out

G1 home screen
G1 keyboard flipped out

G1 menu
G1 menu

G1 dialer
G1 dialer

G1 displaying Google Maps
G1 displaying Google Maps

G1 displaying Google Maps (side view)
G1 displaying Google Maps (side view)

G1 displaying Google Maps Satellite View (side view)
G1 displaying Google Maps Phoenix Satellite View (side view)

G1 displaying Google Maps Street View
G1 displaying Google Maps Street View

G1 vivin.net
G1 displaying vivin.net

The G1 in its case
The G1 in its case

  24 Responses to “My new T-Mobile G1 Android Phone”

  1. sweet unboxing pics!

  2. Haha, thanks! I wanted to document every step of the process!

  3. sweet pics! but iphone looks so much cooler though!
    agreed this is the best platform/OS for a developer like you and around.. have fun !
    So whts the capacity / memory for this?
    what about holding your music all?

  4. Yeah, I guess the iPhone looks slicker, but honestly I’ve always thought it was too wide, and I was never a fan of the touchscreen keyboard. I’m not entirely sure what the total system memory is, but you have a MicroSD slot that I believe supports up to 8Gb. The phone I ordered came with a 1Gb SD card, and I believe you can put music on it too.

  5. nice unboxing photos! (and thanks for the review) i’ll proabbly be making a decision next summer on a new phone… I think that google also has the power to remotely axe programs on andriod btw (as does apple) also, why should pinch not be patentable? it was pretty out of left field when introduced…

  6. Looks pretty sweet! Keep us updated, I heard people weren’t happy with the battery life…

  7. Pics don’t do it justice. It looks a lot nicer in person

  8. Awesome write up!

  9. where are the sexy kathleen freedman pics????????

  10. thanks for the review! I’m one of those people stuck with a contract with tmobile so I haven’t been able to get an iphone-plus the horror stories about bad reception haunt me haha..might try this one..

  11. @Shyam: Yeah, Google does have the power to axe apps, but only those bought through the Marketplace. This makes sense if you consider that someone could sneak in a malicious app. As far as the pinching thing goes, I don’t know – it just seems unfair to patent an "action". It’s not as if it’s a device or anything. It’s an action you do with your fingers which has the added result of zooming a picture in or out.

    @Nilit: Yeah, the battery life is an issue. I think I have to charge it every night. But I can get at least 12-16 hours off it when I have screen brightness set to low and I don’t sync everything all the time. Also, I turn off Bluetooth when I don’t need it. But truth be told, I was expecting better battery performance.

    @Eric: Yeah, that’s what I thought so too when I finally got it!

    @Marc: Thanks!

    @Greg: I emailed them to you!! Didn’t you get it???

    @Gracie: Glad you liked the review! Yeah, I am with T-Mobile as well and I have been with them for quite a while. I didn’t feel like switching over to AT&T! I haven’t had any reception problems with this one. It actually works better than my old blackberry at my house (which happens to be in a bit of a dead spot).

  12. Very nice analysis Vivin, and I am glad you are liking the phone. It’s been 3 long years in the making… well, the software at least.

  13. @Iliyan: Thanks Iliyon! Yeah, I’m liking it quite a bit. I’ve finally realized that I need to grow up and use a planner, so the syncing with Google Calendar is pretty helpful! I’m also very excited about the software. I started playing with the Android SDK, but haven’t gotten too far because I’m rather busy at work. But I plan to do more with it once I get more time. Also, kudos to you guys for a good OS :)

  14. Thanks, just received my G1 and was confused how to get the contact transferred. Did what you said above and it’s done. Thanks.

  15. Thank you so much, I was going to settings and auto-sync and getting nowhere.

  16. Denise and Espana,

    Glad you found it helpful!

  17. did you have a problem pairing G1 to Acura HFL system? Acura listed G1 phone as "incompatible". Problems w/ incoming and outgoing calls?
    How do you pair the phone?
    Thanks…..I really wanted to get this phone.

  18. Ron,

    I’ve had no issues getting the G1 paired to the Acura’s HFL. There weren’t any issues with incoming or outgoing calls either. The only "issue" (if it could be called that) I had was that it would refuse to pair when the battery level on the G1 was really low. You pair the phone just like any other bluetooth-enabled phone. I don’t remember the exact sequence of steps; I had to check the manual.

  19. Love tha review but was curious if u have had any problems(like I have) with placing a call? I have to reboot it and then it works 4 like 5min and that gets really anoying any insight would b helpful


  20. im getting this phone myself by the end of this week, this guide and unboxing pic’s have been a great help, thank you :]]

  21. Hey Amii,
    Glad that the post was helpful! I’m sure that you’ll enjoy your new G1!

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