Tuesday, February 17, 2009

T-Mobile G1 Initial Thoughts

I've now had a T-mobile G1 for just a few days, so I'm ready to share my initial thoughts on the device. It will be interesting to look back, once I've really gotten to know the device, to see how accurate they were. They could, of course, be totally off the mark.

Thought #1: It's My Sidekick Grown Up

I've been a Sidekick fan for years, and have always thought that the Sidekick nailed a few aspects of mobile phones early on. Perhaps I have my Sidekick colored glasses on, but I see quite a few similarities in the devices:

    Sync - both devices sync up with a central server, meaning a lost of damaged device is trivial to replace. Google improves on the Sidekick's sync'ing by connecting up to your Google account.
  • Biased to Power Users - Both the G1 and the Sidekick have keyboard shortcuts that make for quick access to both programs and functionality within the programs. From what I can tell, the Sidekick is just a bit more streamlined here, with more keyboard shortcuts and a better keyboard layout (I miss having the arrow keys and the trackball).
  • Over-The-Air Updates - Both devices are updated automatically through the magic of Over-The-Air (OTA) updates. This means new software and functionality just shows up throughout the life of your phone.
  • Message Friendly Hardware - The keyboards on both devices are spacious and while not as nice as the early on Sidekick device's, still not bad. I'm amazed at how quickly I was able to move from the Sidekick's keyboard to the G1. Shira's had a BlackBerry for years now, and I still can't type on it to save my life.
  • Easy 3rd Party App Installation - Both devices allow you to browse through a list of apps, preview them, and choose to install the ones you want to have access to. There's no USB hassle or worrying about apps that crash your phone - it all just works.
  • Usable Apps - The web browser, e-mail and IM on the Sidekick were pretty advanced in their day, with web browser digesting real live pages without a problem. The G1 has built on this by providing cutting edge apps that are also next generation.

The end result is that I don't feel like I've given up all that much. Instead of feeling like I'm moving to a brand new platform (like BlackBerry or Windows would have been), I feel like I'm just using the next generation of Sidekick.

Thought #2: Who's this device for?

Corporate E-mail users rely BlackBerrys. Apple users and anyone with a love of beautiful technology can't resist the iPhone. 13 year old girls who type 90 words a minute gravitate to the Sidekick. Windows Geeks love Windows Mobile. But who identifies with T-mobile G1?

The obvious answer is the geeks. After all, what other phone can you get root access on? But, playing around with the phone, my initial reaction of who this phone was good for was a little bit different.

To me, this phone is ideal for entrepreneurs. The reason is simple: it appears to integrate remarkably smoothly with Google Apps.

As a small business, Google allows me to have corporate e-mail, a contact database, a group calendar and collaborative documents all for free and all under my own domain name (so nobody knows I got it for free). And now, with the G1, I can plug in my e-mail address at setup time, and have all these services perfectly sync'ed up on the go.

I've got the same e-mail sync, contact sync, calendar sync and document viewing that my big corporation friends have, but without a costly server setup. That seems like an absolute winner.

If I were Google, I'd be marketing the heck out of this combination.

Thought #3: So. Many. Apps.

As mentioned above, on the Sidekick you had the ability to browse through a list of apps and purchase those that interested you. For example, the phone didn't come with a stopwatch - no big deal, you went and downloaded the stopwatch app. No biggie.

I've heard plenty about how Apple has taken the concept and made thousands of apps available, and the general gist I'd gotten was that the G1 was lagging behind.

Well, coming from the Sidekick world, I have to say, I'm totally blown away. There are hundreds of applications for the G1 and at the moment they are all FREE. I'm like a kid in a candy story, trying to control myself and not download everything in sight.

If you're not used to have thousands of applications to add to your phone, then you'll probably be pleased with what the G1 has to offer. I know I certainly am.

Thought #4: This is fun!

I have to say, I'm still learning a lot, but overall, I'm really enjoying the phone. Yes, I called someone today accidentally and had them on the phone for 2 minutes before realizing it. Such is the joy of getting used to a new cell phone platform. But, overall, I couldn't be more pleased. I feel like I've finally taken a big step forward in terms of technology (from both my Sidekick and Shira's BlackBerry) and couldn't be happier about it.

No comments:

Post a Comment