Friday, January 22, 2010

Getting That Brand New Phone Feeling With The G1

Over the last few weeks, I've noticed my G1's call quality is amazingly bad. At least once per phone call the person on the other end of the line would fade out for a few seconds, and fade back in - with the critical information uttered those few seconds lost forever. Usually this would happen a couple times a call, and always at the most inopportune times. As if that wasn't bad enough, every few phone calls, I'd managed to just have the call dropped.

Combine this with the fact that my G1 seemed to be getting slower and slower, and I felt like I had to do something. I knew I had a real problem when I found myself browsing T-mobile's phone selection, and wondering if I could ditch all this fancy smart phone technology and just by something basic. I know, crazy, crazy thought.

The Solution: A Factory Reset

Before I ran out and either upgraded to a Nexus One, or downgraded to a Motorola F3, I decided I'd give my G1 another shot by doing a Factory Reset. This would zap all the data on the phone and leave me with an effectively brand new phone.

It's actually not as an extreme an option as it sounds, as the phone's contacts, e-mail and calendar are all sync'ed through your Google Account, which means that you don't lose this data.

The actual reset procedure is here, and is eerily fast to complete. Note, the instructions mention the End Key -- this is the red key you press to hang up a call.

Initial Reactions To The Reset

Luckily, I didn't have to hold my breath too long - after the phone reset, and I plugged in my Google Account info, it immediately started to restore contacts, e-mail, etc. The memory card was also left untouched, and while I haven't checked, the list of apps I had installed is supposed to still be there too.

Gone however are all the apps I had installed as well as personal settings (like screen brightness and such). The other big item that was gone was my SMS messages - but I had been using TreasureMyText, so technically this information wasn't lost.

I have to say, with the stock G1 background, and no extra apps - the phone really did feel fresh and new. It was also definitely faster to use, though still not lightning fast.

Getting Reacquainted With The G1

Doing the factory reset allowed me to get a fresh perspective on the G1. I've made two promises to myself. First, I'm going to try to explore the built in features of the phone more. I've already discovered the power widget which allows for super fast toggling of the GPS and WiFi. Second, I'm going to try to install only apps I'll use. Sure, the compass was neat, and Google Night sky is a model of software engineering greatness - but I never used these and other apps. That's not to say there isn't room on my phone for fun apps, they just need to be ones I use regularly.

To get started, I settled on these three absolute essentials:

  • PhoneFusion - I'm never going back to old school voice mail. Ever.
  • Google Maps Upgrade - The Turn-By-Turn directions are too important to live without, and I've already used it as a backup GPS when our main one is sitting in Shira's car.
  • Contact Owner - This tiny app puts up a message on your lock screen saying who should be called if the phone is found. This information could mean the difference between a lost and found G1, so it's in.

That's it. To keep the apps under control, I'm planning to install them when I need them and even then, incrementally, so I can tell if one is slowing down the works.

I'm sure I'll break down and go back to my mad-downloading days, but just for the next few days, I want to pretend like I can be disciplined about this.

And The Call Quality?

So far, on the handful of calls I've taken today, I've had zero issues. No more fading, no more dropping. I'm not sure the track record will hold, but so far, so good. Looks like the Factory Reset was the way to go to solve this issue.

I have the feeling that even if call quality wasn't an issue, doing a factory reset yearly or maybe even a bit more frequently may be a good idea. It really does give you that Brand-New-Phone Feeling without that Oy-How-Long-Does-The-Contract-I-Just-Signed-Last Feeling we all dread. Not to mention, it's free.

1 comment:

  1. yup... I do that some what periodically... It is amazing how much faster a phone feels when it has nothing else running, I use to do it every 2-3 months on my Palm Treo650.

    All you need is a decent backup solution (I use MyBackup Pro, can be scheduled to run nightly or weekly, but only the pro version has scheduling) and you can even restore all your call logs and SMSs and stuff. MyBackupPro will even back up your preferences and apps if you'd like, but honestly if your phone is 'slow' it is typically an app or preference setting so why restore to the same state, but I like having the my call log and SMSs back.

    As for upgrading for a new phone.. I'm waiting to see what comes from the latest rumors if a new myTouch with a slide out keyboard.