Migrating to the G1 phone?

So…today I picked up a brand-new G1 phone from T-Mobile.  I’ve been using my T-Mobile Dash for over 2 years now, and it’s starting to feel pretty long in the tooth.  Why get the G1?  Well… T-Mobile is pretty well-known for having a poor selection of the “spiffy” phones, and they’re usually late to the game for adopting new technology.  (3G network, anyone?)  Having said that, the G1 phone is a bit of an anomaly for T-Mobile: first to market with something exciting, and so it seemed to be the “phone to get” when looking at their available phones.  Time will tell if that was “good thinking” on my part or not…

Before I talk about the G1 too much, I should give a bit of a background here.  I’ve been using this T-Mobile Dash since November 2006.  Quite honestly, it’s been a very good phone.  Perhaps the best I’ve ever owned.  At one point, I had gone over 90 days without ever restarting, rebooting, or turning off the phone.  That’s amazing!  The Dash initially shipped with the (fairly painful) Windows Mobile 5.0 OS.  Before too long, T-Mobile and HTC (the phone manufacturer) offered a free/supported upgrade to WinMo 6.0.  The offer of a free OS upgrade for your mobile phone was pretty amazing at the time.  6.0 was better in most regards.  This year, a “gray” release of WinMo 6.1 became available, and it was a very worthy upgrade for the Dash.  Still, an OS refresh can only do so much for an aging phone.

I’m actually not enormously excited about migrating to the G1 phone.  Why?  Well, primarily because I’m very aware of some functionality that I’ll be losing.  For starters, the G1 does *not* yet support Exchange sync capability, which is something I’ve been using for 2 years now.  Also, there are some seemingly small features that it lacks, and I’m always amazed that new, state-of-the-art phones don’t have these. 

First, my Dash (WinMo OS) has a ring profile called “Automatic”.  In this mode, the phone would automatically set your phone to “silent” when you were in a meeting.  It gathered this information, of course, from your phone calendar, which was synced with my work calendar.  When the meeting was done, the ringer went back to “normal” ring mode.  Have you ever set your phone to “vibrate” and then missed a call because you forgot to put it back?  I used to do that ALL the time, but not since having this feature.  Honestly, every phone with a calendar should have this feature.  It’s a no-brainer to me, but it appears that only Windows Mobile has figured it out.

Secondly, my default ring “style” has for years been vibrate first, then ring.  Assuming that my phone is on my person (or near to me), this gives me about a 90% success rate of grabbing my phone and answering it before anyone has to hear the ring tone.  I guarantee that my co-workers are more than happy to not have to hear yet another phone ringing in the office.  How many phones offer the vibrate first, then ring option?  Not many, and apparently *NOT* the G1.  Aggravating.

Thirdly, the Dash features an in-your-face style keyboard, whereas the G1 is a fold-out style.  Any typing on the G1 will require flipping the screen aside to access the keyboard, since it does *not* (currently) have any sort of a virtual keyboard.  That, of course, allows for a much bigger screen, which is nice, but at the cost of less-accessible typing, in some regards.  Not a deal killer, by any stretch, but notable.

Lastly, I’m aware of some other features that I’ll be losing – at least for now.  “Phone tethering”, which allows me to use my phone as a modem for a laptop, is not available on the G1 right now, as I understand it.  Full “Office files” support is also not available (or just not “built-in”, perhaps), which means that easily opening/editing Word and Excel files is not an option.  Hmph.  The list goes on, I’m sure.

Of course, it would be very unfair to note the negatives and none of the positives.  The G1 is a nice phone with many desirable features, namely… a nice big keyboard, large touchscreen, very configurable “desktop”, 3G network access (nice!), an open OS platform, GPS built-in, and a fun, if a bit “unproven” user interface.  It’s certainly more “fun” to use than WinMo so far, for what that’s worth 🙂

I’m not wanting to give a full review on the G1 at this point.  I’ve only had it for a few hours, you know!  I can, however, give some initial thoughts both positive and negative…

+ Screen is very nice
+ Keyboard is (so far) pretty easy to use, and even has two shift keys!
+ “App Market” is nice, and there are some good, free applications
+ Has multiple “desktops” that are all configurable and fun to scroll with
+ Holding a desktop icon allows you to move it or delete it.  Cool!
+ Syncs well with my Google Calendar and Contacts
+ Played very well with my Yahoo! Mail
+ Pull-down notification menu is nice
+ 3G network is nice n’ fast!
+ Built-in browser is really quite good
+ Camera is really good

– Battery life is pretty poor, it seems.  Maybe I’ll get a day and a half?!
– Heftier and larger than what I’m used to
– Can’t find any “speed dial” settings like I’m used to
– No “auto silent” feature, though the app Ring Control might help with this
– Keyboard seems slightly angled when opened.  Strange.
– Phone is kinda ugly 🙂
– Bottom of phone is angled up for no apparent reason

So… that’s all for now.  I need to man-handle this phone for a week or two to *really* get the low-down on it.  I know that my brother is interested in one as well, so I’m going to try and put it thru its paces.

More on the G1 soon!


7 Responses to “Migrating to the G1 phone?”

  1. 1 craiglp December 11, 2008 at 8:13 pm

    I made the same migration, Dash –> G1. Although, I never upgraded my Dash to WinMo 6.1. And, I have never been able to go 90 days between reboots, since I got the Dash in ’06. More like 4 days.

    Here are my thoughts on the G1 after a week:

  2. 2 yipcanjo December 11, 2008 at 8:21 pm

    Thanks, Craig. A good read, even if we don’t agree on everything… 🙂

  3. 3 kdogg1 December 12, 2008 at 8:40 pm

    Ooohhh…I’m jealous. I’m stuck with my BlackJack II for now. Whatever you do, don’t ever switch to AT&T!! I have had a chance to play around with the G1 at the store and I would agree it has some cool features. The one thing I would say I don’t like (just on a cursory level since I don’t actually own one) is that big hurkin’ piece of plastic at the bottom of the phone called the mouth piece. Too angled and bulky. If the did away with that, I think it’d be a great phone. They should have gotten on Exchange from day one. Probably didn’t because they dislike MS so much…

  4. 4 yipcanjo December 12, 2008 at 9:03 pm

    I won’t switch to AT&T, and that is *one* of the reasons that my phone selection has been so limited. I have a LOT of friends/family on T-Mobile, and my calls to them (cell to cell) don’t count against my minutes. Also, our home phone was ported to T-Mobile a few months back ($10/month total!!) and we’re liking that.

    To be honest, I was never particularly psyched about the G1 phone. It looked kinda ugly to me, the “mouth piece” area seemed strange, and the OS didn’t really excite me. That said, I like it a lot more now that I have one. It’s less ugly than I thought, and the OS has been a lot of fun! Some great things about it, and I’m *sure* that full Exchange support will be coming. As for now, I’m able to connect to my work Exchange using IMAP-over-SSL, which is pretty good.

  5. 5 Jam-Man December 16, 2008 at 4:38 pm

    Nice review-ish type thing. The one thing that I could think of with the mouth piece being angled is that maybe it picks up your voice a little better? Maybe by being angled like that it is directed more at your mouth and therefore the mic can be a little more directional and not pick up so much of the ambient sound around you? Just wondering.

  1. 1 More thoughts on the G1 phone: hardware « Y.I.P.C.A.N.J.O Trackback on December 30, 2008 at 8:26 pm
  2. 2 Back in “Dash-land” « Y.I.P.C.A.N.J.O Trackback on March 12, 2009 at 7:49 pm
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