Aftermath: Our Thoughts on the HTC G1 and Android with video

The smoke has cleared, the dust has settled and T-Mobile’s G1 release event is history. We gave you plenty of live blogging action despite the fact our brand new Dell Latitude XT tried as hard as it could to screw the pooch. Then we gave you a solid hands-on gallery to feast your eyes on. Now it’s time for the wrap up; our thoughts about the HTC G1. First and foremost, don’t be fooled. In the leaked images and even in some of our gallery shots the G1 looks a bit cheap and plasticky. Seriously though, it’s not bad at all. The main case of the handset has that great rubbery feel from the Touch et al, and the phone has a very good weight to it. It’s not heavy at all but it’s also not too light so as to feel like a tinker toy. We like the slight bow of the G1 toward the bottom where the call/end/etc buttons are as it created a nice ergonomic fit when the phone is flipped sideways to expose the QWERTY keyboard. The slide on the screen by the way, is very tight and smooth. It has a great snap to it as you slide it open and closed, and the fact that it doesn’t slide straight up (the slider track on the back of the screen is shaped like “(” rather than “|”) is oddly cool. As for the keyboard there was a lot of concern but we’ll clear it up for you right now. It’s not bad at all – we’d give it a “B”. The keys have good spacing and are positioned perfectly in terms of a conventional keyboard layout (no craziness like having the “Z” directly beneath the “A” on the E71) and they have a good feel as you type. The rubber material catches your fingers well and speed demons will most definitely be able to bang out messages with a vengeance.

Now then, on to Android. We would have loved to sit back, relax and play with it all day but unfortunately we only have a few minute to cruise around and check things out. So far, we like what we see. The OS is blazing fast compared to a few competitive options and it seems to handle multitasking well. Of course the WiFi and T-Mobile networks were completely hosed so we couldn’t do much with the browser or the Android Marketplace (which Mr. Sergey Brin referred to as “the App Store” twice in his short talk!). Towards the end of the event Wi-Fi was a little less strained so we were able to catch a video of Google Maps in action. While it’s really more of a novelty than anything else, the Street View with compass mode is VERY cool. The dude giving the demo got a little excited with compass mode so you aren’t really able to get the full feel as he flailed his hand around, but it essentially places you on a point and lets you move the handset round while the vantage point mimics a person standing on the street and looking around.

The other features of Android that we played with were all solid and much more visually pleasing than we were expecting. From all the little basic apps, to finger swipes and motion animations, to third-party app integration – Android has the feel of a seasoned veteran despite the fact that we’re still a month away from the start of its rookie season. As for the near future, it is most definitely not going to fail to impress. Development is going to kick into high gear right out of the gate and unlike the restrictions Apple puts on third-party iPhone developers (no background processes, no access to much of the OS, etc) Android development is going to soar. Long story short, we’re impressed and October 22 can’t get here soon enough. A big shout is in order for T-Mobile as they did a great job of putting the event together. The location was convenient, the venue was great, everything was laid out perfectly and we hear the food was pretty tasty as well. It would have been nice to get our hands on some of it but we were busy beating the Latitude XT into submission…

blog comments powered by Disqus