10 things I like about the T-Mobile G1 (and Android)

I picked up a T-Mobile G1 in December after my BlackBerry 8800 stopped charging (broken USB connector). After using it for the last ~6 months, I have to say that its one of the best phones I’ve owned.

Disclaimer: This isn’t a “why the G1 is better than an (iphone, blackberry, etc,.)” post, its just some things I really like about the G1.

This list is in no particular order, FYI.

1. Push E-Mail (via gmail)

This is obviously a standard feature among most smartphone platforms, but regardless, its something thats really important to me. I love getting my e-mail to my phone -- especially without any silly polling of a POP/IMAP server.

2. Sky Map Application

I'm a total geek for space, and honestly, I have always hated trying to read those star/constellation maps. Well, thanks Google, for making an application that is just plain amazing for checking out stars.

Aim your phone up to the sky, and see a real-time, location based, map of stars and constellations.

3. Google Talk

Instant messaging on a phone is great. Although, it doesn't always work that well. Network disconnects, battery draining, and bulky applications make the experience bad, fast.

Google Talk is nothing like that. It survives network disconnects, doesn't hurt my battery usage, and its really, really simple. Oh, and you can connect your AIM account to it...nice.

4. Web Browsing

What is a smartphone without some good ol' fashioned web browsing? Viewing web pages on Android is so easy, and being based on WebKit it can load just about any site. My previous phone, a Blackberry 8800, was just painful to browse the web on unless the page was text only -- maybe a few images.

5. Open Source

The source code for Android is available for anyone to download, checkout, and modify. Do you have a great hardware design for a phone, but writing the software for it isn't your forte? Design and build the hardware, then put Android on it. What does this mean for consumers? More devices, more selections, and more consistency. Okay, all isn't perfect, there is some proprietary code on the G1, but you can't always have cake -- and eat it too.

Don't believe me? Check out the android git repositories, and even build your custom Android OS.

6. The Market

It might be not be as good as the iPhone's "market" yet -- but its definitely getting bigger and better. Right now it's pushing thousands of applications and millions of downloads.

There have been plenty of times that I've been waiting somewhere, bored, and I found a cool application or two that I could waste my time with. In my book, that's a plus.

7. Location-enabled

Most mobile phones are now equipped with GPS, and the G1 is no different. Take a picture with the built-in camera, and the picture can be tagged with your current location. Google Maps is amazing. I don't know how many times it has helped me when I was trying to find a restaurant or a store.

There are many applications in the Market that make use of your GPS location, no matter what your niche is. In fact, I wrote an application that uses the GPS, which was quite fun to develop.


8. Slide out keyboard

Okay, so for most people, the thinner the phone, the better. For me, I have no problem sacrificing a quarter inch thickness for a keyboard. On screen keyboards are great, and getting better, but there is nothing like the tactile feel of a real keyboard.

9. Music, Pictures, and Video

YouTube has probably been one of the biggest fads in the past four years -- so having it on my phone, can be fun.

Listening to music on the G1 is great, especially with imeem, which lets you listen to streaming internet radio -- great for those house parties that...haven't really gotten started yet (awkward silence, no music, anyone?).

10. You keep getting more

A great thing about an open source mobile phone OS, is that you will keep seeing new features and updates. You aren't limited by what your vendor offers you, because you can just flash the phone with the latest and greatest. Of course, you can always just wait for your carrier to push the update for you.


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