Review: HTC G1
This application lets you access Amazon's MP3 download music service. It's easy to shop for music, though it is better suited to downloading singles rather than complete albums. Songs need to be downloaded via Wi-Fi, not 3G, and you have to have an account with Amazon.
One very cool aspect about Android is that it has access to the Android Market. Like the iPhone Apps Store, the Android Market is a place where you can browse and download applications. Many of them are available for free. For example, the G1 does not come with a native, pre-installed video playback client, but you can download one for free from the Android Market. Each application has a write-up that lets you know what you're going to download, and it also has user reviews with a star rating system (1 through 5 stars). Sorting through applications was easy enough. Downloading them was a bit painful. Once they were installed, they were simply added to the main menu.
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Bluetooth worked well with the G1. I had no problems pairing it with anything, including regular and stereo headsets, Bluetooth speakers and several different computers. Sound quality through Bluetooth headsets was okay, not fantastic. There was a little bit of hissing.
When the phone is asleep, pushing any button shows you the time and date. It is large enough to be seen easily. With the phone open, the default view has a large analog clock placed at the top of the screen. You can toss the clock anywhere on the home screen that you like.
The G1 comes with Google Maps for Mobile preinstalled. It also has GPS. Put the two together, and you get a very solid navigation device. Google Maps for Mobile is very easy to use, though I find it to be slow to render maps. The GPS unit did a very good job of pinpointing our location to within about 25 feet when outdoors. Time to first fix was about one minute, which is on par with other mobile phones that have GPS.
The G1 has a built-in YouTube client. It is similar in basic function to the YouTube client seen on the iPhone, though its appearance is different. You can sort through the most popular, the most viewed, the top rated, the most recent, etc. Once again, however, the 3G radio fails to deliver. Loading videos took minutes on end, and often there were delays and interruptions to videos once they were playing.
The one thing to consider - and this is important - is that the Android platform is brand new. It is being developed as an open source project by Google with the Open Handset Alliance members. There will be upgrades to Android's capabilities. None have been spoken of yet, but I am sure they are coming. We have to assume that you'll be able to update and upgrade the features of the G1 and other Android handsets as they arrive in the market. Upgrades can easily fix many of the G1's problems I've discussed in this review.
Hands-on with the T-Mobile G1 from HTC, the first phone to run Google's Android smartphone platform. Plus hands-on with 3rd-party applications.
Sep 23, 2008
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