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Review: Motorola i1

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The i1 offers only the basics. The stand-alone Gmail Android application is your best bet for mobile email. It is the stock Gmail experience for an Android handset. It works well and I have no complaints with it. Gmail on Android is still the best native Gmail experience you can get on a mobile device.

Sprint has also provided its own, separate email client, which supports Exchange email, since Android 1.5 doesn't. Both the Sprint email app and Gmail will also sync contacts and calendar data.

On the instant messaging front, Google Talk is built in. If you're interested in AIM, Windows Live or Yahoo, you'll have to scout through the Android Market to see what's available. That's kind of weak, in my opinion.

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The SMS/MMS application is the stock Android tool. It works fine for composing messages, and the threaded conversational format makes talking to friends less painful. It offers colored bubbles that makes reading conversations pretty easy.

I strongly dislike that Android 1.5 doesn't support some of the social networking features that Android 2.0+ does. For example, Android 2.0+ devices have ready access to your contacts' social networking profiles from the contacts app. This leads to a much more seamless experience across the handset when you're looking to perform some tasks — especially those of the social networking kind.

Beyond that, the i1 doesn't even come with any social networking applications pre-installed. You have to go out and find them yourself. Oh yeah, and downloading applications via iDEN? The very definition of agony. What takes most phones perhaps 10 seconds to do, the i1 does in 10 minutes. Surely Sprint Nextel and Motorola could have spared the time to pre-load Facebook and Twitter for its customers. Nope. Thankfully the i1 supports the native Facebook and Twitter apps. Once they are installed, they act as they do on other Android handsets, though with less integration and more standalone-ness.


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