Google's G1 phone : Reviews
The T-Mobile G1 Android-powered phone is the first mobile phone with the operating system (OS) designed by Google.
Given Google's reputation as a trendsetter, I expected great things from its first cellphone, especially since it is emerging more than a year after Apple launched the iPhone.
While it's far from perfect, the G1 powered by Google's Android OS is packed with consumer-oriented features that may even make iPhone fans take notice.
Made by Taiwan's HTC Corp, the G1 was released last month in the United States, at US$179 on a two-year contract.
Beneath the touch screen is a slide-out QWERTY keyboard for those who prefer the feel of keys rather than virtual ones on screen.
From the start, the G1 was easy to use. It includes an intuitive interface and many of Google's familiar services, like search, Gmail and Google Talk. There's also Google Maps, which is enhanced by a compass that lets you see locations in the Street View feature by moving the phone as you hold it.
I had no trouble doing things like instant messaging my friends, searching for stores, and yes, making phone calls. There is a good-looking browser that is simple to navigate, and the device's screen is sharp.
The downside of all the talking, surfing and content downloading is that the battery can go flat.
A key element is the Google-run Android Market, which lets third-party developers offer add-on programs and games that you can download wirelessly to the G1.
I liked a few applications, especially the Barcode Scanner that uses the G1's 3-megapixel camera to read the UPC barcodes on things like product boxes and book jackets and then links you to web searches.
True smart-phone greatness can take time, and I'm willing to cut Google a little slack. After all, the first iPhone wowed, but it was not without issues. So I'm optimistic the G1 will improve soon.