Joshua Kronengold (mneme) wrote,
Joshua Kronengold

G1, a balanced review

Ok, I lied. I was going to post a "Good, Bad, Ugly" report on the G1, but then OVFF happened, and my opinion, for reasons that will be obvious, drifted.

So, I've had the G1 for about a week now. As a long-time sidekick user, what do I think of it? I hate it.

I primarily use a mobile device as a writing tool, as an email device, and as an always-accessable instant messenger. Secondarily, it's nice to have a phone, and a platform for games and other applications can be nice.

With that in mind:

  • As an instant messenger client, the G1 is unusuable. It "cleans up" long running processes that aren't written for long use, and the instant messenger client...isn't. Nor does it notify on cleanup. So expect to only be on instant messenger as long as you explicitly connected within the ten minutes or so (an hour is slightly more realistic, but not consistent). FAIL
  • The email client is not only clunky, but can only send replies with the entire quoted text of messages at the bottom of them. IE, the "I'm a dork" button is hardwired to true. Moreover, there's no way to copy the text of messages, so "lets edit this text until it shines" conversations are a non-starter. Also, you can only attach pictures, despite having an entire SD card of files to play with. Oh, and Gmail seems to mess with your messages, putting two spaces between paragraphs despite what you've carefully done to, say, craft a file you can run through a script to format it. FAIL.
  • See above for email, plus there's no note application (useful for quick jot writing), plus email applications have insanely large "accidentally send this message" buttons displayed on the screen, plus there's no way to resent accidentally sent messages, so you can't recover gracefully from accidentally sending a message. FAIL

In top of all this, it's missing many, many hugely useful features of the SK -- per-user instant messenging, a slightly better keyboard, hotkeys for page/word/line based navigation.

That said, I'm probably not going to return the phone. Because having gone through the insane amount of work it was to import my contacts/email into gmail (because the sidekick locks down your data, and because gmail/the phone won't read a vcard directly, so you have to (gah!) save all your vcards and then import them (though you can concatinate them, at least) through a separate interface into contacts, I'm hopeful that eventually there will be applications and fixes that deal with these problems -- and in the meanwhile, I can probably muddle along. If I HAVE TO WRITE THEM MYSELF! Because, well, unlike the SK, I can, and without having to jump through hoops, at that. And I can install applications written by random developers, and can even give feedback back to the actual G1 developers rather than having them isolated within a plastic tower.

Not to mention features the SK doesn't have -- G3, a full web browser with AJAX (though it looks like image taps always get sent from the top of the image, breaking, among other things, various google AJAX applications), a touch sensitive screen that works pretty well, a nice, clear display, a fast CPU, some good games available and probably available in the future, and the ability to install my own bloody ringtones, if you please, not being held hostage to one company's short sighted greed.

But actual usage so far? HATE.
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