It's not just a coincidence that "Cranky" is prominent on the screen behind Mr. John Dvorak, a writer/"tech pundit" and self-admitted Mac troller. Apparently Mr. Dvorak has had enough of new technology, more specifically smartphones, and the release of the G1 Android phone through T-Mobile is the icing on his gadget-hating-smartphone-cynic cake.
It's almost embarrassing to point out the glaring irony that Mr. Dvorak butters his bread at the table of a fast-moving industry with a new gadget around every corner. After all, he has admitted to trolling Apple users in a likely effort to create controversy and increase traffic to his column. Although this blog may be serving the same end, it's worth the entertainment value.
Is Dvorak truly tired of Apple's iPhone and is he channeling his Cranky energy for merciless rants against all things Android? Is Android just another fad, or will it have staying power?
Neil Gaiman is a best-selling author; a top writer in the comic realm, a wordsmith of poetry, journalism, film, song lyrics, and drama; but NOT an owner of a shiny G1 Android phone from T-Mobile.
Just as I encountered the day before the G1's much-anticipated launch, Mr. Gaiman has blogged his own experience of epic failure in trying to get a G1 on launch day from a T-Mobile store near him. It's both a comedy and tragedy - you should give it a read.
The thing I found most fascinating is that a T-Mobile store in a non-3G market would display all the posters, signs, and paraphernalia to participate in all the Android / G1 hoopla, but not have a SINGLE G1 phone in sight nor know anything about it??
Funny? Check. Sad? Also check.
What is your experience with finding a G1 at T-Mobile? Anyone in a non-3G area have this kind of experience, or did you call the stores first?
That, folks, is how you unlock a T-Mobile G1. It's pretty darn simple: just insert your non-T-Mobile SIM card and then enter in your SIM unlock code. How to get one of those? Simple: T-Mobile has promised they'll continue their policy of offering free unlock codes to customers after 90 days with a phone. If you're in a hurry to get it done faster, there are plenty of places to buy them online. You can even use your G1 to start Googling for them. Once you've unlocked your phone, setting it up for Data is dead simple. Simply go to Settings > Wireless Controls > Mobile Networks > Access Point Names then hit **Menu** and select **New APN**. Enter the settings for your Network. For example, this will set up AT&T (If it's not mentioned on this list, leave it at whatever the default was: - **APN Name**: AT&T - **APN**: wap.cingular We are still working on getting MMS going -- if you've got it, let us know in the comments!
One of our biggest gripes about the T-Mobile G1 and Android is the inability to type on the touchscreen. There is no virtual onscreen keyboard so every time you need to type, you'll need to flip the G1 horizontally and slide out the QWERTY keyboard. This quickly proves to be a nuisance for quick things such as SMS or short e-mails. Plus, when the keyboard is open, it's nearly impossible to use the device one handed.
Luckily, the Android Roadmap has got us covered. Here are the details of the soft keyboard:
Q1 2009Input method framework (IMF)
This feature will enable support for input methods other than physical keyboards, for example soft keyboards. IMF will also enable application developers to provide IME (see below) applications based on the framework.
Input method engines (IME)
IME will support soft keyboards, a dictionary of suggestions, and a suggestion algorithm. The Android platform may contain few reference IMEs, and developers can provide IME applications through the Android Market.
Make no mistake, our thumbs love the physical keyboard on the G1, it's a very well implemented system. But being on Android is all about openness and choice, having the soft keyboard option is a no brainer. With suggestions and algorithms, we're very confident that the G1 can provide a great soft keyboard along with the already great physical one.
The G1 mania continues. Today we bring you a video walkthrough of the basic features of Android. The manual that comes with the T-Mobile G1 is pretty sparse, so watch the above video to get a handle on how to navigate around the G1's homescreen and learn some tips and tricks for getting more power out of Android!
Well, even if you're well intentioned and have no interest in "being evil", there are still petty corporate beefs that have us at Android Central a tad bit sad. There is word coming out that Facebook, of social networking fame, simply REFUSES to develop an app for Android. Yes, as cool as your T-Mobile G1 is right now, you won't be able to poke friends or update your status quite yet. Officially, maybe never.
The feud between Google and Facebook began with Facebook blocking Google's Friend Connect because of security issues and has now led to Facebook ignoring the Android platform. Having Microsoft in cahoots with Facebook certainly doesn't help the Google relationship either.
Facebook has applications available for both Blackberry and iPhone users and from what we've seen, they're fairly good and useful. It'd be sad to see no Facebook on Android but hopefully some entrepreneuring developer can create a third party solution or Facebook will grow up and recognize the Android platform.
Either way we hope this doesn't mean we have to use MySpace again
With Android finally in people's hands, Android Market was released to the wild and people were gettin' to downloadin'. However, there is one obvious exclusion right now and that is the support for paid apps. According to Google, Android Market won't receive paid applications until early Q1 2009.
Developers should also take interest in that it costs a one time $25 application fee to register the developer's authenticity and responsibility. After that, the apps that they develop are on the fast track to release. There is no further validation or approval needed.
Google also noted that they won't be making a profit off of Android Market. Instead, they'll use the 70/30 split (70% of paid apps to developer, 30% to Google) to finance the upkeep of Android Market.
T-Mobile has finally put the G1 in the public's eye by way of commercial. This advertisement, aptly named "Questions", shows a lot of random people asking random questions. To solve this dilemma: the T-Mobile G1, of course! With integrated Google Search on your phone, all your questions can be answered. We guess that's the pitch.
It has a similar feel to Microsoft's "I'm a PC" ad because it links people of all class, color, and occupations with one uniting factor. In this instance it's curiosity. Do we find it particularly effective? Not so much. You can pretty much use Google on any smartphone with internet access, this isn't unique at all.
If T-Mobile asked for our opinion on how to market the T-Mobile G1. We'd tell 'em: Milk, use, and squeeze Google for all its worth. People who tend to like Google will have high hopes on the mobile platform created by Google.
You probably just ripped off the plastic off of your brand new T-Mobile G1 and we've already caught word that there will be an Over-The-Air (OTA) software update for the T-Mobile G1. Wow, that was fast.
TmoNews has the details on the update and basically it'll include enhancements and make all songs from Amazon available for listening. Should you get it? Probably, it's always good practice to eventually move to the updated OS because of basic bug fixes and stability. The update is termed to be small so don't expect much. T-Mobile will likely send a text message to notify those units in need of updating.
To check if you have the new software: Hit Menu>Settings>About Phone>Build Number. The build number of the updated software is RC28. The old one is RC19.
One of the biggest hassles in the Gmail program on Android is that the buttons you're going to want to use the most aren't easy to find. Sure, "Archive," "Label" and "Delete are simply two button pushes (underneath the menu) away, but Reply, Reply to All and Forward are on-screen buttons that appear at the bottom of every email. This can be a huge hassle -- huge as in "Oh my god, I might not be able to be a power-emailer on this thing" because who knows how long an email may be -- sometimes there's old threads in the chain of emails and sometimes, well, and email is just freaking long.
Good news, though, if you have the keyboard out, there are convenient one-push keyboard shortcuts for most of your popular email functions. We list them for you (plus a bonus feature), after the break!
Android Keyboard Shortcuts for Gmail
Just tap these letters when you're reading an email to access their function:
R - Reply
A - Reply to All
F - Forward
Y - Archive
I can understand the decision not to make a keyboard shortcut for delete -- archive is better in most cases because you never know when you'll want to search for something later. However I use labels very heavily and it would have been nice to see a keyboard shortcut to pop up the label listing. Heck, I would have settled for keyboard filtering of labels once that labelling menu had popped up.
Nevertheless, having keyboard shortcuts for Gmail in Android is a lifesaver.
One last bit -- when you're in a mailbox looking at a list of emails, you may know that you can hold your finger down on a message to access a pop-up menu of features. What you may not have known is that you can pop up that same menu by holding down the trackball on a message.
It's launch day for the G1 today and undoubtedly people are going to be hunting down some accessories. The G1's screen has a few of problems with it. First: it's plastic and therefore vulnerable to scratches. Second: it's pretty reflective and is susceptible to glare. Third: it collects fingerprints with a vengeance.
So naturally the first thing I wanted to do was slap a screen protector on it. Enter the SPE Screen Protector Pack for the T-Mobile G1. It's a three pack of matted-screen protectors for 14.95. Read on to see if and how they tackle the above issues!
Applying the Screen Protector
Check out the glare!
The first and possibly most important step in applying any screen protector is cleaning the screen beforehand. Get as much oil, dust, and debris off the device as humanly possible. I don't recommend going so far as to use chemicals like Windex (which can damage some plastics), but a good clean cloth is a must (These 3M Cleaning cloths work great).
Once you have the screen clean grab one of the SPE Screen Protectors and note that it has a convenient tab for peeling off the backing. This is a nice touch and not common with most screen protectors, which make you try to peel away the backing directly and you inevitably end up getting a fingerprint on the sticky side.
Next up is the trick passed down to me by a shaman: peel off the backing and then reapply it to the sticky side of the protector, as you see in the image above, right. This gives you more control when applying the screen protector because you don't have to 'bend' it as much to try to pull the backing out from 'under' it. It also lets you re-apply the protector a few times if you don't get it straight the first time.
Finally, line up the top of the protector with the screen and roll your finger down from the top to press out any bubbles. If you have it straight, remove the backing and finish rolling your finger down. If there are any extra little bubbles in there they'll likely work themselves out over time.
The SPE Screen Protectors are nice because they are relatively firm without being too thick, they don't 'flop around' when you're trying to apply them. Because they are matted, you do lose a little bit of 'crispness' in the display and you need to apply just a tiny bit more pressure on taps and swipes, but all in all I find those trade-offs worth it.
The results: good. The screen is now safe from scratches, doesn't show fingerprints, and is significantly better about glare. Win-Win-Win. A three pack will set you back $14.95, but it's worth it. Check out the 'after' pics below, check out that reduced glare compared to the screen-protector-less photo above!
Here you go, folks, a full-on gallery of the T-Mobile G1 from every angle. Special attention is given to some of the more interesting parts -- the keyboard isn't so good in medium light, but fine in bright light and no-light, the SD Card slot can be hard to find, the slider mechanism is really geek-cool, and so on. Of *course* we'll have much more on the Android Operating system, but for now -- enjoy the pics after the break!
With Android and the T-Mobile G1 releasing today, T-Mobile HotSpot Connect has reached Android Market thus allowing all G1 users free T-Mobile HotSpot Access nationwide. This is a huge bonus for potential G1 users because there are a ton of places we frequent that offer T-Mobile's Wi-Fi Access.
So when you get your T-Mobile G1 be sure to download the HotSpot Connect app for easy access to thousands of T-Mobile HotSpots across the nation.
Casey has lined up out in California, he arrived at 6am Pacific time to ensure that he would be able to get his G1. Looks like that won't be a problem, as the line consists of ....him. He writes:
There is an epically hilarious sign that points to where the line should start and line cards will be handed out.
We knew that T-Mobile is planning on using G1 Voucher Cards to ensure there isn't a fracas at any particular store, but it looks like this particular store isn't necessarily going to need them.
Does that mean you can mosey on over to your local T-Mobile store whenever the mood strikes you? We're still going to advise getting there early -- but at least right now it look like you can wait until the sun comes up. Meanwhile our man in Cali has dedicated himself to his first-in-line status, he's not going anywhere until they hand him his G1!
So you're Google Founder Sergey Brin and you're asked what you think of the T-Mobile G1 and Android, what do you say? Well, it'll probably go something like this:
I've been using mine for a few months now as my primary phone and it's been very, very helpful. It really integrates Google services very nicely on the phone. It has a really great Web browser. I'm able to search and browse through my Gmail just as if I was at my desktop. The G1 is just the first of a number of phones that will hopefully be running Android. You should take note of all the partners we've built under the Open Handset Alliance. I'd encourage you all to try it out and if it suits your needs then please by all means get an Android phone.
Obviously it's a bit slanted, I mean the dude co-founded Google. But the most interesting take that we see is that he stresses that Android integrates Google's other services really well and keenly mentions the Open Handset Alliance. Android's game changing feature is its openness, that much we know. But what Sergey sees as Android's most important feature is its synergy with Google's Universe. Google is the big sell for an Android device and Android is the best portable extension of Google's ideals.
Sergey's take in a nutshell? You like Google, you'll like Android.
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