Ulf Waschbusch, ex-Google Mobile Product Manager now at MySpace Mobile, was recently reported all across the interweb as trashing the T-Mobile G1 on his blog:
It’s funny - but the first time I heard about Android was about 2.5 years ago, when Eric Schmidt told me about the device at Stanford after I got a job offer from Google (yet before I accepted it!). Since then I have seen many iterations of the software. The software. Not the device itself, because sadly it hasn’t changed much in a while. (Not sure how long). The reason many people see the G1 as ugly and old-fashioned is simply… because it IS! It’s a design unchanged for a while (it’s now available in Zune-brown along with white and black). The hardware itself though went through many iterations I am sure, as it’s top-notch (3G on AWS, GPS, 3MP autofocus camera etc.).
Is this a case of a disgruntled ex-employee mad at Google and Android? Well, not quite. He retorted to a lot of people who claimed he was just mad at Google by saying he loves Android, the Android Team, and everything at Google. His only beef? That the T-Mobile G1 looks a little bit dated.
Just to make sure you guys have been paying attention, the T-Mobile G1 does NOT have a 3.5mm headphone jack which means all your music will have to be either routed through an adapter or use a proprietary ExtUSB headset. Obviously, this blows big time but it does go along with many other HTC products (just not the HTC Touch HD) so it's not exactly from left field. However, it will be interesting to see if this affects sales at the Amazon MP3 Store for the T-Mobile G1 or will people just fold and use whatever headset HTC provides? I can't imagine people buying music if they can't listen to it the way they want to.
Hah! Either T-Mobile listened to our complaints about the 1GB Data Cap or got strong-armed by Google, either way that 1 GB cap that was originally in place? Gone! Remove from the powers of T-Mobile. Taking a page out of the Google "Don't Be Evil" Playbook, it looks like T-Mobile folded to customer complaints in less than a day and will instead focus their throttling efforts on the small percentage who use their devices excessively. The new fine print isn't quite finalized yet but we'll be sure to report it once we hear it.
Here's the full T-Mobile statement:
Our goal, when the T-Mobile G1 becomes available in October, is to provide affordable, high-speed data service allowing customers to experience the full data capabilities of the device and our 3G network. At the same time, we have a responsibility to provide the best network experience for all of our customers so we reserve the right to temporarily reduce data throughput for a small fraction of our customers who have excessive or disproportionate usage that interferes with our network performance or our ability to provide quality service to all of our customers.
We removed the 1GB soft limit from our policy statement, and we are confident that T-Mobile G1 customers will enjoy the high speed of data access over our 3G network. The specific terms for our new data plans are still being reviewed and once they are final we will be certain to share this broadly with current customers and potential new customers.
First, the thing is open source and anybody can write whatever they want for it, so T-Mobile isn't going to go to any great lengths to stop us from tethering. Problem there, of course, is that they're also saying that they're going to cap data at a ridiculously low 1GB per month, which makes tethering a little dicey.
Secondly, T-Mobile has a long-standing (and rather impressive) policy of freely offering unlock codes to most customers upon request and after a 3 month period to make it easier for them to travel overseas. That apparently won't change with the G1. There's a caveat here too, though, if you're thinking of slapping in an AT&T SIM card: it will work on an unlocked G1, but you're never going to get 3G because T-Mobile and AT&T use different radio bands for 3G. So much for GSM being the universal standard, eh?
Android Community has a great video on the actual workings of Google Maps Street View on the T-Mobile G1. Google Maps will certainly be a killer app on the T-Mobile G1 because of a feature that no cell phone currently offers--the ability to control Street View by just moving the device around, as if you were looking at the world through a looking glass.
Because the T-Mobile G1 includes an internal compass, it allows you to control your view of Street View by simply moving your body. You will be able to turn completely around with the G1 to "see" what's behind you on 5th Avenue, zoom in for amazing detail to see where the nearest parking garage is, and much, much more.
It certainly looks like Google Maps with Street View on the T-Mobile G1 will redefine mobile maps and challenge everyone who offers mapping programs to step their game up. Check out the demo in the video!
Amidst all of the hoopla of the Android Event we may have missed a couple of good nuggets about the T-Mobile G1 and Android in general. Luckily, Ryan Block has filled us in with a couple of good ones. Namely, the T-Mobile G1 will support microSDHC meaning there is no cap at 4GB, when bigger cards become available your G1 will be able to take advantage of the extra leg room. Also, the WebKit-based browser is not exactly Chrome or Chrome Mobile or Chrome On-the-Go but chooses to avoid the Chrome moniker, for now. Andy Rubin says it can be thought of as Chrome Light. But then again, that's not an official name.
It's an exciting time for the T-Mobile G1 and we'll be sure to keep you updated with as many interesting nuggets in the upcoming weeks. Stay tuned!
After reporting that the $179 price of the T-Mobile G1 may or may not be "real" we decided to find out for ourselves. Initially, the T-Mobile system was down and asked us to try again but after a few more tries, we were finally able to get in. Hoping to snatch one of these puppies for the $179 price, we typed in our login information only to find that we didn't qualify for that much reported price. Instead we were faced with the $299 offer.
Hmm. At the Android Event we don't remember anyone from T-Mobile or Google mentioning that there would be different price tiers, but it looks like that is to be the case. After getting off the phone with a T-Mobile Rep, they helped us determine that the $179 offer is those who are eligible for an upgrade. Specifically, those in the 22nd month and beyond of a 2 year contract. It looks like all those T-Mobile customers who don't fit that bill will be getting the $299 offer.
In other words, tough luck us. Unless you qualify for an upgrade be aware that the price of the T-Mobile G1 will be $299. As for the price for new T-Mobile customers? We don't quite know that yet..
Good news, developers, the SDK for developing applications for Android and their brand new app market is no longer a pre-release, but is official. Go check out the details at the developer's blog:
Yes, that means we're officially at 1.0. Of course the SDK won't remain static—we'll keep improving the tools by adding features and fixing bugs. But now developers can rely on the APIs in the SDK, and can update their applications to run on Android 1.0-compatible devices. The Android Market beta will also launch with the T-Mobile G1, providing developers an easy and open way to distribute their applications on that and later devices. I've already seen a lot of applications that have me stoked, and I can't wait to see things really come together as developers cross that final mile to prepare their applications for Android 1.0
Hooray for stable APIs! Also exciting: you'll be able to utilize true Copy and Paste on data fields:
If your total data usage in any billing cycle is more than 1GB, your data throughput for the remainder of that cycle may be reduced to 50 kbps or less. Your data session, plan, or service may be suspended, terminated, or restricted for significant roaming or if you use your service in a way that interferes with our network or ability to provide quality service to other users.
1 GB is certainly a lot of data to use per month but it isn't an unreachable, 'unlimited' amount of data. Especially with Google Maps Street View and the T-Mobile G1's tie-in with all things in the Google Universe (which all require Internet) we don't know how taxing it all will be on T-Mobile's network and what kind of data it needs.
Even if we won't reach the 1 GB threshold, we at AndroidCentral think that T-Mobile should bump up the "unlimited" amount of data because if they say unlimited, we want unlimited.
That map looks sparse doesn't it? Sad to say but that is T-Mobile's Coverage Map which includes 3G, EDGE, GPRS and a whole lotta 'No Coverage'. To see if you have T-Mobile 3G available in your area head on over to T-Mobile's Coverage Map.
According to the maps, where I live (LA Area) is filled with 3G coverage. Score!
A lot of folks who attended the T-Mobile Event in New York City are getting some up close and personal time with the T-Mobile G1 and most of them are walking away more impressed than not. The general consensus seems to be its not as big as you imagined, sleeker than expected, and the controls seem to be on-point. Basically, HTC and Google surpassed all of our expectations and did a great job in quieting the doubters and came through with a great device to launch Android with.
Here are the direct links to all of the hands-on that we can find:
We have to admit, the $179 price point of the T-Mobile G1 took us by surprise, we weren't expecting it to be that low. At $179 the price is uber-competitive and will certainly be very successful--I mean it's cheaper than that other phone! However, we're getting reports (Via AndroidCommunity) that some users aren't getting the $179 offer but instead having to purchase the T-Mobile G1 for $299 (around $350 after taxes and fees). There hasn't been any explanation on why this is so from T-Mobile yet so we'll continue digging for you until we come across some 'official information'. So in the mean time, what did T-Mobile charge you for your T-Mobile G1?
Earlier this month Apple unveiled new iPods, specifically they called the new iPod Touch "The funnest iPod Ever." The grammatically incorrect formulation of "fun" caused much consternation amongst the former English majors in the Blogosphere, including yours-truly.
With the above bit from HTC about how well the G1 integrates with Google, they just cause the zone of my brain that handles grammar and proper speallings to braek dwon and dye. Funnerer, smarterer and connecteder. Wow.
If nothing else, it's a sly and fun poke at Apple, no?
Those of us who are familiar with smartphones know that one of the toughest things to get right in a user interface is alerts. Alerts are not only what pop up when you get a new message, but also what stays around if you miss the initial alert -- indicators and whatnot. Windows Mobile Pro has an annoying pop-over Windows that grabs your attention. PalmOS has a little tiny Bell icon that appears in the Upper Left. The iPhone has a pop-up window and then nothing except numbers on the home screen.
Android on the G1? It has the "Sliding Info Blind," which is a very subtle line at the top of your screen which displays a preview of your incoming message. You can tap it to open the message or, you know, ignore it and continue what you're currently doing without having to hit "cancel" or "close" or "ignore" like you do on many other platforms.
We're starting to get overwhelmed with all the unique and neat touches we're seeing on the G1.
Looking at the early pre-release drawings, leaks, and renderings of the T-Mobile G1, there was a funny little question amongst us "hinge nerds." The rail between the screen and the keyboard was curved -- why was that, doesn't the screen just slide straight up?
No. The screen slides to the left and up on a curved track. Why is this cool? It means you can give it a little push with your right-hand thumb to slide the screen up -- just push to the left and up slightly and out comes the screen. Like the unlock feature we just mentioned, it's a subtle and elegant difference from your standard smartphone.
There are a lot of little touches of grace and elegance inside this G1, we can't wait to get one in our hands to find them all.
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