G1 Officially Available Today, Should You Buy One?

The G1, a new mobile device from HTC available and featuring Google’s brand spankin’ new mobile platform Android, is now officially available at T-mobile.

But should you ditch your Blackberry, Palm, iPhone, etc to get one?

The G1 has a touch screen, similar to the iPhone, but it doesn’t have multitouch. It has a mobile application version of the Amazon mp3 store, which I love and use all the time for DRM-free music.

Unfortunately, you’ll need an adapter for that headphone jack to listen to all that music. Plus, you’ll have to purchase a memory card to store your music, and you can only do so up to 8GB.

The G1 does have a slider keypad, which I would love. I’ve had my iPhone for months, but typing on it is still a pain. Prior to that, I had the Samsung Glyde for a couple of weeks and loved the slider keypad. (It was just everything else that was a pain.)

So, should you or shouldn’t you? Here’s what the reviewers who have are saying:


The G1 phone and the Android operating system are not finished products. There are only three working Google Apps here—Gmail, Maps and Calendar—while Google Docs, Google News, Google Reader, Google Shopping, Google Images, Google Video, Blogger and Picasa are nowhere to be found. What’s the deal?

We have high hopes for third-party coders to fill in gaps Google intentionally or unintentionally left in this OS. There’s already a video player, and we’re sure VLC will try and port some kind of version over. But your question is not whether the phone will be great down the line, it’s whether or not it’s good enough for you to buy it now.

The answer depends most on who you are. Despite all the UI quirks and bad design decisions, it’s still better than other smartphone OSes out there. It’s not perfect, but for people who like tinkering, its cons are outweighed by its pros such as Gmail and the Marketplace. Hopefully Android updates and more ports of Google apps will augment not just future phones but this one too. This isn’t something you’re going to give your mom for Christmas, but if you’re an adventuresome gadget guy with some money to spend ($179) on a totally new, pretty exciting venture, then why not?


If you’ve been waiting for Android then I suggest you keep waiting. The overall OS seems to be held together by duct tape and needs a lot of work. Apple focuses on the minute details to enrich the overall experience for iPhone users and Android could learn a lesson or ten from it. The hardware design is dated and while the touch-screen and keyboard are great you can’t just forget about the wretched battery life, horrible GPS and the overall ergonomics of it. I wish the G1 were better in every respect because I don’t think the iPhone is that great, but I find myself wishing it were more like it. It’s the best alternative to the iPhone, but it’s just not there yet.


While we’re not in love with the design and would have liked some additional features, the real beauty of the T-Mobile G1 is the Google Android platform, as it has the potential to make smartphones more personal and powerful. That said, it’s not quite there yet, so for now, the G1 is best suited for early adopters and gadget hounds, rather than consumers and business users.


When you put the G1 up against, say, a Sidekick LX, it seems like a no-brainer for T-Mobile customers looking for a powerful QWERTY device — especially at $20 less. You don’t need to be a cutting-edge mobile geek or a pundit to do that math. When facing off with platforms like the iPhone and Windows Mobile devices, it holds its own, but has a lot of ground to cover before it’s really making the competition sweat. Still, if you’re just excited to be a part of a platform that’s likely going to be around for a very, very long time, the G1’s a totally reasonable day-to-day device to make it happen, and we expect some pretty great things from this corner of the market down the road.

Walt Mossberg at All Things Digital

Overall, the G1 is a very good first effort, and a godsend for people who prefer physical keyboards or T-Mobile but want to be part of the new world of powerful pocket computers.

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