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First Android phone deemed “solid”

Oct 16, 2008 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 1 views

eWEEK reviewer Andrew Garcia has posted an excellent, in-depth review of the first phone based on Google's Linux/Java-based “Android” OS. The T-Mobile's “G1” is a “worthy competitor” to Apple and the iPhone, Garcia writes, though enterprise users may wish to wait for bugfixes… and missing features.

The G1 has a 528MHz Qualcomm MSM7201A ARM processor, 256MB of ROM, and 192MB of RAM. The 3.17-inch touch-screen with 480 x 320 resolution switches to landscape mode when the device's QWERTY keyboard is slid out. It comes standard with a 1GB microSD card, but supports cards up to 8GB. A single USB-ETX requires an oddball cable for charging, headphones, and data connections. There's also WiFi and Bluetooth radios, but with very limited support so far for Bluetooth profiles, according to Garcia.

Garcia praises the G1's ultra-bright touchscreen, which he says is more accurate than those found in HTC Windows phones, and nearly the equal of iPhone touchscreens. The device switches between WiFi and cellular data networks more seamlessly than do Windows Mobile phones, he reckons, and multi-tasks better, slowing down less with lots of running software. The web browser, meanwhile, “consistently loaded image-laden pages a few seconds faster than the iPhone,” though the comparison was only to a first-generation iPhone.

The G1 has a slight curve, leading some to dub it the “banana phone,” Garcia reports
(Click any to enlarge)

Missing enterprise features include support for certificate-based WiFi authentication, and spotty support for Microsoft Exchange Server with IMAP accounts (contacts would sync with the email client, but not with the phone's contact manager). Additionally, Garcia could not access his Exchange Calendar, nor sync with a Google Calendar. Google Mail and Gears seem to combine well for offline email access, though.

The G1 has a 1,150-mAh battery that delivered 5 hours and 23 minutes of talk time with WiFi and data synchronization disabled, Garcia reports. He reckoned power management to be better than other recently tested Windows and Apple phones with larger batteries.

Garcia writes:

The T-Mobile G1 for Google will be available Oct. 22, but the carrier is taking preorders now. The smart phone will be available for $399 without a service contract, but the price will drop to $179 with a two-year agreement. T-Mobile says the G1 will work with any voice service plan priced $29.99 or greater. Data plans for the G1 come in two flavors: a $25 plan that includes unlimited Web, e-mail and GoogleTalk Instant Messages plus T-Mobile HotSpot access and 400 messages (MMS/SMS/non-GoogleTalk IM); or a $35 plan with the same suite of services plus unlimited messaging.

Garcia's full review can be found here. See also our earlier report that T-Mobile sold out its first 1.5 million phones. A G1 slideshow gallery can be found here. T-Mobile's coverage tool, meanwhile, offers tabs for checking the network's voice or data coverage.

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