Seven Things Missing From First Google Phone

December 2, 2008 By Andrew Eisner,

The first Google phone, the G1, went on sale October 21, 2008. No one was camped out in front of the store and you can buy one today at your T-Mobile store or BestBuy for $179.

Google developed the Android phone operating system and then opened up the source code for anyone to use. Google’s operating system will now be competing with Microsoft’s Windows Mobile, Nokia’s Symbian, and of course, Apple’s iPhone.

Should Apple Be Concerned?

Is this phone a threat to the iPhone? Based on the first set of reviews and user feedback it doesn't look like Apple has much to worry about just yet. This G1 is being received more as a development platform than a serious end-user cell phone.

No doubt, it has a lot going for it like real multi-tasking and an SD card slot. Yes, it has problems and we're sure many of them will be addressed in new phones, third party applications and new versions of Android. To be fair, you might want to judge this first Android phone independently of the OS but we'll take it at face value until the next phone appears.

A Tad On the Heavy Side

The G1 itself, feels a bit heavy phone for a phone its size and a banana-like curve at the bottom makes it feel slightly uncomfortable in your pocket. If you’ve bought into the Google platform for mail, calendaring, IM, etc. then this (or maybe the next version) could be the phone for you.

What's Missing?

What’s missing from the G1 in general is a finished product. There’s a lot to like about this phone and this platform but there are also a few things missing:

1.Decent Camera

Yes it's a 3 MP camera but there is a long lag when you press the awkwardly-placed button position and it's too easy to end up taking a lot of blurry closeup pictures of your thumb in front of the lens. Also, the camera lacks a flash of any kind.

2. Bluetooth Drivers

This will likely be remedied soon but for now there's limited Bluetooth support including no Bluetooth stereo support. Dan Hugo, Devcloper and Android G1 owner comments, "There's also no support in the SDK at this time which means app writers can't easily do something as simple as enable and disable Bluetooth, or anything really useful beyond that." Hugo adds, "I have a Plantronics Discovery 925 headset and a Jabra SP700 car speaker phone, both paired and work great with the G1. The speakerphone feature on the G1 also works well."

3. Headphone Jack

Got a set of earbuds with a standard 3.5mm jack? You'll need to buy a USB adaptor to use them.

4. Applications

The list of apps in the Google app store is short. No killer apps yet. Maybe now that developers have a platform to test their apps on, more will appear. It will help when Google gets the billing system in place so developers can charge for apps. To be fair Google has provided a public SDK and virtual emulator.

5. Usable Keyboards

The raised section on the right side of the keyboard can get in your way when trying to type. An on-screen keyboard is also missing but word is, it's coming soon.

6. Ability to Run Apps From the microSD Card

The G1 doesn't come with a lot of memory but you can add up to 16GB on a microSD Card. The added memory can be used for music, photos, and videos but the problem is you can't run apps off the card.

7. Tethering and VOIP Apps

Like the iPhone, you can't use the G1 to add 3G connectivity to your laptop like you can on Symbian and Windows Mobile phones. You can't run VOIP apps either. This is most likely limitations imposed by T-Mobile.

© 2008

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