Thursday, October 16, 2008

First Android Phone: Review Roundup

If you're interested in Android development, you’ve probably pre-ordered the T-Mobile G1 or are ready to go to the stores next week to buy one. On-device testing is, of course, critical to getting a bullet-proof application to market.

That being said, the success in the market of this first handset is also going to be important for getting momentum going behind Android application development. Since the popularity of the handset just based on pre-orders may be skewed towards developers buying them up, I’m going to list a bunch of reviews that I’ve found around the ’net to see how what the user reaction is to the handset.

Om Malik on New York Times:

“This isn’t an iPhone competitor.”

“The device is very easy to use.”

“Amazingly robust operating system with little or no lag time. It makes Windows Mobile feel like a retiree and even iPhone feels like a middle-aged person compared to Android OS.”

Will I recommend this phone to anyone out there looking for a smart phone? The answer is yes, …”

Glenn Fleishmann on ars technica:

“The T-Mobile G1 Google smartphone … remains firmly in the shadow of the iPhone—for now.”

“The phone … was released too early.”

“The built-in three-megapixel camera produces extremely sharp, high-quality photos …”

“Performance was sluggish. Android responds quickly …, but then takes what feels like an inordinate amount of time to do anything …”

“Future phones using the Android OS will need to set a much higher mark … If Google planned right, though, that's precisely what will happen. Developers [that’s you] will step in to improve the OS and extend its functionality”

Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal:

“The G1 won’t win any beauty contests with its Apple rival.”

“Most importantly, the G1 complements its touch screen with a physical keyboard, the lack of which has made the iPhone a non-starter for some users.”

“… if your world already revolves around Google services, you may find that the G1 fits like a glove. If not, you may be disappointed.”

“… the software is slick.”

“… the G1 is a powerful, versatile device which will offer users a real alternative in the new handheld computing category the iPhone has occupied alone.”

Jason Chen on Gizmodo:

“The G1 phone and the Android operating system are not finished products.”

“We have high hopes for third-party coders [that’s you]to fill in gaps Google intentionally or unintentionally left in this OS.”

“This isn't something you're going to give your mom for Christmas, but if you're an adventuresome gadget guy [or a developer] with some money to spend ($179) on a totally new, pretty exciting venture, then why not?”

Joshua Topolsky and Chris Ziegler on Engadget:

“… surprising lack of "design."”

“… we found the screen to be outstanding.”

“… we found cell signal to be spotty at best …”

“It's difficult to accurately describe how utterly painless it is to set up and use the G1 for the first time.”

“Android's easy to use, but it's not always consistent.”

“… hands-down the best single-touch experience for browsing that you can find.”

“The G1 isn't going to blow anyone's mind right out of the gate.”

“… one of the most exiting developments in the mobile world in recent memory.”

There you have it. This is by no means a comprehensive review list. It’s clear that the consensus is that it’s great but not an iPhone. Some of that is the fault of Android, which will improve over time, while some is the fault of the hardware. Although this may be the only handset for a while, there should be many hardware variations to appeal to a broad audience.

There was, however, one common element: the experience can improve with third party developers. So, get to it!

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