Slideshow

T-Mobile G1: A tour of Google Android

Step through the following slides for the highlights.

  • Simple, effective security: T-Mobile G1 locks itself after a user-defined idle period to prevent accidental touches and other mishaps. It can be unlocked by pressing the Menu button. For security, the user can define a touchscreen gesture that unlocks the phone.

  • Mail landscape: Here's a landscape view of the HTML e-mail reader. All Google apps switch to landscape orientation when the T-Mobile G1's keyboard is swiveled out.

  • Linux CLI: A POSIX command shell on a phone? You bet, and you don't even have to crack the firmware to get it. Apple, are you listening?

  • Fabulous browser: This is the first of four pages of Web browser options. The Android browser, based on the open source WebKit, is Android's killer app. It's a truly desktop-grade browser with scalable fonts and a single-column view.

  • Where am I? Google Maps loses contact with GPS relatively frequently, making it inadequate for navigation. Wi-Fi location assistance inexplicably didn't work in Silicon Valley. New street-level views, with real pictures of your surroundings, help compensate for this.

  • The home screen: The home screen pulls out on a tray, showing a grid of both built-in apps and software downloaded from Google's Android Market. You can also add icons for specific Web pages and contacts and other objects you want to keep track of.

  • Pac-Man: Android Market, Google's equivalent of Apple's App Store, is just getting off the ground. But it already has some interesting titles, including the genuine Namco Pac-Man.

  • Google Maps: Naturally, Google Maps is a standard Android feature. The compass uses a magnetic field sensor rather than GPS.

  • The first mobile device born of the team of Google, T-Mobile, and HTC, the G1 combines a mobile phone, 3G and Wi-Fi data networking, a touchscreen, and a swivel-out QWERTY keyboard. The secret sauce is Google's Android operating system.

  • Skippy music player: Android's music player is just adequate. Playback is choppy when the system is busy, such as when it is acquiring a network signal. Android currently lacks a standard video player, but it has a high-quality YouTube client.

  • Mail in portrait mode: Back to the identical page in portrait mode. Note the re-wrapping of text to fit the display. By the way, you can archive both messages and attachments.

  • Block that image: With a menu option, images can be concealed by default to speed rendering over slow connections as well as avoid user-tracing Web bugs. This screen also shows the Gmail client's pop-up settings menu.

  • Hands-free dialer: In fact, when phoning a contact, you don't need to type anything. T-Mobile G1's voice dialer is a much-needed feature lacking in iPhone.

  • Touch-screen dialing: No, you don't have to swing out the T-Mobile G1's keyboard just to make a phone call. The on-screen dialer has nice, big buttons and large, legible text.

  • HTML e-mail: HTML e-mail is standard, with the trackball navigating among selectable links and controls. Unlike BlackBerry and iPhone, G1 lacks Exchange connectivity, but over-the-air sync with Google mail, calendar, and contacts is free.

  • Bonsai Blast: G1's large, bright display and fast Linux kernel are well-suited to graphics-rich games such as Bonsai Blast. Gaps in available apps --- notably Exchange sync, VPN, and document viewers --- should fill in quickly, thanks to Android's free SDK and an active, funded developer community.

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