Initial Thoughts on The G1

  I Got My Android G1 
  Originally uploaded by fredwilson.

I spent the day yesterday at the New Business For News Summit and played a bit with the G1 I got the day before. For those who want to know, it is a loaner and I am not using it as a phone yet. I am still carrying around my trusty blackberry curve.

So here are some thoughts:

1) Keyboard – I love the sidekick style keyboard. I used a sidekick for almost a year and it’s a fantastic user experience. The keys are not as tactile as a blackberry and I think the blackberry keyboard is better, but the G1 keyboard is just fine. If you can’t use an iPhone (like me) because of the touch keyboard, this will work fine for you.

2) The Browser – Way better than the Blackberry but not anyway near the iPhone’s browser. I kept trying the pinch gesture in the browser. They need that bigtime.

3) App Market – Really nice. Great experience. A surprising amount to choose from.

4) Installing apps from the browser. A big win. I installed Twitroid via a browser download. It worked just fine. This is the value of an open phone versus a closed phone (iPhone).

5) Gmail and Gcal – as you might expect, these google apps work perfectly on a Google phone. I forward all my outlook mail to gmail and I use Google calendar synch to keep my gcal and outlook calendar sync’d up. I don’t yet have a good solution for getting my outlook contacts to google but I think my friend Charlie pointed Bijan to one yesterday that I’ll try out. Of course the right thing for me to do is just move to Google apps and leave outlook and if I stick with this phone, I’ll do that.

6) Battery life – i don’t think my battery was completely charged yesterday morning so take this with a grain of salt, but by noon the battery was dead. My blackberry goes all day on an overnight charge.

7) Twitroid – the best non-iphone twitter app I’ve ever used. one thing I’d love is "saved searches" since I search on certain words all the time in twitter.

That’s about it for now. I didn’t really get into the phone yesterday so these are my initial reactions. I’ll play with it some more and get back to you all with a more exhaustive review.

I’ll end by saying that Android is a great mobile OS, certainly in the same class as the iPhone OS, and way better than windows mobile. I can’t speak to Symbian because I’ve not really used it. Blackberry is still the simplest and most powerful OS for a hard core business user, but Android is close and will only get better. And because of the open source/open hardware model that Google has adopted, we are likely to see a huge number of hardware configurations for this OS in the coming years. Android’s a winner in my book.

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