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Mr_Shameless 10-25-2008 05:07 AM

Opinions on T-Mobile G1 and Android?
 
Hi everyone,

Recently I paid attention to T-Mobile G1, the first cell phone that uses Android.

I'm still not very clear about Android. So, basically it is built on top of the Linux kernel, and all its applications are written in Java? From what I read on Wiki, it does not support compiling applications to native code, is that true?

I'm considering buying a somewhat 'open' cellphone to play with. Months ago I had a look at the Neo Freerunner, but finally decided that $400 is too expensive for such an incomplete device. Then last week i read about T-Mobile G1 on linuxdevices.com, and fell for it.

Has any of you tried the phone? How is it? How is the performance and stability of the Android platform?

Thanks :)

kellogs 10-25-2008 05:03 PM

Ahoy

>>I'm still not very clear about Android. So, basically it is built on top of the Linux kernel, and all its applications are written in Java? From what I read on Wiki, it does not support compiling applications to native code, is that true?

Yep, Android = linux kernel + some core software of linuxes, and a custom made runtime called Dalvik virtual machine. The language you would code it would be Java, but the whole platform does not resemble that much with the J2SE, and not at all with J2ME. Although that (J2SE) was its starting point.

>>Months ago I had a look at the Neo Freerunner, but finally decided that $400 is too expensive for such an incomplete device.

Then be my guest and make Jobs even richer by paying him arround 900$ for a somewhat more complete smartphone. Btw, they fixed the 3G signal issue ? lol! More seriously, dunno crap about this Neo freerunner phone. Your choice.

>>Then last week i read about T-Mobile G1 on linuxdevices.com, and fell for it.

Careful here, I wouldnt fall for it that fast. First cons that come through my mind:

- No real GPS software atm. Sure enkin looks great .. but it uses googlemaps. Means very shitty coverage for Europe at least. And extra traffic. Lots of it.
- no multi touch screen (yet) as the iphone has.
- it is not 100% 'open' just yet. We do not haveaccess to many of the lower system packages - the native C core packages.
- And it is a HTC production. dont know about this specific model, but they usually have issues with their batteries.

>>How is the performance and stability of the Android platform?

I have only tried the emulator and it is not that good. After using Googlemaps for 15 mins the whole thing gets extremely slow.
Also, Googles last step in upgrades (going from Android beta to Android 1.0) has broken lots of ppl's code, if not everyone's. I managed to fix mine, but right now it does not do what it was supposed to do (ie. bugged) :D

In short, I would not want that thing in my pocket just yet.... just YET. Looking forward to it though. It ha sgot some cool things too. Like customizable widgeded desktop(s), compass API ootb (dunno if this HTC phone actually has a compass)- veeery handy for using GPS at walking speeds, qwerty keyboard , big screens, and others.

~
brother rupert

cyndrella 10-26-2008 02:32 AM

Android = linux kernel
 
That is correct.

Yep, Android = linux kernel + some core software of linuxes, and a custom made runtime called Dalvik virtual machine. The language you would code it would be Java, but the whole platform does not resemble that much with the J2SE, and not at all with J2ME. Although that (J2SE) was its starting point.

Tamaros 10-31-2008 01:18 PM

Don't forget, android and the G1 are not synonymous. It's only the first android phone. I'd give it some time on the open market to evolve and mature a bit, not to mention once there are a few more devices there will be more competition which could lead to better features on the phone hardware.

mconstant 11-20-2008 12:56 PM

I'm writing this now from the G1. The software that ships with the phone is high quality and easy to use. I'm not a fan of the apps in the marketplace. Some people are writing crappy and/or useless apps. Developing using the Android SDK is only supported on the most common platforms, too. That is a bit of a bummer, too, but I am curious as to what programmers will come up with, since Google is offering millions of bucks in its developer challenge.

kellogs 11-21-2008 06:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mconstant (Post 3348948)
That is a bit of a bummer, too, but I am curious as to what programmers will come up with, since Google is offering millions of bucks in its developer challenge.

Do you have any news on the ADC II ? I haven't seen anything on their site for 4 months on this matter.

jtshaw 11-22-2008 11:34 AM

My biggest problem with the Android platform is lack of Exchange support. Much like I wouldn't consider the iPhone pre-2.0 I can't really consider the Android playform until it has full support for Exchange (mail, calendar, and contacts). It is an unfortunate fact of life that many business, even the one I work for which pretty much runs on Linux, still uses Exchange for mail, meeting scheduling, and whatnot.

Android has a tremendous amount of potential I think, we just aren't there yet.

CJ Chitwood 11-29-2008 06:46 PM

As a G1 owner, I'm absolutely in love with the device, but then, I don't *need* a lot of the stuff business users need. As a Linux nut, I love that I have a smartphone that is [at least] compatible with Linux, that has all the hardware I wanted (WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth, Touchscreen, full qwerty) along with some I didn't expect (accelerometer, magnetic compass) and software capable of playing multimedia (for video, this is currently only the 3GP and MP4 h.263 codecs, but it's a start; audio includes MIDI, MP3, OGG, and perhaps others that I haven't tried yet -- and all the phone's default sounds are in Ogg Vorbis, so that's cool too). It has its share of problems. The main one is immature software. I mean, sure, it's Java based, but the toolkit is something else. It's not your papa's cup o' joe. I was looking at just a few examples in their website (code.google.com/android) and I got lost. But then, I'm no programmer.

There are a few hardware issues with the G1, namely a slightly creaky face (holding the phone snugly makes it creak as though it's in pain) and slight fit issues (after owning mine little over a month, the screen has started to get this downward tilt to it when open -- it's visible in the press-release photos). Also, the touchscreen loses a lot of sensitivity near the edges, but you soon learn where the sweet spots are.

Yes, it lacks exchange support, but that's a downfall of the available software. It's perfectly capable of Exchange if someone wants to write the program to support it.

Sometimes the whole thing feels a little slow. Maybe it's something a firmware update could fix, but for now, rebooting it every few days seems to help speed things up. It would also help if you could close programs, but the OS prevents this. It forces you to keep everything running in the background.

We currently only have root if we have a hacked device. I was too quick getting the updates. I found out how to get root after mine was fixed with no way to go back.

All in all, the device has all I've ever wanted in a cellphone and has also given me a reason to want more. Having things I've never had before, I already have ideas on improvements. I didn't expect that, but I see it as a good thing.

I do not yet recommend specifically the G1 to my coworkers, but once someone comes out with full Exchange support I'll have no reason not to.

But then again, that's just me.

rweaver 12-17-2008 03:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr_Shameless (Post 3321529)
Hi everyone,...<SNIP>... Has any of you tried the phone? How is it? How is the performance and stability of the Android platform? Thanks :)

I've actually have a developer friend who purchased one on launch day and have had an opportunity to play with it a little bit. I'm pretty impressed with it as a whole, although I would call it "semi-open" rather than truly open.

Like the iPhone you need to jailbreak it to make it completely open or buy the developer version.

If I were to buy a new phone today (I am in about 2 months) I would purchase either an iPhone or a G1. What really interests me though is the operating system (android) running on other hardware (and several have already been announced), the G1 itself is a nice phone, but there is considerably more impressive hardware available and once G1 is on that... I think you'll have an iPhone/Blackberry killer.

Zerathidune 01-01-2009 06:29 PM

I have some issues with the G1

1) the G1 is tivoized, meaning you can't change the system software. sure, you can change some applicaions, but it's nowhere near as flexible as a truly open system could be.

2) It's also not really linux. You can't run native linux apps on it. The linux kernel is used, but the userspace is completely different. The reason (1) bothers me, besides the principle that it's my goddamn phone and I should be able to do whatever I want with it, is that I suspect after some time I would long for a the unix terminal. What I really want is something with just as powerful software as what I have on my full size computers.

right now I don't have a smartphone. Instead, I have a free, crappy phone, and a nokia n810. It's reffered to as an internet tablet, and it's much closer to being an open system than the G1. It really is linux - one of the default applications is a terminal, and I've installed openssh, which allows me to use my other machines on the go. The version I have doen't include hardware necessary to connect to a cell phone network, just wifi, but there's also a wimax edition, and I can connect to the net via my phone with bluetooth as well (I don't though, because data rates are highway robbery.) It isn't quite as open as the neo, but the hardware in my opinon is a bit nicer. the main thing for me is it has a full keyboard.

In any case, android, not really being unix, doesn't meet my needs. If it meets yours, keep in mind it will run on other devices, including the neo freerunner, so if the reason you consider the neo "incomplete" is software, you might reconsider.

dougnc 01-18-2009 12:18 PM

Highly recommended!
 
I've had a G1 since October and I've found it very easy to use and reliable. It's much easier to use than a windows mobile phone. The browser is very good, websites look normal.

I wanted a linux phone very much. The problem is that all the open source linux phones are very unreliable. Android is an open platform, even tho the purists nitpick on it.

While it doesn't support exchange, it's very tightly integrated with gmail. I got myself a gmail account, using a very fake name. In just a few minutes I was able to export my kmail contacts to a cvs file, edit the headings in open office, then upload them to gmail from my linux system. gmail then quickly synced them up to my G1.

The only thing I haven't figured out is how to sync gmail back to Kontact.

Getting the G1 is kind of a no-brainer for an open source linux tard. It's not for you if you're still under the control of the evil empire, and using exchange. The only other downside is the T-Mobile coverage can be spotty in places, tho I've had little trouble.

CJ Chitwood 01-20-2009 05:01 AM

Agreed...


The great thing is that the Exchange support is merely a function of software. There are already two or three apps that support Exchange... One is read-only from anywhere in the world, and one has read & compose support but only if you're on a network in which you can contact the exchange server (in my case, it's firewalled to the outside world, so we rely on WebDAV, for which there is no read/compose client yet, to my knowledge).

Not sure what to tell you as far as syncing back to Kontact... Try setting Gmail up in Kontact as a POP3 account... That's how I've got it set up in my Evolution, but I don't think contacts go POP3 so that might be a no-joy too...


GL!

linuxdojo 01-28-2009 01:06 PM

Happy Android User
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mr_Shameless (Post 3321529)
Hi everyone,
---snip---
all its applications are written in Java?
---snip---
Has any of you tried the phone? How is it? How is the performance and stability of the Android platform?

Thanks :)

I got mine at the pre-release as i was desperate to replace my Palm Treo. To date, while i know the platform is perhaps a bit immature its already been worlds better than what i had. Granted Palm might have made great PDA's their platform is as suited for Phones as it would be for satellite control. Thankfully nobody was killed or died although i frequently felt like killing a palm senior exec or two for the pain and suffering inflicted upon me.

So yes, java is the platform today and its not standard Javajava, j2ee or jsme. I would expect to see at some point python supported once the jpython app is a bit more refined. I have seen mono support being ported over and also a jsme app converter that are being worked on but today its java that is androidized a bit. There is also a project to get Debian on the android platform that would give you native apps via apt-get as long as they have been compiled for that hardware platform.

In terms of stability and performance depending on what all you have installed i have seen some performance issues, but having been using a treo for way to long i am probably way more forgiving than most, hell i couldn't be happier!

Some apps are very polished at this point in time others are still coming out or not getting as much love as others. still no paid apps though so kind of hard to see where things are headed in the long term. I had so many people asking me over the prior 6 months before the G1 why i had not replaced my treo with a iPhone and i always said cause i was waiting for a linux phone.

Glad i did, im very aware it will only get better over time and at some point i might even look back and wonder how anyone could have used a palm as a phone but for today im just happy to have a reliable phone with a pretty sick hardware platform and marvel at the new apps that are coming out every day.

did not want a iphone then and i still dont, i have 3 way sync of address's and calendars between kontact, gmail and the G1 and my world is just a bit better because of it.
:-)
Tnt

dougnc 02-09-2009 08:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by linuxdojo (Post 3424300)
I got mine at the pre-release as i was desperate to replace my Palm Treo. To date, while i know the platform is perhaps a bit immature its already been worlds better than what i had. Granted Palm might have made great PDA's their platform is as suited for Phones as it would be for satellite control. Thankfully nobody was killed or died although i frequently felt like killing a palm senior exec or two for the pain and suffering inflicted upon me.

So yes, java is the platform today and its not standard Javajava, j2ee or jsme. I would expect to see at some point python supported once the jpython app is a bit more refined. I have seen mono support being ported over and also a jsme app converter that are being worked on but today its java that is androidized a bit. There is also a project to get Debian on the android platform that would give you native apps via apt-get as long as they have been compiled for that hardware platform.

In terms of stability and performance depending on what all you have installed i have seen some performance issues, but having been using a treo for way to long i am probably way more forgiving than most, hell i couldn't be happier!

Some apps are very polished at this point in time others are still coming out or not getting as much love as others. still no paid apps though so kind of hard to see where things are headed in the long term. I had so many people asking me over the prior 6 months before the G1 why i had not replaced my treo with a iPhone and i always said cause i was waiting for a linux phone.

Glad i did, im very aware it will only get better over time and at some point i might even look back and wonder how anyone could have used a palm as a phone but for today im just happy to have a reliable phone with a pretty sick hardware platform and marvel at the new apps that are coming out every day.

did not want a iphone then and i still dont, i have 3 way sync of address's and calendars between kontact, gmail and the G1 and my world is just a bit better because of it.
:-)
Tnt

How did you do the sync? I'd love to have Kontact synced that way.

ArkyMedia 06-18-2009 09:04 PM

Yes, I have an Android phone. No, it is not a complete platform...yet. I bought into it because I know that over time it will only become better, just like my PS3. People don't think Android has native Exchange support...actually, it does. HTC produces a firmware that you can find on the internet, and it has native exchange sync support. There is also a third party app available that has excellent exchange support.

The most incomplete area on the phone is the bluetooth. I need more features! Other than that, and call recording capability, I am very happy with my phone. It has undoubtedly the very best mobile browser ever.


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