Itâ€™s surprising that something as portable as the T-Mobile G1 and powerful a platform as Android can be so useful. Perhaps it shouldnâ€™t be, but Iâ€™ve been using my G1 as a mobile internet device more and more often.
The biggest issue as many will point out is power, and the G1 is worse at power consumption and management than any other device. On the other hand, the abilities simply outweigh the power disadvantages that it has. Besides, keeping a charger (AC, USB, and auto) at hand eliminates that issue for the most partâ€¦ minimizes it really.
Since jumping from the Windows Mobile camp to Android, Iâ€™ve noticed that my phone is fun & easy to use again. Itâ€™s more powerful, simply because I use it for everything rather than explain how useful it can be as I did with Windows Mobile. The software is fun too â€“ many more new ideas and attempts to do different things than the staid, boring software selection that WinMo had when I last looked (itâ€™s changing I know).
Anyway, just wanted to drop a note about how much Iâ€™ve come to depend on the G1, much more than my MDA that stayed by my side for 3 years. Even though I believed that to be a powerful, useful device, Windows Mobile canâ€™t hold a candle to Android (or the iPhone) at this time. The phone is fun again.
There are dozens hundreds user-interface or aesthetic reasons that I could list off about the T-Mobile G1 which runs Google’s Android. However, it’s the functionality that has really sealed the deal for me.
The form factor and the ability to quickly add such a wide variety of applications to the device really makes it more useful to me then previous smartphones I’ve used. The variety of applications and new ideas is exciting and fun to watch develop. It’s no secret that mobile app marketing is very successful, below I’ve listed a number of applications that I’ve loaded and find really useful.
Cool Apps to Check Out
- fBook – A Facebook client app, similar to the iPhone app. Makes quick work of keeping up on Facebook.
- Locale- Basically a profile customization utility. It can change profile settings based on location, time, system events, contacts, messages, calls, etc… Really useful
- Maverick – An IM client that allows you to connect to more Google Talk accounts than the one tied to the phone account.
- Meebo – A Meebo client that allows you to log into not only your Meebo account, but also into any other IM service that Meebo supports. The nice part of this is that the Meebo client uses the data connection for send/receive rather than the text-messages that the built-in IM client does for Yahoo, Live, or AIM.
- PF Voicemail + – Enhanced voicemail, similar to visual voicemail on the iPhone. Allows you to review your voicemails by caller so you can choose which one to listen too first.
- Phonalyzr – Nifty little utility that will graph your call usage by date, time, length, incoming, outgoing, and other criteria.
- ShopSavvy – Cool tool for use while shopping. It uses the camera to scan a UPC code and then look up that product online. It has the ability to generate wish lists, and alerts for favorable pricing.
- Mileage – Allows you to keep track of mileage and costs for multiple vehicles.
- Twidroid – Currently the best Twitter client for Android. That statement, of course, is entirely subjective. I like it and that’s all that matters right now. 😉
- WeatherBug – Great Android version of the desktop app. Well designed for the screen size with a smaller memory footprint than The Weather Channel app – which is also a top-notch weather client.
- TextEasy – Allows you to send an SMS text message to more than one recipient.
- Toggle Settings – The app to have! This great tool allows you to quickly and easily manipulate various settings and radios on the G1. Very important since we know how power-hungry the current G1 software stack is.
- wpToGo – Have a WordPress blog? Either on WordPress.com or self-hosted, this tool is a simple but effective blogging client for Android.
- Opera – Opera Mini 4.2 for Android. ‘Nuff said.
- AnyCut – Allows you to create a shortcut on the desktop for nearly anything in the system.
Other Good Apps
- Task Switcher – While you can’t close processes with it (or others that don’t have root access) it’s still nice to see what apps you may have left running.
- Voice Recorder – Quick voice notes. This functionality should have been built into Android.
- Video Player – Watch videos from your SD card.
- Solitaire – When you need to pass a few minutes.
- Pictoral – Ties into Picasa.
- PAC-MAN – Is there anything to say?
- Orienteer – Makes use of the digital compass in the G1.
- Fitness – Uses the accelerometer in the G1 as a pedometer. Kinda works, and the developer is getting closer and closer with each release. Neat to see new app ideas like this.
- HotSpot Locator – Locate T-Mobile WiFi hotspots close to your location, either by GPS or by Wireless.
- inetwork test – Get a quick result on the 3G or EDGE network performance in your current location.
- Convert That – Conversion tool for nearly anything you can think of.
- Bubble – Mostly a demonstration app, it’s a level that uses the accelerometer in the G1.
- aTweeter – Another Twitter tool. A bit lighter weight than Twidroid, but improving quickly.
Of course, I don’t have all these installed right now (though almost!). I’ve been testing and experimenting with these apps and many more. The available application options have grown significantly over the past month. A great indication of a healthy & robust development ecosystem.
If you’re thinking about an Android device – don’t hesitate. Sure, the G1 may not be the one for you, but watch the next one or two devices that come along on your network. I promise, even the iPhone doesn’t hold the amount of promise that Android does long term.
Yeah, Iâ€™m a little excited while I sit and wait for my T-Mobile G1 to be delivered. During this waiting period that nearly every geek worth their weight in Apple will experience, Iâ€™ve been reading reviews, opinions, development docs, looking up existing applications and so on.
During this time Iâ€™ve been thinking about the things that Google did & didnâ€™t put in the phone. Iâ€™ve been pondering the criticism and the early praise for the device, and Iâ€™ve started thinking about what I want out of the G1, and through this Iâ€™ve come up with a list of possible application ideas for some â€œRock Starâ€ android developers. So here they are.
- Video Camcorder App (since Google left this out!)
- Adobe Flash Player
- Flickr Uploader
- QIK & Seesmic Video Client
- A Slingbox client
- A Kick-But Media Player
- Rhapsody client, iTunes Client, and so on
- Skype, GrandCentral, ooVoo Clients
- Twitter Client
- Facebook (and other social networks) Client that supports pic/vid/audio uploads
- Find a way to use the accelerometer as an input device â€“ specifically for scrolling. (Ok, yes like the information pads from STNG that the crew would simply tilt back & forth to scroll the information on the device â€“ geeky I know.)
- Bluetooth AD2P Stereo Headphone Support
- Bluetooth HID support for keyboards (Specifically my older ThinkOutside Bluetooth Keyboard please!)
- Bluetooth HID support for Mice
- Multi-Touch input drivers (I believe Google didnâ€™t do this because of IP concerns â€“ Iâ€™m probably wrong)
- Google Reader App (Howâ€™d they miss this?)
- Google Docs App (Gearsâ€¦ Hello!)
- Note taking app (Iâ€™d like one that integrates/syncs with Microsoft OneNote, but others like Evernote)
- Full Screen Keyboard
- Blogging client similar to Windows Live Writer
- Weather App (Forecasts, Maps, etcâ€¦)
- Support for email signing/encryption certificates
- Travel App (This one could be cooler than they have been to date: detect location via GPS, set correct time/date, download current weather, look up local restaurants automatically and present by breakfast/lunch/dinner times, download current exchange rates, moreâ€¦?)
Heck, Iâ€™m just listing off things I want â€“ but look at the device and think of the G1 as a PC rather than a phone. Remember, with 3G, GPS, accelerometer, touch interface, camera, access to your Gmail Contacts & Calendar, Maps, etcâ€¦ what could you build using a combination of these hardware and soft resources? What ifâ€¦? Since Android is an open platform, you can replace even the core components of the software suite: dialer, browser, email, input drivers, camera softwareâ€¦ itâ€™s endless.
Ok, now that Iâ€™ve demonstrated that Iâ€™m an Android fan-boy, Iâ€™m going to go back to work. Have fun!
With the knowledge that Iâ€™ll be moving to the T-Mobile G1 in the near future, I started thinking about my contact list. Yeah, the one I have in Outlook that I sync to my current Windows Mobile phone. But wait, thereâ€™s no sync client for Android phones.
However, in the case of the T-Mobile G1, it will sync itâ€™s contact list with my Gmail Contacts over the 3G connection. Ok, I can live with that â€“ it actually works out better in the end. More on that later. With that realization, I started thinking about how best to edit and update all those contacts I have in Gmail.
For a long time I had looked for some kind of utility to sync from Outlook to Gmail Contacts. I was hopeful when early last year Google themselves released a Outlook to Gmail Calendar sync tool. Alas there was no contact sync utility, just some API extensions to make it possible.
Since Iâ€™ve been playing evaluating Thunderbird as a replacement for Outlook on and off for a year or so, it occurred to me that there may be a way to sync Gmail items to Thunderbird via Add-Ons. Sure enough, they exist. With a Gmail Contact Add-On and a Gmail Calendar Add-On, Iâ€™m able to edit and update these times fast and easy via a great offline client.
The great part of all this is that because the G1 automatically syncs Gmail, Contacts and Calendar â€“ all my PIM data will now effortlessly be in sync from PC to Web to Mobile. No matter where I go to send an email, make a call, or view my schedule, it will always be in sync.
Do you know of any interesting Google or Gmail related Add-Ons for Thunderbird that would make it even better? Let us know what you find that works!
Now to just wait for the G1 to be deliveredâ€¦
Looks like Christmas is in October for me this year. Iâ€™ll be looking for the new T-Mobile G1 to show up around the 10th of November according to the order information. Yeah, I couldnâ€™t help joining over 1.5 million other new Android fans and preordered the phone last night.
Iâ€™ve been waiting for some time for the right phone to come along, and this may be it. For sure, itâ€™s a whole new ballgame instead of Windows Mobile, BlackBerry, Nokia S60, iPhone, or Palm.
Letâ€™s seeâ€¦ Google Maps integration, GPS, Push Gmail, Google & YouTube integration, 3G on T-Mobile (so I donâ€™t have to change carriers), the Android Market, and integration with Amazon MP3 store. Too cool.
Iâ€™ll post on the device as I get it and share what I learn about it. Happy to have an exciting 3G smartphone on T-Mobile for a change. Iâ€™ve made my darn T-Mobile MDA last nearly 3 years!
Photo credit: T-Mobile