There is a possibility that it is snowing in Hell right now - all because I got a new phone. Yes, you heard me correctly. For those of you who don't know me, I had a Sanyo SCP-4700 from Sprint, which if I remember correctly came out in late 2000 or early 2001. It had a green monochrome screen, speakerphone, and a calculator that wasn't very user friendly. My friends and family have been telling me to upgrade for quite a while now and it is getting to the point that strangers on the street would look at my old phone with curiosity and nostalgia. This little phone worked fairly well for over seven years despite the abuse it has suffered, which is much more than most other phones I have seen. The voice quality was fair but became very digitized at times and sometimes I wouldn't get a voicemail notification until days later, but I blame that on Sprint and not the phone. The combination of frustration at Sprint's service and a failing battery (still the original battery that came with the phone) led me to make the decision to say goodbye to my old friend.
Ever since it was announced about a year ago (I am not an impulsive shopper), I have been looking at the HTC G1 which is more commonly known as the Google Phone. The G1 has been in short supply (at least where I live) and I haven't seen one in person until just the other day. I passed by a T-Mobile stand at the mall, stopped and looked at it for quite a while, and decided to shock all of my friends and family by purchasing one. I signed into my new phone with my pre-existing Google account and was pleased to find that my contacts, calendars, and Gmail synchronized automatically. I didn't have to manually transfer data from my old phone. Way to go Google, keep up the good work and allow me to continue being lazy!
I am really impressed with Google's commitment to mobile platforms. Not only have they released their Android operating system as open source, they have put a great deal of effort into mobile versions of their services. If you visit Picasa Web on your mobile phone, you get a different simplified interface that works quite well. The web browser itself that comes on the G1 is very capable, but lacks Adobe Flash support and multi-touch (both of which are coming in the future). One disappointment would have to be no Android application for Google Docs, but they can be viewed through the web browser in a read-only mode. Fortunately, I have seen that the Google Docs team is trying to build something so you can edit your documents, view PDF files, etc.
The HTC G1 hardware itself could be improved in several areas. The battery gets drained quickly, especially when sending data over the 3G network, but this can be improved somewhat by turning off the GPS, WiFi, Bluetooth, and dimming the incredibly bright screen (I have mine set on 15% and it is plenty bright). The battery's performance is still poor enough that I bought a car charger and may get an extended life battery if I can find a good one. The camera takes horrible low-light pictures. This wouldn't be so bad if they would have included a flash, but sadly they did not. The camera also seems to take several seconds after you press the button before it finally takes the picture. The camera is also not currently able to capture video. The G1 does not come with an audio jack but instead uses a mini-USB to 1/8 inch stereo converter so you cannot plug in headphones and charge the device at the same time. Combined with the weak battery, this really limits the G1's use as a music player unless you buy a special adapter like this one.
There are two modes of GPS in the G1: the first is less accurate and works off of wireless towers while the second is more accurate and uses the actual GPS satellites in space. The satellite GPS can be extremely accurate at time, even down to 2 or 3 feet, but has been wrong a few time when I have been looking at it and sometimes it is slow to update. The digital compass works sometimes but is quite susceptible to interference and is completely wrong in my office at work.
It will be nice when other Android phones hit the market so we can compare performance. I hope it is the Android operating system itself that is wreaking havoc on my battery, for then it could be updated and improved upon. Android plans on having a new Linux kernel in the next update, so any power improvements there should help as well although I think Linux is already pretty optimized. The next Android phones will also most likely have a virtual keyboard like the iPhone, but I really like having physical keys to press. If you decide to buy a G1, I would strongly advise you to read the user generated FAQ at the T-Mobile forums.