Sunday, November 2, 2008

I got my hands on the G1!

I've mentioned on here that I'm a big... big... huge fan of Google. I use Gmail (fully customized with Google Labs features), Google Calendar, Google Documents, Google Reader, Google Analytics (to track my blog stats), Google Maps, Picasa (a Google product), of course to search. I also subscribe (using google reader) to the Official Google blog as well as the Google Mobile Blog. Starting to get the picture?
This being the case, I had been watching the development of Android, Google's mobile operating system very closely. If you're a little confused, an operating system is the software that dictates how you interact with hardware. Windows, for example is a very well known operating system.
Google set out to make an operating system that works the way other Google products do, simply, efficiently, and intuitively. The new operating system, called Android, was released on it's first handset, the G1, a few weeks ago. I've been drooling over it ever since. The G1 is a dressed up version of the HTC Dream. It's got a capacitive touch screen (similar to the iPhone) and a qwerty keyboard that's hidden under a sliding screen.
I finally got to play with it yesterday at the T-Mobile store, which was sweetness. The G1 is smaller in my hands than I had thought from pictures and videos I've seen online. It's also really easy and fun to operate. Having played with my iPod Touch and my wife's iPhone, I think the touch screen on the G1 is very similar. The icons are big enough to be easy to hit even if you have relatively large grown up fingers. That's one thing early touch screen developers got wrong. Small icons require you to waste time pulling out a stylus or take careful aim rather than naturally using your fingers.
Of course, one of the really cool things about a phone with an operating system made by Google is that it sync "in the cloud" with all my Google information. For example, once I sign in to the phone, all my contacts from GMail are stored on my phone automatically. When I add a contact on the phone, it's stored online immediately. Calendar, mail, and other things work the same way. Pretty cool. What might be even cooler is that I don't have to plug it in for it to sync. It syncs to the servers wirelessly and automatically. Beautiful.
Of course, the G1 is only the first phone to hit the market with the Android operating system. That means, as the appeal and gadget lust spreads, more handset manufacturers will start turning out new phones running Android. Not sure if I'll be an early adopter and get the G1 or wait and see what else comes down the pipeline.

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