G1 First Impressions

g1.gifI was excited to find the T-Mobile G1 coming to the UK as well as the US.  So much so, I was enticed by an email I received 3 days ago from T-Mobile…

"We’re making the G1 available exclusively for you to order from T-Mobile.co.uk before anyone else"

"Keep an eye on your email inbox over the next few days"

One minute later I got a similar email with an extra line saying…

"Put a reminder in your diary now for 3pm on 30 October 2008"

"Get more information on the available plans online"

I heard nothing else!… and nothing happened at 3pm.

Online, I was told I would have to pay £40 per month for 18 months. That’s £720! (about $1200). Now that’s a lot of money considering I already have too many SIMs and don’t really need many of the 1250 minutes that come bundled. Nevertheless, it’s my livelihood so I thought I’d have to pay.

I gave up waiting to be notified that the online ordering had gone live and paid a visit to the local T-Mobile store late this afternoon. They had 5 G1’s in stock and noone had purchased any yet – obviously not that popular then. I was pleased to find I could have the G1 on any tariff and ended up paying £25 per month and £69.99 for the phone. That’s a lot less – in fact a bargain considering it’s new hardware and includes ‘unlimited’ Internet access and still includes 700 minutes.

The hardware feels HTCesque and much like the HTC ODM Windows Mobile devices. The box has the same style (and smell!) as the HTC Touch range. It even shares the same power supply as the HTC Touch.

As with the development emulator, Android works well and feels intuitive. It’s strange there’s no PC sync software. Instead it just syncs flawlessly with Google’s services. The battery charged extremely quickly. I particularly like the mini trackerball that’s just like the one found on BlackBerrys. I also like the push email. Strangely, the first email I have just received on the phone (as I am typing this) is one I have been expecting – saying the G1 is now available for online ordering… but with up to a 7 day wait for delivery if demand is very high… it might not be at £40 a month!

I can’t help but feel it’s ironic (or is it strategic?) that the G1 uses some of the lessons learnt on other platforms. The G1 builds on hardware (Windows Mobile) and software (Google mail, maps on many platforms) that have been tried and tested… but now appear and compete on a new platform.

Now that I have a real phone for testing, I’ll be posting my thoughts on Android development.