Could somebody please make Mike Arrington a Web App?

Mike Arrington of TechCrunch claims he is quitting his iPhone as soon as he can port his number to Google Voice. I don’t think he realizes someone could have a web app that solves the Google Voice and iPhone interaction within days.

We don’t need a full blown Google Voice application on the iPhone. A simple web app would do. In fact, it would probably be better for overall adoption because only a small percentage of people update their apps religiously.

Given Google’s API for GV, and the speed at which the native apps were developed, this isn’t a stretch. A couple decent web developers could get this launched by Monday… In time to save Arrington and the world from an unnecessary rant on the failings of Android.

Parting with the Google Phone T-Mobile G1 – The Verdict – Top 10

After a week of using the T-Mobile G1 – the Google Phone – today I give it back. I knew before trying it that it was junk. Playing with it was still fun. There are great features on this phone, but for the most part it’s a phone to leave behind.

Last Shot of the G1

During the week I used the phone as my primary personal cell phone. Usually I carry an iPhone for work and a Nokia N82 for photography and personal calls. Having the iPhone and G1 on me for a week made for some great comparisons and a little benchmarking.

I do not recommend this phone. You should probably not buy this phone. BlackBerry and the iPhone are both superior in almost every aspect.

The Good

  1. Great (for plastic) screen. Bright, smooth movement, and fairly durable. The Flashlight application is bright.
  2. Terrific email client (see remarks about keypad below)
  3. Market (aka Android App Store) describes exactly what systems (GPS, PIM, 3G, etc) an application requires before one installs it
  4. Excellent USB implementation – The G1 reports as a removable drive when plugged in to a computer, and charges from the USB
  5. 3G beats the heck out of EDGE – It’s about 75% of the speed of AT&T’s 3G here in Philadelphia, but it’s 4x faster than EDGE
  6. Amazon MP3 store integration
  7. 3 megapixel camera has better resolution than the iPhone or current BlackBerry units, but is still antiquated enough to generate smile fatigue
  8. Hardware keypad is useful for customers who aren’t willing to type more quickly on a virtual keypad
  9. “Chin” section reminds us of the 1995 Motorola phones – Great way to reminisce
  10. Google logo on the back
The Bad
  1. Not stylish
  2. Twice as thick as it needs to be – Slide-out screen reveals unfriendly QWERTY keypad, the culprit of this waste
  3. “Chin” section is unnecessary and uses up an inch of length
  4. “Chin” section gets in the way in landscape orientation while typing
  5. Lack of multi-touch, poor trackball
  6. Can only type with keypad, requires sliding out.
  7. T-Mobile data plan is slower than AT&T (arguably this will change, but for now it’s 75% as fast as AT&T)
  8. Too many buttons – Looks like a repurposed Windows Mobile device from 2002
  9. Weak initial application offerings – lack of apparent payment system for developer compensation
  10. Android isn’t ready for commercial release – this OS has great potential but its lack of a svelt, smooth, and exciting experience exudes a lack of design
The Verdict – skip this phone – it’s a 1st generation device that is botched by poor hardware design and a pre-release operating system. A G2 or G3 version with a slim multi-touch interface and polished UI will be worthy of your attention.

Found an Android in the Wild (T-Mobile Google Phone G1)

Yesterday evening while out with my wife an in-laws for dinner I spotted an Android. The Google Phone, or T-Mobile G1, was alone in the hands of a man at a table full of iPhone and BlackBerry owners.

This was a first. I’ve been using a G1 for a week, and other than the phone in my hands I have not seen another in use. This was exciting… I could actually interrupt someone’s meal to learn his thoughts on the device!

And I did. And the response was what I expected.

Me: “I see you’ve got a G1… I’m reviewing one. What do you think.”

Alex: “I’m returning it. Aweful. Getting a BlackBerry.”

Alex elaborated on what he didn’t like. He’s used an iPhone, but likes BlackBerry’s more. Mostly his beefs are with hardware:
– big nob on right side when screen is extended (hardware)
– feels cheap (hardware)
– lack of proximity detection so screen items are pressed during calls (arguably, this could be fixed with a software update)
– the messaging and email are weak compared to BlackBerry. Unreliable. (software and network)
– keypad isn’t friendly – not a fast pad to type on. (hardware)

I had hoped he would have some praise for it. Perhaps something I’ve missed or overlooked. But other than believing a future generation will be competitive, he had none. The apps and browsing didn’t matter.

I’ve come to appreciate the browser for stability and support of ajax (its use is still a disaster). I’ve also liked the implementation of the Market (the Android App Store). But if Alex is a read on consumers, these features don’t really matter.

Writing a Post From the Google Phone

This post will be written entirely from a Google Phone (aka T-Mobile G1) while in transit on a train to Philadelphia. I’ve mostly expressed a dislike for the G1, for mostly good reasons, but so far this post has been uneventful.

G1 at the train station

An impressive bit about this post is that I’m using the web version of WordPress. There are no apps as of yet for blogging on a G1. This is the first time I’ve been able to use the web based rev of WordPress on a mobile device, so this has been farely impressive. The image inserted above is via a Flickr feed plugin. It worked, but not seamlessly.

Today’s impression of the G1, soley from the power of its web browser, is less negative. I will say however that I plugged the G1 in to the official Device Success Wife-o-Meter and the needle barely lifted. I didn’t tell her it was the Google Phone before asking her to check it out. Here’s how that went (continued after the updates…):

UPDATE: T-Mobile botched up my Internet plan somewhere between the time of getting 1/2 way done with this post and the time of clicking the “Publish” button. When I finally published I received a message about not having the appropriate data plan for the G1. You can probably imagine the color tones of my face turning bright reddish-purple with rage.

UPDATE 2: Wasn’t able to recover the text from the post, but the following is close, re-written…

Seems a little fragile. Kind of blocky and big.

She played with it for a little while, trying the flip screen and browsing to different sites. YouTube popped up automatically for her. Still, the result was a definite ho-hum run.

Ok, so what about the Google Phone? I thought you were going to be reviewing it.

“That is the Google Phone…”

I thought the Google Phone would have more colors.

UPDATE 3: I’ve cancelled my second line on T-Mobile and upgraded to the G1’s official data plan on my primary line. The failure with the post was a case of terrible timing, where T-Mobile took 2 days to determine I was on the wrong data plan (I had no idea I needed to be on a special G1 plan). The T-Mobile network shut my line off at the worst possible time for a blogger – moments before publishing.

Trash Talking the T-Mobile G1

I haven’t used the G1 for a call. Its underpowered GPS hasn’t led me in any direction. There has been no music or video to entertain me. I have not used a G1 for anything, really… Because I knew months ago in reading a paragraph of specs and seeing a picture that it was guaranteed garbage.

Don’t mistake my statements as a knock on Android. Android is great. I love it. My statements in this post are not directed at Android. The G1 is an unfortunate first hardware release of that OS.

There are certain laws mobile manufacturers must follow: You may not offer a media device without a standard headset jack. You may not offer navigation with a week GPS. You may not double the actual required width soley to add a physical qwerty foldout keypad. Above all else, you may not offer a lifestyle device without style.

Now, I’ve said all this based on reading the spec, viewing the pictures, and palming it for 10 minutes. I’ve owned and reviewed many HTC made devices and this a completely obvious failure to me. Perhaps that’s not fair without real-world use though?

So I’m going to endure some pain and suffering so you don’t have to (not that you would buy a G1 – you wouldn’t). I’m going to replace my N82 for the rest of this week with a device I know has no hope. I’m going to use it side-by-side with my iPhone 3G. Wish me luck.