We had the opportunity to test out a Google G1 phone for a couple of weeks. I had really hoped that it would live up to the hype and I would end up keeping it. It was not to be. The form factor of the phone is nice. It feels good in the hand, although not as good as the iPhone. The G1 fixes what I thought was a major iPhone problem – annoying keyboard. The G1 has a snap out keyboard that is pretty large and allows for very rapid thumb typing. When you snap the keyboard out, the screen automatically changs from portrait to landscape.
Problem number one is no support for Exchange Active Sync, which is a must for the business user. Hopefully, this will be fixed in the next version. I think it was a mistake even to release the phone without this functionality. Apple released the first iPhone without Exchange Active Sync and it hurt the iPhones adoption with business users. Although, Apple had the built in killer app of the iPhone being an iPod. I couldn’t find the “killer app” on the G1.
Problem number two, or maybe this is even more glaring than problem one, is Google’s choice of T-Mobile as the only provider. T-Mobile’s network is generally useless in my experience, unless you are in a large city. Even in suburbs of Indianapolis, coverage was spotty. Or, even if I was in coverage, I would often not get what I would consider to be 3G speeds.
I hope that Google will add Active Sync and allow other carriers to sell the next version. For now, I will continue to use a Windows Mobile based phone.