When it took me seven seconds just to be able to answer a phone call, that’s when I realized I had finally had enough. I’ve never used an iPhone and due to disapproval over Apple’s policies probably never well, so this is not a “G1 Sucks iPhone Rules!!!1” post. Unfortunately, it’s still a rant against the G1.
First, let me offer some disclaimers:
1) I’m a power user. I’ve downloaded lots of apps, and overall, they rock. Google Maps on the G1 is awesome. Pandora’s new Android app made me literally giggle with glee. And the Android OS, while clearly still a bit rough, has great potential IMHO. But perhaps because I’m a power user (installing many apps and pushing the phone to its limits), the phone has been more frustrating for me than it is (or would be) for more, heh, normal people.
2) And speaking of normal people… my sister—who is crazy-smart but hardly an early adopter geek—LOVES her G1. She pretty much only uses it for phone calls and checking her e-mail, but the latter came in handy wonderfully when her desktop computer was down and also when the electricity was out where she lives. She’s had no problems figuring out how to use the phone, and seemingly no problems getting it to do what she wants to do with it. Though granted, when I last spoke with her, she hadn’t actually installed a single app.
3) I know people on the Android team and I hope they do not hate me after this post. They’re genuinely good, smart, hardworking folks who IMHO made an admirable effort towards Android Phone v1. When the phone works well (and let me note, it mostly does), it makes you appreciate the power and opportunities in an open mobile OS
Alas, though, for better or worse, working well most of the time isn’t sufficient for a phone. Phones should work reliably and consistently well, and the G1 does not. It comes down to the hardware: Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. Slow, as in, it often takes over five seconds for the home page to show up after you click the home button. That, combined with the flakiness in making and receiving calls, makes it a pretty lousy phone for phone calls. And regardless of my preference for e-mail over voice calls most of the time, this is still absolutely, positively unacceptable in a phone.
* * *
Many of you may be surprised to hear me publicly railing against what some refer to as “the Google Phone.” I note (with some pride) that my policy has pretty much always been to offer public praise on Google products when I feel they deserve it and private (within-Google) blunt-yet-constructive criticisms of Google products that (to me) fall short.
1) This technically isn’t a “Google phone.” We made the software, but someone else made the hardware. I’m mentioning this as a technicality, admittedly, and not intending to just pass the buck. Ultimately, it’s got our name on it and we should (and I believe do) take both responsibility and credit for Android phones that include what’s known as the “Google Experience.”
2) I can say with firm confidence that many of the phones coming down the pike this year (18-20 is the number publicly pre-announced!) simply ROCK. And I want folks’ first experience with Android to be one that’s consistently AWESOME, not just “Hmm, pretty good most of the time.”
You should be asking Santa for an Android phone this Christmas, even if you’re an atheist. Er, okay, if you’re a non-Christian, perhaps you should just go out and buy an Android phone yourself. You’ll appreciate the better (much better) hardware, slicker UIs, and a lot more to make you smile.