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Google Android/T-Mobile G1 Phone breaks cover. But it’s no iPhone.

There’s a group of people who don’t want or can’t have an iPhone. They have numerous reasons. Maybe they’re locked into T-Mobile, and they can’t switch to AT&T. Maybe they’ve convinced themselves that they can’t live without a hardware keyboard. Maybe they’re open source patriots who feel like Apple exercises too much control over what you can and can’t do on the iPhone. Heck, most iPhone owners (myself included) probably have those feelings in some measure. But for the die hards, these reasons have been enough to prevent them from just giving in and getting an iPhone. In the 14 months that the iPhone has been available in the U.S., Apple has whittled the resolve of this group down as much as it probably can. The ones that are left, iPhoneless, are probably NEVER going to be convinced.

For those people, today is an important day. Today, the T-Mobile G1 (aka the HTC Dream, aka the gPhone), which runs Google’s open source Android operating system, was officially announced. And choruses of heavenly angels were heard. πŸ™‚

Photo courtesy Flickr user bpedro, Creative Commons

I’m an avowed Apple fan and iPhone lover, but Android-based phones are fascinating to me. I’ve been perusing the breathless online accounts of “hands on” experiences, shakycam video, and armchair analysis (e.g., this post) that the G1 has generated since it’s launch event in New York this morning. Here’s what I think so far.

The G1 is a GREAT device. It can do amazing things. It’s got wifi, GPS, and works on a (supposedly-fast-but-so-new-that-no-one-really-knows-yet) 3G network. It’s only $179 with two year contract ($20 less than the iPhone – take THAT, Apple!). You can get Google Maps with Street View. You can browse and buy from 6 million DRM-free MP3s at Amazon, right on the phone. There’s an apps “marketplace” where you can download programs to make your phone into a flashlight, or a Tamagotchi, or whatever. It’s got a nice 3 megapixel camera. It integrates with Gmail and Google Calendar. It’s got a real, honest-to-Sergey physical keyboard that hides under the slide-out screen. Check out these two hands on videos from Engadget for all the dirty details.

It has some quirks. For example, HTC, the company that makes the hardware for most of the smartphones in the world (like the Palm Treos, and most Windows Mobile devices), has, in their infinite wisdom, decided that the G1 shouldn’t have a standard 3.5mm stereo headphone jack. Instead, it gets a single mini USB jack, for syncing, charging, power, and audio, and uses HTC’s proprietary “ExtUSB” dongle. The G1 ships with some (probably cheap, almost certainly uncomfortable and tinny sounding) earbuds that can use this proprietary connection. But if you want to use your own earbuds or headphones, you’ll have to get an ExtUSB dongle, sold separately, and rumored not to be available until some time after the October 22 on-sale date of the phone. To quote Engadget, “Why, HTC!? Why?!” So much for replacing your iPod with the G1. And what’s up with the vast bezel of blank plastic that surrounds the screen? And the bananaphone curvature that the bottom part has, when viewed from the side? I have my doubts about how usable the off center keyboard will be, when flipped open in landscape mode. Oh, and if you’re a corporate Exchange email/calendar user? You’re out of luck, at least until someone writes a decent Exchange ActiveSync app.

No word on how expensive T-Mobile’s 3G data plans will be (though they’d be insane to make them more than the $30/month that AT&T extracts from iPhone users – especially since their Terms of Service set a soft limit of 1GB data transfer per month – something you could EASILY blow through on a device like this). And while T-Mobile will happily sell you an unsubsidized (no contract) G1 for $399, you don’t get to SIM unlock it and take it to another network until you’ve been a T-Mobile customer in good standing for 90 days. And forget about tethering to use it as a 3G modem for your laptop.

But, quirks aside, I’m certain that the G1 will be a popular phone. For the holdouts who somehow don’t have an iPhone, this is the phone to get. It absolutely kills any Windows Mobile phone I’ve seen or used. And unless you’re locked in to BlackBerry via your company or something, I’d say that the gPhone is better than a BlackBerry, too.

So, if you want to or can be an iPhone person? You probably already are. For everyone else, your new phone has arrived. πŸ™‚

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Josh’s Lifelog for 2008-09-22

  • Rockin the new MC Frontalot album, Final Boss, and trying to get my work email working (my VPN got hosed/disabled). #
  • Uh oh. I think I just broke Ma.gnolia tag feeds. Oops – sorry! πŸ™ http://ma.gnolia.com/rss/full/tags/intel #
  • Whoa. Loud extended jet-like noise overhead. Lasted way longer than a plane flying over, then cut off suddenly. Rumbly. What was it? #
  • @jschultz Oh, so that’s what it was. They have those nose strips for that, you know. πŸ˜‰ #
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Josh’s Lifelog for 2008-09-19

  • Busy day. W’ed FH this morning, got a haircut an had an awesome reuben for lunch at Rose’s Deli, now to crank on a few things until weekend. #
  • Doing evil, unspeakable things to this little Compal MID. Like trying to install Windows on it. πŸ˜‰ #
  • @chippy It came with a Red Flag/Midinux distro (I think) from Compal. I’m trying to get Moblin running. #
  • Whoa. I think Windows XP is actually going to install on this MID. The question will be: what devices will have Windows drivers? #
  • @jmoriarty Sweet! Didn’t know you were getting a Dell Mini. Lemme know what you think of it compared to the Eee PC 901. And have fun! πŸ™‚ #
  • Got Windows XP installed and booting just fine on the Compal MID. Now, to hunt for drivers! πŸ™‚ #
  • @treowth @blogan Wait, what video is this that I’m reportedly in? #
  • @tersteeg just told me that Apple is recalling all iPhone 3G power adapters, because the prongs can break off in the outlet. Yikes. πŸ™ #
  • @jmoriarty Yes, I’m documenting everything. Will have a few posts on both netbook and MID adventures up soon. #
  • @blogan Yeah, but what IS it? πŸ˜‰ #
  • @kellyrfeller I think Microsoft, Sun, Adobe, and IBM are also good examples of some online Social Media activities and principles. #
  • Just ordered my replacement/recalled iPhone 3G power adapter. Have you? Wouldn’t want you to die, or burn your house down, or anything… #
  • Link to Apple page to order replacement iPhone 3G power adapter: http://tinyurl.com/3m7sf6 #
  • When talking about computers, there has to be a better word/term for “not a server” than “client”. That’s so archaic! What should it be? #
  • I know this MID is a Development Platform, for Engineering Use Only, but MAN is it frustrating trying to get a semi-working OS installed P-( #
  • @chippy Yeah, I need to connect with the Intel people doing the bits for Moblin. It’s all open source, though, so I’ve been trying stuff. #
  • Enough nerdery. Time for date night and weekend family time! πŸ™‚ #
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Josh’s Lifelog for 2008-09-18

  • Trying not to be surly about the all day no laptop touchy feely paradigm shifting mandatory career development class I have to go to today. #
  • I think part of what bugs me about the “close your laptop” mentality is that it assumes I’m too dumb to pay attention to multiple inputs. #
  • Whew. Laptops are allowed for notetaking, there is connectivity. They just said “no email”. Didn’t say anything about Twitter. πŸ˜‰ #
  • @jackbaty If you (or anyone) wants more than 50% of my attention, then EARN it. Be interesting. You can’t tax my attention by decree. πŸ™‚ #
  • @KarenPearson Oh, @billpearson has mad Twitter skills. He’s just modest about them. πŸ™‚ #
  • I swear I just heard a computer in this class do the Twhirl chime. A) it wasn’t me, and B) there’s a Twitter user in here I don’t know! #
  • @jmoriarty My dominant orientations are Challenge and Freedom, my least preferred was Advancement. Balance and Security were in the middle. #
  • @jmoriarty I bet you’re right. I’m increasingly impressed with how well our team is put together, and how we use each other’s strengths. πŸ™‚ #
  • I’m enjoying this career development class more than I thought I would. Buzzword factor isn’t too high, so far. #
  • I’ve been vocal about how much I love my job, and how it fits my strengths. Now people are asking if @billpearson is hiring. πŸ˜‰ #
  • @treowth Heh. Last batch of tweets was during a break. Now THIS tweet… This one qualifies me as a naughty sneaky tweeter. πŸ˜‰ #
  • @billpearson @jmoriarty Let me know how well Scott’s staff takes to Twitter, and their handles so I can follow. Wish I could be there! πŸ™‚ #
  • I keep relating all of these career concepts/examples to characters from “The Office”. What are Dwight Schrute’s strengths/weaknesses? πŸ˜‰ #
  • Welcome two new Intel Software folks to Twitter: @RussBeutler and @marymac1. Be gentle, show them around, tell them where the pool is, etc. #
  • @ashokraj I know of a few IT people on Twitter, for what it’s worth. πŸ™‚ #
  • Fun to be back in the old neighborhood (JF3) for this training. Makes me appreciate JF1. Much more colorful, at least. πŸ™‚ #
  • I can’t figure out why on earth the JF3 cafeteria replaced the fountain Mountain Dew with Diet Mountain Dew. How cruel! :-O #
  • @Skawtnyc They are correct. But I still want my Mountain Dew. Have you TASTED that Diet stuff? πŸ˜› #
  • To be clear, there’s still regular Mt. Dew in JF1, where I sit, but the big cafeteria in JF3 replaced it with Diet. My boycott continues πŸ˜‰ #
  • More Intel Software people jumping on Twitter: @sapeland is my boss’s boss. Scary? Cool? I say cool. Welcome, Scott! πŸ™‚ #
  • Just as a reminder, you can check who @intelsoftware is following to find people in our group. Same for @pulseofintel for Intel folks. #
  • @jmoriarty For sharing slides, I recommend publishing them in Google Docs or SlideShare.net, then linking to them from a blog post, etc. #
  • @jmoriarty Both GDocs and SlideShare have widgets for embedding slides in posts. Posting there enchances discoverability beyond your post. #
  • Uh oh. Midafternoon sleepy time. At least we’re already past the touchy feely role playing/1 on 1 coaching part of the career class. πŸ™‚ #
  • This class was actually really good. I was skeptical going in. Not too many buzzwords. I was ready to argue over “novation” used as a noun. #
  • Whoa. Sergey Brin started a blog: http://too.blogspot.com. Any other executive, and I’d be making fun for using Blogger/Blogspot. πŸ˜‰ #
  • I like the new Twitter.com redesign. Quite nice. Though I wish they’d make my name a clickable link to my profile, instead of just my pic. #
  • @blogan my name is not a link to my profile on http://twitter.com/home. Is yours? #
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Josh’s Lifelog for 2008-09-17

  • About to film Mark Van Name, scifi author and CEO of Principled Technologies with @amybarton. Should be fun! πŸ™‚ #
  • Besides the Intel stuff, I’m going to sneak in a question about what Van Name thinks of the Kindle as a book technology. πŸ™‚ #
  • Squee! Just got an awesome toy to play with: Compal MID (same as the Gigabyte or Aigo device). Sweet! Also, beat @billpearson to the tweet! #
  • Pic of the Compal MID: http://twitpic.com/bz5p #
  • @memathews Bigger than iPhone, but still quite small. Here’s another pic for scale: http://twitpic.com/bz89 #
  • @sumwan Testing what the browser can do now. I think it’s a Firefox derivative. It can play Flash, though! πŸ™‚ #
  • Great podcasts I’ve discovered recently: http://themoth.org and http://npr.org/money (both via This American Life podcast, coincidentally). #
  • Wow. It only took me about half an hour to hose up this Compal MID and its Midinux OS. Oops! πŸ™‚ Off to Moblin.org to build an image! πŸ™‚ #
  • Aaaand I need a Linux system to build a Moblin image for the MID. So here comes a new Ubuntu VM in Parallels! #
  • @SuperSpiker Whoa! (re: my face on the strands.com home page) πŸ™‚ #
  • Crazy day, and I’m getting my Career Developed all day tomorrow (required class). I’m told they block RF and require closed laptops. Urk πŸ™ #
  • Dear LazyTwitter: Ubuntu 8.04, I need to turn of “use HTTP proxy”. Turned it off in the Network Proxy app, but apt-get still tries proxy… #
  • I told Ubuntu to use a proxy during install, and I think that setting is persisting. Where is that stored, and how do I clear it? #
  • Ah, figured it out. Had to clear the http_proxy environment variable. “export http+proxy=” did the trick. Thanks for the answers! πŸ™‚ #
  • Oops. Make that “export http_proxy=”. #
  • @KarenPearson Nah, @billpearson is the best boss I’ve ever had. He understands my love of toys! And he DID beat me in that tweet race. πŸ˜‰ #
  • Crap. I didn’t make my Ubuntu VM VHDD big enough (4GB), and Moblin Image Creator ran out of room. Starting over… πŸ™ #
  • GMail spam filters have gone out for tapas and margaritas tonight or something, because I’ve gotten 5 or 6 spams en EspaΓ±ol in the last hour #
  • @ahockley Donde estΓ₯ tu hall pass? #
  • OMG the newest Seinfeld/Gates commercial (the giraffe/robot one) is SO STUPID. MS has totally lost the plot. “Power Down”, indeed… #
  • @mtrichardson LOL πŸ˜‰ I’m glad they’re pulling the plug on the ads tomorrow (sez Valleywag and Frank Shaw). #
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Josh’s Lifelog for 2008-09-16

  • A headhunter tells me that the Microsoft Surface team is hiring. I’m not interested. Are you? #
  • @briancrouch Sure. my email is jabancroft@gmail.com. Anyone else who wants that MS Surface headhunter email, let me know! πŸ™‚ #
  • Dear LazyTwitter (on behalf of @flatchicken): Any way to recover a file when Keynote crashes? Does Mac OS X autosave/undelete files? #
  • @briancrouch You’re welcome. Just remember who hooked you up if you get to play with Surface for a living! πŸ˜‰ #
  • OK, I am REALLY getting irritated by this “Intel blocking TinyURL” thing. It’s so silly! :-/ #
  • @jmoriarty I used the info in this article to get XP installed on the Eee PC 901: http://is.gd/2Ijw #
  • @Alsymer Yeah, it’s silly. TinyURL isn’t any more or less dangerous than any other URL on the web. And there’s a million similar services. #
  • @Alsymer Blocking URL shorteners is false security. It doesn’t protect against the real threat. It’s Movie Plot security. #
  • The trade off for blocking TinyURL is that legitimate use is also stopped, while the real threat remains unimpeded. It’s silly. #
  • Better security would be an effort to teach people not to click on links from sources they don’t trust, no matter what it looks like. #
  • It’s like blocking links in email because a phisher could trick you into clicking. The right answer is NOT “strip all links from email”. #
  • If you look at the trade off for that kind of blocking, you’ll see why it’s wrong. Legitimate use is blocked, and the threat is still there. #
  • @unclenate Who knows why they’re doing it? They don’t proactively tell us anything, let alone. why. I’ve raised the issue internally. #
  • I’ll give them a chance to explain. Maybe there’s a threat via TinyURL I’m not aware of. But on its face, this whole thing seems silly. #
  • @unclenate Yes, a blind redirect could be bad. But there are a million ways for an attacker to do a blind redirect. Blocking 1 won’t help. #
  • @eriksr Yes, I can use an alternate shortener. But I CAN’T follow all the TinyURLs that my Twitter followees send. At least, not from Intel. #
  • @samgrover Yeah, the blocking seems intermittent. I’ve heard of it from others for a while. First time I’ve experienced it. Now I’m mad! πŸ˜‰ #
  • Can’t wait to see what kind of trouble I get in for ranting about this TinyURL thing. I’m all ready to channel Bruce Schneier. πŸ™‚ #
  • @ashokraj The TinyURL blocking seems to be intermittent. Not sure what the common factor is. Search Intelpedia for more info. #
  • @maksbestfriend I’ve done exactly that – opened a ticket, which is being escalated, to find out why it’s blocked, and ask them to reconsider #
  • Intel Blocking TinyURL update: It appears that it was a mistaken proxy configuration, not intentional. I apologize for my ranting earlier. #
  • I admit that I jumped to conclusions regarding IT’s intentions blocking TinyURL, and I applaud them for being honest. We all make mistakes. #
  • @chrispitzer You should definitely get a Mac, but wait until the new MacBooks get announced next month. Never buy before an Apple event! πŸ˜‰ #
  • I wish I could go see Neal Stephenson at the Bagdad tonight. Tickets still available online. I just started reading Anathem, finally. #
  • @blath The TinyURL blocking was a mistake, and has been undone. And Intel DOES have an internal shortening service for intranet sites. πŸ™‚ #
  • Favorite quote from Gnomedex that keeps ringing around in my head: “Asking someone if they blog is like asking them if they paper.” #
  • I’ve had a terrible time with Google sites going away intermittently today. Google problem? Intel proxy problem? Solar storm? The economy? #
  • @victore Blog can be a verb, but so can paper. My point is that it’s just a medium, that can be used for whatever end you desire. #
  • @caseorganic The @powells Twitter acct said earlier today that Stephenson tix are still available at TicketMaster. YMMV. Good luck! πŸ™‚ #
  • OK, Google is coming apart at the seams today. Reader, Calendar, and Gmail have been extremely unreliable for me. Not down, but not working. #
  • @davidhoenig I think you’re right. I know they’re tinkering with the proxy settings today (re: TinyURL). Hope it settles down soon. πŸ™ #
  • Just adjusted my W4 tax withholdings. I feel like an idiot for letting the gov’t take so much of my money for so long. πŸ™ #
  • I mean yeah, I always get a fat refund, but I’d rather keep the money. No more interest free loans for Uncle Sam! #
  • @Yasumoto When is the Linux Plumbers Conference? It’s not on my radar, but it sounds cool. Send info? #
  • @codearachnid @jmoriarty I’m happy to talk about Ignite. The idea is spreading like wildfire (ha!). πŸ™‚ I know of 6 or so born at Gnomedex. #
  • @jenvteal No, YouTube “No Longer Available” messages means the videos were pulled down, usually because someone complained about them. #
  • @turoczy TinyScreenfuls.com is proud to run on WordPress. Also, the Intel Software Network blog: http://softwareblogs.intel.com #
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Josh’s Lifelog for 2008-09-15

  • There’s something in the TXT and PDF versions of Cory Doctorow’s “Content” that’s causing my Kindle to barf and stop opening books. Mobi=OK. #
  • The irony was rich when I was reading his first essay, on the Evils of DRM, and my Kindle started spewing “content errors”. πŸ™‚ #
  • That Content/Kindle bug was scary. Once triggered, opening ANY book causes “unknown error”. Full reboot fixes until I read “Content” again. #
  • More evidence they’re moving us back to the old cubes one step at a time: a bunch of new intercube partitions/walls we didn’t ask for. πŸ™ #
  • You know what I hate? Free floating anxiety. #
  • @michaelsigler I have a bunch of pics of the new Intel JF1 offices (with old for comparo) in this set on Flickr: http://tinyurl.com/25n6cn #
  • On the bright side, I’m told that all these new walls that were installed over the weekend were a mistake, and will be removed. #
  • @ahockley While I agree with you, it’s not the most random, weird thing I’ve ever seen done here. πŸ˜‰ #
  • @jsmorris Heh, no. The live music was for the open house only. As were the cookies. πŸ™‚ #
  • Yammer just ensured I will never use it: they stole the Bloglines Plumber as their “fail whale” image: http://tinyurl.com/5zn6ch Boo theft! #
  • Hey, cool! Ignite Corvallis is going to happen the afternoon of Ignite Portland 4 (Nov. 13): http://tinyurl.com/57rsxe The more the merrier! #
  • Hey, look! Google released Gears for Safari! Yay for offline access to Docs, RTM, and more! #
  • Oops, here’s that Gears for Safari link: http://tinyurl.com/6buz6a #
  • @TiEsQue Yeah, but I wonder how many people would go to both Ignite Portland AND Ignite Corvallis? Upon more though, same date is yucky. πŸ™ #
  • All the cool kids are installing Mac OS X 10.5.5. Guess I should go along. Wonder if it will fix my proxy iTunes crash? #
  • Oh, joy of joys! Mac OS X 10.5.5 fixed my autoproxy woes! iTunes doesn’t crash under autoproxy anymore! MarsEdit still acting weird, though. #
  • Nuking and reinstalling MarsEdit to see if I can make it behave itself. I’m so happy that 10.5.5 fixed that issue! Yay! πŸ™‚ #
  • Hmm. My volume seems a little lower on my MacBook Pro after 10.5.5. Anyone else? #
  • Nuke and reinstall of MarsEdit worked! Now all of my little Intel proxy/Leopard network nagging crashes and issues are GONE. Woo hoo! πŸ™‚ #
  • Oh, you witty fish-themed Google Talk spammers. Dishevelledcoho, I don’t want whatever it is you’re selling! #
  • @scottjedwards Google Reader. Awesome sharing and mgmt capability. iPhone version is PERFECT. Bloglines is good, but GReader is better. πŸ™‚ #
  • @samgrover interesting idea: what if Apple rejected Podcaster because they’re adding the same OTA podcast d/l ability to iPhones? #
  • Took a bunch of screenshots of Ubuntu Eee on the 901 for my writeup, now putting Windows XP back on it. What other OSes should I try? #
  • @eriksr I’ve toyed with the idea of a Hackintosh 90, but I’m not sure it’s worth it. And there’s no way I could write about it for Intel πŸ˜‰ #
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Josh’s Lifelog for 2008-09-14

  • In the car, waiting for @rachelbancroft. Playing with Shazam, my iPhone, and the radio. What an amazing piece of software! #
  • Heh. 94.7 is playing mashups/mixes, and that’s throwing Shazam off. First time I’ve seen it trip up. #
  • @internetcafe I’ve found Shazam to work better than Midomi. M never gets “listened” songs right, S does. But I like that M can say and sing. #
  • @Scobleizer Dude. Did you really just say “cool” and “popup” in the same sentence? People HATE that crap. #
  • @twitterrific Mobile Twitterrific feature request: shake to refresh tweets. #
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