visiting Vienna’s WerkzeugH yesterday evening, one might easily have had the impression Vienna’s blogging geeks collectively got something mixed up in their calendars about christmas this year. impatient looks, nervously shuffling feet – and then finally – hastily unboxing, clumsy attempts of inserting batteries & SIMs, followed by the happy smiles only gadget-lovers can sport … (drama added for your reading pleasure)
how come? prior to launching the first Google Android-powered smartphone G1 (aka Google Phone, although it isn’t marketed under this brand, which is quite a bummer, imho) in the german-speaking markets of europe, T-Mobile Austria is running a buzz-marketing campaign among a group of 9 austrian tech-bloggers, yours truly luckily being part of . the deal: several weeks of regular coverage on all aspects of the device, which we are free to keep, should we choose to. other than that, neither money nor any control of our content is involved.
btw, kudos to the nice folk of T-Mobile Austria and Ambuzzador (who are conducting the campaign), for having the guts to pull this of. each and every one of us easily qualifies as a mobile power-user, that kind of geek who easily maxes out even the most cutting edge gadget. moreover, most of us are currently using the iPhone as our primary smartphone, which inevitably will produce comparisons with the G1, most probably not always in favor of the latter (since T-Mobile is distributing the iPhone as well, I guess they won’t have sleepless nights because of that ).
regarding first impressions of the G1 itself I’ve mixed feelings. after turning on the device for the first time I was greeted by a colorful firmware error-screen, only after taking a deep breath and re-inserting SIM & battery the G1 would boot up successfully. as expected, integration with Google cloud-services works like a breeze. after entering my Google credentials, the phone autmatically synched email-account, contacts & calendars – setup of a brand-new phone has never been easier (on the other hand there’s still room for improvement, f.e. syncing my YouTube account or my personalized Google Maps would be nice, but let’s not get too picky at this point). navigating the user-interface with the crisp & clear touch-screen works fine, albeit not as responsive/accurate as we’ve become used to on the iPhone (which also has the benefit of multi-touch control). being positioned as an internet-device, the G1 especially shines on E-Mail (at least for Google-Mail users, interestingly I haven’t found a way to access other mailboxes, except of course by piping them through Gmail, but I might miss something). push-email gives a CrBlackBerry-kindof-feeling (if that’s really what you want), same with the full-QUERTZ-keyboard which is pure pleasure after 1.5 years of fumbling with the iPhone’s soft-keyboard (although: the upper two rows of keys are backlit way to weak to read in semi-dark environments, might be a problem of my particular unit though). other highlights include copy&paste and the Android Market which holds apps that have the ability to run in the background – something Apple prevents on its platform. the only serious backlash so far: battery-life. or lack thereof. I don’t know if it’s the push-email, the turned on WiFi or some apps running in the background, but so far I have a feeling that batterylife of the G1 is noticably worse than the iPhone 3G’s. of course, experience has shown that once the novelty of a new gadget wears off, batterylife tends to go up …
more on that is coming once I’ve made my self accustomed to the G1. there’s enough to explore with this device to keep me busy for some time, that’s for sure
yet to be launched meta-blog Mobileblogger.at will be syndicating our posts, in addition we’ve agreed to tag all related content (flickr, del.icio.is, twitter etc.) ‘g1at’, resp. ‘#g1at’ – if you’re interested in our efforts, you might as well subscribe to the Yahoo!-pipe integrated on the sidebar of this post (“Get this”). I hope this turns out an entertaining and insightful experiment for both vendor, bloggers and readers, feedback is of course welcome – have fun!