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03:31 PM
Marin Perez
Marin Perez

Early G1 Reviews Leak Out

With the G1 set to be released next week, a flood of early reviews have come out. What's the overall verdict? It appears that the handset is not quite ready for prime time, but the Android software shows a ton of promise.

With the G1 set to be released next week, a flood of early reviews have come out. What's the overall verdict? It appears that the handset is not quite ready for prime time, but the Android software shows a ton of promise.On the hardware side, CNET said the design definitely wasn't sexy, but "interesting" and "weird." As for the keys, Om Malik said it has a "simple, easy and comfortable keyboard designed with real people in mind. The keys are small buy well spaced and comfortable to type with thumbs."

The touch screen is capacitive like the iPhone's, and it seems to be bright, crisp, and responsive. Gizmodo did say "there are cases when screen presses don't register properly -- they're not too often, but often enough to be noticeable."

Many didn't like the lack of a standard headphone jack (and HTC apparently doesn't provide an adapter!), and the trackball generally got good reviews. Many were annoyed that there wasn't a virtual QWERTY keyboard, and that all text input needed to be done with the keyboard.

But the G1 is being highly anticipated for the software, and it appears that Android is a really solid operating system. Phone News was particularly enamored with it:

Near the start of the review, I noted Android's home screen resembled a conventional desktop. It has become clear to me, that Android is Google's total operating system play. It could replace a desktop operating system tomorrow, and would overnight become the most popular version of Linux. Of course, Google wouldn't be content with that … but it is nice to know that Google has their desktop platform, and it's maturing on today's cell phones.

Multitasking appears to be handled with no problem, and there have been rave reviews for the integration of Gmail, IM, and most of Google's apps. Browsing seems to be good, but not quite up to the iPhone's standard. There appear to be some consistency issues, according to Engadget:

To delete a contact, you long-press their entry. The selection highlight will fade from orange to white, and after a moment, a contextual pop-up menu will appear, where you can choose "Delete contact." Okay, that's all well and good -- but try using the same paradigm in the alarm clock. No dice, right? Doesn't matter how long you hold your thumb on that alarm, sport, it's not going to give you a pop-up menu. Here, you inexplicably have to short-press the alarm, which takes you to another screen; once you're here, you push the Menu button and choose "Delete alarm." It's not hard, it's just needlessly different.

The Android Market is also a bit bare at the moment, but that's completely understandable. The developer community is going to be crucial for Android, as the general consensus is that this will be used to fill some of the holes that the OS has.

Overall, it appears that this is a good start for the Android platform. As for the G1, the Boy Genius summed it up like this: "It's not a BlackBerry, it's not a Sidekick. You could think of it as the adult Sidekick though, and that, my friends, is what people have been waiting for, for a very long time."

I guess my review unit got lost in the mail (sigh), but I should get my hands on one soon and will give you my take as soon as possible. In the meanwhile, check out reviews from Phonescoop, Uncle Walt, and MobileCrunch.

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