The T-Mobile G1 Phone

The T-Mobile G1 Phone goes by a few names. HTC Dream and Google Android Development phone are two more. Essentially they are the same hardware and the only change is the software. The Android Development phone unlike the others comes with an unlocked bootloader allowing you to flash any software image you want where the other two will only allow software signed by either HTC or T-Mobile.

I bought mine two weeks ago and it has completely replaced my Windows Mobile phone to the point where I actually gave it away. The main issues that I have with Windows Mobile was the instability and the difficult to use interface. This new phone was a breath of fresh air. Amazingly when I was testing it out with the seller it received a weeks worth of SMSes indicating that my Windows Mobile phone had stopped accepting them.

I opted for the T-Mobile option. Mainly because I found one cheap on eBay but also because I knew of an exploit to easily get root, flash a new bootloader and install whatever OS I wanted. I knew with almost absolute certainty that I would want to be able to play with root access to the OS. I could have went with the HTC Hero or Magic (the successors to the G1) but I liked the idea of the flip out keyboard way too much.

The G1 is easy to use without a stylus, in fact it won’t work with a stylus as is uses a capacitive touch screen. This means all the applications, the keyboard and the core OS are designed with that in mind. While I could use my old phone with my thumbs many of the controls were impossible to use without perfect precision. Generally all the controls on the Andriod are larger and easier to manipulate, where the Windows Mobile controls are clunky and small.

The Android marketplace is also something that Windows Mobile could certainly have done with. It is an almost perfect image of the iPhone App Store, except that in the culture of open source most of the applications are free. The applications are easier to search for, review and download making the Android Marketplace a much easier to use and more polished tool.

One thing this phone and my last one have in common was the hacker community around them. Both have multiple ROMs available and its relatively easy to flash a new one. I’m currently running the latest stable CyanogenMod (4.0.4) which was extremely easy to flash courtesy of the latest kernel vulnerability and some specially designed tools.

Random Thought: I thought Androids could make breakfast for me.