Friday, October 24, 2008

Review: A few days with the T-Mobile G1, the first Google Android phone - Boing Boing Gadgets:

So why don't I love the G1?

It's ugly, for one. Call me shallow if you must, but I'd call myself human: we respond to physical elegance in people and in objects and the G1 is a lumpen, crooked, creaking slab. (That creaking comes from hinges on the flip-up screen that reveals the keyboard, which makes an altogether more appealingly solid clack.) And the ugliness extends into the operating system itself, which at a minimum needs to update its icon set. Colorful, rounded icons have never been Google's most attractive corporate hallmark, but at least on the web they indicated a down-to-businessness that had a certain charm. On the phone, however, they just look chintzy.

Its keyboard is adequate. But the inclusion of a secondary system of navigation — not the keyboard, but the scroll ball and the four buttons surrounding it — make for a schizophrenic user experience. Should I use the touchscreen here? you'll sometimes wonder when the scroll ball doesn't seem to work. Then you'll touch the screen and find it somehow enables the scroll ball to work again.

Worse, going back a step in menus and applications is almost always handled by the physical Back button next to the scroll ball, which means often you have to take your hand away from the touchscreen to hit a physical button before returning your finger back to the screen.

12:58 AM