Google, which has become a powerhouse in the search category, has developed a new cell phone operating system called Android, and T-Mobile’s G1 cell phone is the first piece of hardware that uses this new operating system. With both touch screen and built-in keyboard, the G1 is set to take on the Blackberry as well as the iPhone.

Geeks everywhere love the G1 because the Android operating system is based on open-source code rather than proprietary operating systems like Microsoft’s Windows Mobile or Apple’s iPhone. That means that anybody can make changes to the operating system without consulting or paying Google. Also, for the most part, anyone can write applications that run on the G-1. So we set out to find out if this is just a cell phone for techies to love, or if it a serious competitor in the smart phone segment of the market.

As shown in Figure 1, the G1 comes in a box labeled “T-Mobile’s G1 with Google.” The back of the phone, shown in Figure 2, is also labeled “with Google.” The side of the phone, shown later in Figure 7, carries the HTC logo. Although some call this the “Google” phone, these labels clarify that the phone is actually the T-Mobile G1 phone that runs the Google operating system. The hardware was designed and created by HTC, a company known for its quality cell phones. (Figure 2 also shows the microphone holes and the camera).

T-Mobile G1 Smartphone ReviewFigure 1: The G1 box.

T-Mobile G1 Smartphone ReviewFigure 2: The back of the G1.

The G1 comes with a miniUSB charger AC charger, a USB to miniUSB cable for charging from a USB port, a getting started guide, a small Tips & tricks booklet, a small black case, and a stereo headset with a miniUSB end, as shown in Figure 3. The phone also comes with a 1GB microSD card which is not pictured. The headset has a miniUSB end because the G1 has no headset jack. The ear buds on the included headset are the round hard-type commonly included with iPods. They are, however, covered with a thin fabric to add a little comfort. We, however, still found them uncomfortable. Unfortunately, to use your own ear buds, you will need to purchase a special adapter.

T-Mobile G1 Smartphone ReviewFigure 3: What’s in the box.


Sandy Berger, respected computer authority, journalist, media guest, speaker, and author, has more than three decades of experience as a computer and technology expert. Her eight books include: How to Have a Meaningful Relationship with Your Computer, Your Official Grown-up's Guide to AOL and the Internet, Cyber Savers –Tips & Tricks for Today’s Drowning Computer Users, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Better Living through Technology, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to the Internet, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Gadgets & Gizmos, Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Online Health & Wellness, and Sandy Berger’s Great Age Guide to Online Travel. Sandy’s newspaper column, magazine articles, feature stories, product reviews, and computer tips can be found at her website, Compu-KISS.