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Is Anyone Buying T-Mobile's Googlephone? 454

Posted by timothy
from the maybe-one-day dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Laura Holson writes in the NY Times that she 'wandered down to the T-Mobile store at Ninth Ave. and 43rd St. in New York City to see what kind of crowds — if any — were lining up to buy the new T-Mobile G1 which went on sale Wednesday' and saw no lines out the door, no crowding at the counter, and a complete lack of crowds. The iPhone appears to still be the gold standard and Etan Horowitz writes that the G1 'doesn't do a great job showcasing its potential. It isn't as intuitive as the iPhone, and it may take average users a while to figure out basic and advanced shortcuts and features' and 'may appeal more to techies who value open-source products and don't mind a somewhat steep learning curve.' Part of the reason for slow interest may also be that T-Mobile's 3G high-speed data network won't be up and running in many cities until the end of the year."
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Is Anyone Buying T-Mobile's Googlephone?

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  • by hansamurai (907719) <hansamurai@gmail.com> on Thursday October 23, 2008 @03:40PM (#25486481) Homepage Journal

    Probably because T-Mobile and Google don't have the Apple hype-machine/blogosphere/rumor sites going insane over unreleased products?

    • by Zader (814402) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @03:43PM (#25486539)

      Probably because T-Mobile and Google don't have the Apple hype-machine/blogosphere/rumor sites going insane over unreleased products?

      Yup, because google doesn't know anything about advertising ...

    • by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @03:53PM (#25486791)

      Probably because T-Mobile and Google don't have the Apple hype-machine/blogosphere/rumor sites going insane over unreleased products?

      Without a doubt. However, it's not like these phones have reviewed exceptionally well.

      • by poetmatt (793785)

        Actually, it seems like it has a lot of potential. It actually does review pretty well, as well.

        However, I don't think google intends to pay people to make false hype.

        • But they SHOULD. (Score:3, Insightful)

          by StarKruzr (74642)

          Because false hype makes the product better.

          It did with the iPhone. False hype led to the jailbreaking effort and eventually got Apple to do something they originally didn't want to do: "Mere mortals" developing native ABI applications for the iPhone. It turned the iPhone into a developer platform instead of a toy.

      • by ciaohound (118419) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @04:13PM (#25487161)

        I thought Walt Mossberg [allthingsd.com] was pretty positive about it, and the gyst was that this really is a handheld computer. I have neither a G1 nor an iPhone, but I'm watching them closely. I'm a math teacher, and I would love to have a handheld Wifi-equipped computer to just slide under an overhead projector and demo stuff to my students. (Yeah, as if they don't all already have iPhones! Actually, only a few do.) The G1 lacks enough storage for me, but the data plan is more attractive. The iPhone has the storage but the data plan is a potential nightmare. Maybe an iPod Touch... Anyway, I'd expect the G1 and iPhone to converge in terms of features and data plans over the next few releases.

        At any rate, I love seeing real competition in this space, AND neither is Microsoft. I expect the success of the iPhone and G1 to show my students and colleagues that there are alternatives to Windows.

        • by sfbanutt (116292)

          Storage shouldn't be a problem. It has a microSD slot and you can pick up a 16Gb card for about $20 US if you shop around a bit. Just because it comes with a 1Gb card doesn't mean you're limited to that size...

        • by amram9999 (829761) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @05:24PM (#25488785)

          The G1 lacks enough storage for me, but the data plan is more attractive. The iPhone has the storage but the data plan is a potential nightmare.

          Actually I prefer that the G1 has less storage and a microSD slot. MicroSD cards are very inexpensive so it's easy to increase the storage capacity of the device. When flash capacities have doubled (as they have been every year), it's easy to buy a new microSD card for $30, but it's impossible to increase the storage on your iPhone. This only works if your hardware and firmware support the larger microSD sizes, but the G1 supports SDHC cards and firmware updates so it's fairly future proof.

    • by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman.gmail@com> on Thursday October 23, 2008 @03:58PM (#25486883) Homepage Journal

      A better name would probably help, too.

      Customer: "What do you have to compete against the sexiness of the iPhone?"
      T-Mobile: "We have just the thing... a GOO-Phone!"
      Customer: ...

    • by vivin (671928) <vivin.paliath @ g m a i l .com> on Thursday October 23, 2008 @04:03PM (#25486983) Homepage Journal

      Maybe it's also because instead of buying it from the store a lot of people bought it online?

      In fact take a look at this [androidcommunity.com], where G1's were sold out when T-Mobile let people order it online.

      I ordered one from T-Mobile, and a lot of my friends have as well. Granted, we're developers, but now that my other non-developer/non-geek friends and family have seen my phone, they want to get one as well.

      And honestly, I don't even know where this guy came up with the "steep learning curve" and the "basic and advanced features". People I gave the phone to play with didn't seem to have a hard time figuring out how to get around. It's not like you need to be a rocket scientist to figure stuff out. Yeah, it's geared to the developer community but that's only reflected in the openness of the OS and the SDK, and not the phone or the interface itself. It's not like you don't need to drop into the commandline to work this phone.

      I also think that instead of relying on hype and drooling at the mouth fanboys, Google is just relying on people buying the phone, using it, and talking to their friends and family about it.

      • by lazyforker (957705) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @04:47PM (#25487969)
        A buddy who works at T-Mobile (in corporate) confirmed that their first batch was already pre-sold before the release date. So you *could* line up to buy one but you'd be standing outside the store for a month. It seems that they actually underestimated demand; and exacerbated the problem by selling a big chunk to employees...

        My point is that Holson is missing a lot of background information.
      • by rickb928 (945187) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @07:10PM (#25490431) Homepage Journal

        Checking around here, most dealer stores had their initial orders pre-sold, and I could have bought one yesterday at 5pm. But, they warned me, they epxected to sell out today. Company stores were different.

        And just so you know, I think iPhone fanboyz and G-Phone freaks are different. I'll be buying a G-Phone, and I don't need to stand in line for three days, bring a solar-powered cappuchino machine, or have my picture taken for Gizmodo. There's a Starbucks next to the T-Mobile store, I have a day job and can't take the time off, don't need to be 'first', and hey, it is really just a FREEKIN PHONE, OK???

        whew.

        ps- I hope someone will make an SSH client for it. I could dig a real keyboard to compile a kernel while I'm in the car...

    • The N96 went on sale here at the beginning of the month, and I saw zilch on advertising. I bought one, because I already have an aging N90 and an excellent, way-cool, just plain fun, N800.

      The main interest for me is the better camera on the N96.

      But despite my credentials, that would position me as a Nokia fan-boy, I am really not that impressed with it ... yet ... maybe I need to fiddle with it a bit more.

      That I am not impressed with it, and that Nokia doesn't seem to be advertising it (at least in

    • "Google don't have the Apple hype-machine/blogosphere/rumor sites going insane over unreleased products?"
      Yea... Goggle doesn't have the Apple hype-machine/blogsphere/rumor sites....

      Google has the Google hype-machine/blogsphere/rumor sites....
      I think the problem has a lot more to do with T-Mobile than with the phone.
      T-Mobile is a very good carrier but they are not equal to AT&T or Verizon.
      Also the iPhone wasn't the first ipodish phone. AT&T made a deal with Apple and Motorola to produce an ph

    • by SuperBanana (662181) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @04:15PM (#25487195)

      Probably because T-Mobile and Google don't have the Apple hype-machine/blogosphere/rumor sites going insane over unreleased products?

      Er...or it could be that the G1 just isn't innovative or unique.

      Seriously, what's unique about it?

      • An exciting new technology for distributing certified applications for your mobile phone? WOW! That's new, I stand corre...Oh, here's Mr. iPhone and his friend the iTunes App Store.
      • Gmail on your phone? Every other smartphone does that, including my Jesusphone and a bazillion blackberries.
      • Google Ma...yes, there too.
      • Push/pull e-ma...yeah, everyone does that.
      • Yout...oops, the iPhone has that too!
      • A spiffy touch-sensitive-glass surface? No, it's a stylus interface. Hi, Palm called, said 2000 called and wants its smartphone back.
      • Open source operating system, WOO HOO! Oh wait, 2001 called and said Ericsson, Nokia, Motorola and Psion would like Symbian back.

      Apple slowly wedged their foot in the door with iTunes and Quicktime and has built upon each success. Meanwhile, Google has been the 500lb gorilla, but given away every product they offer (and made it work on every other cell phone) and there's no compelling reason to buy a Google phone.

    • by bigsexyjoe (581721) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @04:15PM (#25487205)
      The iPhone is Apple's one and only phone and it's on one provider. The G1 is the first phone with Google's Android operating system. In a few months there will probably better Android phones. If Google thinks it has a something really great here, they might as well let the hype build slowly. In fact, they probably want to rely on the phone companies to hype their phones.
  • I love it (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Lovedumplingx (245300) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @03:41PM (#25486487)

    I pre-ordered my G1 and I love it. It's a marriage of a Blackberry and the iPhone and while it's true that there are some differences and a few quirks at first...you get over them real quick. It really is pretty easy to use.

    I've started playing with the SDK too and they have it integrated nicely with Eclipse and it's really a very nice set up.

    I'm a big fan.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Cowmonaut (989226)
      My ex-girlfriend bought one yesterday and absolutely loves it. She's already got AIM and other IMs working on it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by lottameez (816335)
      I may get modded down to nothing, but it seems the Google phone is very much like Linux: attractive to techies but a harder sell to consumers.

      FWIW, I did a lot of android dev. earlier this year and really like the system - I just doubt the commercial appeal/necessity.
  • by Mr. Slippery (47854) <tms.infamous@net> on Thursday October 23, 2008 @03:42PM (#25486513) Homepage

    I don't care how good the phone is. T-Mobile's coverage is too sparse to make it attractive.

    • by Rinisari (521266) *

      I'm worried about this, too. Granted, I have WiFi available at every location I frequent (home, work, girlfriends', etc.) so I can use T-Mobile's T-Mobile@Home thing.

      However, out in the sticks, where my parents' live, there's almost no coverage on their map. I don't know if AT&T has 3G coverage out there, but I'm 90% sure that it has 3G coverage in Pittsburgh proper.

      Has anyone tried the G1 on AT&T yet?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by amRadioHed (463061)

        Does this Android phone support T-Mobile@Home? I suppose it should but haven't seen any confirmation of that.

  • Yeah well... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Most cell phone users don't know how to use their cameras, or calendar functions, or pair a device to their phones with bluetooth. How many iPhone users have I met who didn't know that their phones had Wifi, or thought that "Wifi" meant their cellular data plans?

    I'm not going to base my opinion of a new device on how many people who don't even know how to use their dumb phones get excited about it.

    • Re:Yeah well... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DurendalMac (736637) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @03:59PM (#25486899)
      I don't think the article is calling it crap. It's saying that the phone does not appeal to the average user, which is true. Techies have been drooling over it, but techies are a tiny sliver of the overall market. Most people just want something simple that does a few nifty things and is easy to use.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Dynedain (141758)

      That mistake is easy, try explaining to a non-technical person the differences of networking via Bluetooth, WiFi, Wireless/mobile.

      On the other hand, look how many iPhone users do utilize their calendars, web browsing, and email and compare that to other smartphones or "regular" phones that have all those features. Proof that UI matters more than technical capabilities and specifications.

  • by Idaho (12907) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @03:42PM (#25486521)

    Check out this story where Neil Gaiman tries to buy one [neilgaiman.com]. Indeed it literally doesn't seem to be selling. As in: you cannot obtain one even if you wanted to.

    • Holy hell, I kept imagining that T-Mobile flunkie speaking in an Idiocracy-type voice.
    • I just didn't understand what the problem was. He went into a store and they said "We're out of the range and the Google and things that the phone comes with, they won't work on it". Yet he said his T-mobile internet access works in that area? I think he was misinterpreting what she was saying. Either that or someone left their mentally challenged siblings in charge of the store while they went to lunch.

      I mean, was it a coverage problem? And if so, why didn't he experience this same problem with hi
    • by SuperBanana (662181) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @04:24PM (#25487389)

      Check out this story where Neil Gaiman tries to buy one [neilgaiman.com]. Indeed it literally doesn't seem to be selling. As in: you cannot obtain one even if you wanted to.

      He was turned away because the vendor was in an area where TMobile decided there wasn't strong enough coverage.

      Yes, he's able to fire up Gmail in the store, but that doesn't mean coverage is good enough for their metrics, or the G1 might have a worse antenna. Or maybe Google said "we don't want you to sell this phone where people won't be able to get adequate speed."

      Company decides where to market phone for best reception, film at 11.

  • My co-worker got one (Score:5, Informative)

    by MyDixieWrecked (548719) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @03:42PM (#25486525) Homepage Journal

    My co-worker and I shot out to the T-Mobile store on 6th ave and 46th street (or around there somehwere) in Manhattan yesterday and although the place wasn't crowded, every person in there was buying one (about 4).

    We got a unit at work to play with a couple months ago and I was pretty impressed with it even though it was a little buggy (touchscreen doesn't always register and sometimes registers in the wrong spots) and flimsy feeling. the problem is the hardware feels like a shitty toy. The screen is great, but the keypad and trackball don't feel nice and the sliding mechanism doesn't feel solid. Handling it, I feel like I'm gonna break it.

    The thing about the iPhone is that it's not only has a very shiny UI, but the hardware is made of metal and feels sturdy and reliable. It doesn't feel like a toy like the G1 does.

    I'm waiting for an android phone that's compatible with the AT&T network to be released before I make the switch. I haven't been fully satisfied with the iPhone (mostly, I don't like the calendaring application AT ALL), but it beats the AT&T Tilt and the blackjack2 in terms of usability, in my opinion.

    • by poetmatt (793785) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @04:12PM (#25487151) Journal

      In reality, every phone feels like a toy if you don't like it.

      It's 100% subjective, and reflects on nothing. Some people with big or small hands or fingers feel certain phones feel like a toy. Does that mean they do to the other 99% of the users of said device? No. Does that mean it "feels cheap?" no.

      Meanwhile, the apps on this thing alone motivate me to want to get it. I'm trying to sell off my E61i to get a G1.

      • by Fred Ferrigno (122319) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @08:33PM (#25491379)

        It's not 100% subjective. I've never handled a G1, but of course the build quality varies in some products. Cheap and thin plastic pieces will bend or give more than they should. Poor mechanical design may mean that moving parts don't move smoothly, don't lock in position, or move too much. High tolerances for sloppy manufacturing may mean the pieces fit together loosely, so they shift subtly as you use the device.

        All of that resembles normal wear on an older item. It's no surprise that people will say things like "it feels like it's about to fall apart" because it reminds them of other things that actually fell apart.

        Conversely, the iPhone is very tightly integrated. It has no real moving pieces and the connections are extremely snug. It does not feel like 20 different pieces of plastic and metal stuck together, it feels like one solid unit. That makes a difference.

  • We're building our own!

  • by jollyreaper (513215) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @03:44PM (#25486547)

    1. People don't even know if they'll have jobs next week, would they really be taking on an expensive new phone and plan?
    2. There's no absolute media saturation and frenzy over the G1. Apple is very adept at building their marketing campaigns into beasts like self-sustaining fusion reactions that produce more energy than they consume, like firestorms sucking all the oxygen out of the city. Media that doesn't even want to report on tech will end up reporting on the craze surrounding the tech.
    3. The G1, while building on the success of Google, isn't coming with quite the same mac/ipod buzz that the iPhone had going with it. Again, this goes back to 2, Apple is building upon the wave of successful hype of previous products.

    I hear that RIM is trying to improve upon their berries given all of this competition from Apple and Google. To that I say GREAT! The more competition the better. The last berry I used was a hell of a product but RIM has been floundering for a while now. I want to see them recapture the mojo instead of flaming out like Palm.

    Personally, I don't know which phone I'll end up getting. I'm no longer working in a capacity that requires a company phone so I'm not likely to have another berry unless I change jobs. The iPhone is incredibly seductive but the data plan sucks and I don't like it being closed-architecture. I don't yet know enough about the G1 to know whether it'll be a good fit but I like what I've seen so far.

    • 1. People don't even know if they'll have jobs next week, would they really be taking on an expensive new phone and plan?

      Small nitpick: The whole country's not going through. Things have slowed down but it's not like everything suddenly stopped.

    • 1. Yeah, that's why the iPhone is still selling like hotcakes. Newsflash: The economy hasn't died a horrid, painful death. Some people are feeling the pain. Many are doing just fine.

      And what's wrong with the iPhone data plan? $30 a month added to any contract gives you unlimited data. You could browse the web 24/7 with that. Jailbreak the thing. Then it's not so closed anymore.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 23, 2008 @03:46PM (#25486599)

    It isn't available here in Finland, so... Yeah.

    But well, I've never understood that culture in USA... Comparing products based on the day that they come out. Just like with movie theatres there, the most used way to determine if movie is successfull seems to be how well it sells during the first weekend: Before anyone has had the chance to see it and tell others if it is good or not.

    I wouldn't think much based on just these days. Also, the "Steeper learning curve" and "Shortcuts might take some time to get used to..."... WTF? Does ANYONE think of those things when buying a phone? "I would buy that but the learning curve is too steep..."? I would understand if it was "The user interface is horrible" but this?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Chemisor (97276)

      > the most used way to determine if movie is successfull seems to be how well it sells during
      > the first weekend: Before anyone has had the chance to see it and tell others if it is good or not.

      Ah, but that's the point. They already know the movie is bad, so their only chance to sell it is before people start talking. Remember that you don't have to be good to be successful ;)

  • Poor Service (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @03:46PM (#25486615)

    I won't be buying one, because any phone from T-Mobile is no longer in the running for me. They are my current provider, but (unlike every other provider) their service area near me has been shrinking rather than growing. Places I had service last year are now consistently "emergency call only" areas. We're talking about a good quarter of the state. On top of that, they had the nerve to send me advertising text messages telling me how they've expanded their coverage. I am currently contract free, so if another provider comes out with a good Android phone, I'll look into it, but who cares how good it is if it has no service.

  • by sampson7 (536545) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @03:47PM (#25486619)
    Got my G1 in the mail the other day. Snazzy interface, good basic functionality, easy to use. Very stylish.

    Battery life doesn't seem to be stellar, but the great aps and easy installation make up for it.

    Love the smooth keyboard -- which includes a number bar!

    The integrated GPS is kick ass.

    The only downside is that the network is a little spotty -- but I knew that when I got it.

    Prior to the G1, the only options were to continue pining for an Iphone to replace my Blackberry or pay the termination fee with my existing carrier and then switch. Now I'm glad I made the switch and didn't blow the money on terminating my existing T-mobile service.

  • I can guess why (Score:2, Insightful)

    by cabjf (710106)
    Apple has the perception in the eyes of the public of making exciting and innovative products. Part of that could be because it is true and part of it is because of marketing. So when Apple decides to enter a new industry, people get excited.

    Now Google may be known for innovating and be a household name, but was the android phone marketed as being connected to Google? Not only than, but Google didn't design the physical phone, just the platform.

    Or, to think of it another way, the major selling poin
  • by DaveV1.0 (203135) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @03:49PM (#25486695) Journal

    Google didn't hype the G1 for months, unlike Apple. And, Google didn't have a launching pad product, aka the iPod.

  • No lines??? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Torinaga-Sama (189890) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @03:50PM (#25486735) Homepage

    Of course not, if you ordered one a couple of months ago you would already have it. Instead of madly lining up at some retail shop to buy your new piece of hip candy (and then still have to take the damn thing home to activate it), you can order it and wait for it to be delivered to your door.

    Apple does make good products, but they also are very adept at engineering a crowd to harness for marketing purposes.

  • by webview (49052) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @03:52PM (#25486757)
    I'd say this is pretty good: http://www.iphonestalk.com/googles-android-based-phone-pre-orders-hit-15-million-should-the-iphone-be-afraid/ [iphonestalk.com] I think it took Apple much longer to sell 1 million of the first gen iPhones
  • Marketing Problem? (Score:5, Informative)

    by excelblue (739986) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @03:52PM (#25486761) Homepage

    I was in line during the day of the pre-release, where the only place you could get one in the world was at the T-Mobile store in the SoMa area of San Francisco. The release was set at 6:00pm on Tuesday, October 21, 2008.

    When I got there at 6:10pm, the line only extended down the block. It took me approximately two hours before I got to the front of the line. In the mean time, I held a few conversations with the others by me, and it appears that the consensus was: there's not enough apps for the G1 right now - maybe it'll take off in a year or so, but there will be better phones for the platform by then.

    I met a large number of *NIX users there who might have very well been other slashdotters. It appears to be that the G1 is in a niche market right now. People don't seem to care that it can be modified, but rather that it has less features and apps compared to the iPhone. Instead, most of the people in line wanted one because of its relatively cheap cost and stability.

    Also, the lack of lines may be attributed to how well T-Mobile has handled the release compared to Apple. People were processed in less than three minutes, and there were eight CS reps working at the same time. In fact, the line moved at approximately the speed of a security screening. If the process was done similarly at other stores, there wouldn't have been much of an opportunity for a line to form.

  • I was an iPhone user (Score:5, Informative)

    by atari2600 (545988) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @03:52PM (#25486777)

    Pros of the G1:

    1. Usable QWERTY keyboard - texting heaven
    2. 3G speeds in my area are ~900kbps
    3. The browser feels faster
    4. I can upgrade/replace the battery
    5. I can put in an 2/4/8/16 gig micro SD
    6. Speaker sounds louder
    7. Free wifi at T-mobile hotspots
    8. Voice activated dialing works decently
    9. It's from T-Mobile and I don't have to deal with the evil pricks that are ATT/Cingular (was an ATT customer for almost 7 years)

    Cons:

    1. The battery life sucks at the moment
    2. Dearth of apps (naturally)
    3. The phone gets warm after a few minutes of usage
    4. Not a con for me but no stereo bluetooth
    5. Complete lack of accessories from T-mobile
    6. Gmail goes down, you might have issues from the tight integration (forgot pattern to unlock phone? input your gmail info)
    7. The phone has a cheap plastic feel and doesn't feel as solid as the iphone (especially when opening the back panel).
    8. 3G coverage is spotty

    Both weigh and measure about the same (comparison with a first gen iphone). Both are quad-band.

    • by DaveV1.0 (203135)

      Con:
          9. No free wifi calling.

    • by yincrash (854885) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @04:40PM (#25487817)
      • side by side, browser is shown to be slower. however, it does support separate windows!
      • bluetooth is in the roadmap for a future update. i have a stereo headset, so i'm definitely interested in this.
      • entering in your google info again when forgetting pattern unlock doesn't require network access, it uses your acct info that it already stored in the phone. (which is a good reason why you should have a pattern lock because your info is in the phone!)
      • free wifi is pretty awesome.
  • Mini Review (Score:2, Interesting)

    by spribyl (175893)

    I did get one yesterday. I knew I wanted one, just did not know when.
    Stopped(on a whim) in at the local store waited an hour and was out the door with one.
    There was not iphone rush but I did not thing the hype was a big.

    I had very specific needs that the iphone did not do well(ssh, vnc, real keyboard)
    Also, know that I usually take the wait and see approach to tech and not an early adopter.
    I am very tech savvy

    So far I am very pleased. It is mostly intuitive. I am find the menu key/scroll/click awkward.
    Ca

    • The iPhone can SSH and VNC just fine with third party apps. I've done both and they're free. The VNC app works surprisingly well. Haven't diddled with SSH much, but how can you screw up SSH?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by stephentyrone (664894)

      I did get one yesterday. I knew I wanted one, just did not know when... Also, know that I usually take the wait and see approach to tech and not an early adopter. I am very tech savvy

      Wait... what?

      You take the wait and see approach to tech, so you went out and bought an completely untested product on launch day?

  • I bought it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by joshv (13017) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @04:01PM (#25486949)

    Not sure what they mean about a non-intuitive interface. What more freakin' intuitive than a physical keyboard?

    Is "pinching" intuitive before somebody shows it to you. But I guess it's just an article of faith that anything not done by Apple must, by definition, be less intuitive than the Apple version.

    On the useless but cool front - I made a skype-out call from the G1 over my wifi network today. Try that with an iPhone. Granted, it's a phone, so sure, what's the point. But it's good to know that even if I terminate my cell plan, the phone isn't a useless brick.

    • I didn't realize there is a version of Skype for Android. I've checked the Skype website to see if there were any announcements of such a beast, even tried a general Google for Skype for Android, and haven't seen it. Where'd you find Skype for Android? The closest thing I found was something called iSkoot, which doesn't appear to actually use Wifi?

    • Re:I bought it (Score:4, Insightful)

      by BitZtream (692029) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @04:37PM (#25487735)

      By the time the iPhone actually went on sale, everyone in America had seen the commercials showing them the pinch and other basic features that once you think about them they feel natural and you just 'know' how to do other things you've never been shown. If I didn't read slashdot (and google news), I wouldn't know what the G1 is, and I still have no idea what it looks like or how it works. Mind you, I don't care about Android, but its not suprising that no one else does either, no one else knows about it outside the tech world.

      And seriously, Skype ... on your cell phone ... are you fucking kidding me. You've got a phone with protocols that are FAR better than the crap Skype uses for talking, the cheap bastards who want to use Skype on their cell phone are probably too cheap to buy a phone that can run it. Using Skype on a cell phone is about the silliest thing I've ever heard of, cell minutes are cheap, stop being such a techie that you look like a dumbass to the rest of the people in the world. If you terminate your plan you're worried about having a use for your phone? Do you not realize how silly that sounds?

      'I'm gonna buy a cell phone, then terminate my phone plan, but thats okay because I can also run this app that makes my phone act like a phone when I'm around certain radio signals, and the price difference is great because in 8 years I'll have saved up the money from using skype to pay for the phone.' Just think about that before you respond.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by sahala (105682)
        I was about to slam you on the basis that international calls from a cellphone are traditionally very expensive. However, it looks like for $5/month, tmobile offers competitive discount international calls:

        http://www.t-mobile.com/International/LongDistanceOverview.aspx [t-mobile.com]

        Skype rates are about the same (also with a small per-month fee): http://www.skype.com/intl/en/prices/callrates/ [skype.com]

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by cbhacking (979169)

        Whoa! Flame much? Skype from a phone makes all kinds of sense. Let's start with a few of the basics:

        You can see who is available before you call
        You can do it over WiFi, which may have service where cellular networks don't
        It doesn't cost either party a thing
        It shares contact info with your other computers auomatically

        Now, let's take your arguments in particular:

        "... protocols that are FAR better..." - Skype is clearer than my 3G cell phone on most calls.
        "... too cheap to buy a phone that can run in" - Isn't

  • Id buy it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by moniker127 (1290002) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @04:08PM (#25487069)
    Id totally buy one, but I'm an ATT customer, and they havn't released one for ATT yet. Ill gladly swap my sim into one if i could find an unlocked one.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by BitZtream (692029)

      'WAIT WAIT WAIT!!!! Its carrier locked? OMG THOSE ASSHOLES, APPLE IS EVIL FOR LOCKING THE PHONE TO THE CARRIER!!@@$#!$@'

      Sorry, thought we were talking about the iPhone again, let me switch fanboy modes ...

      'I'll just wait for it to be available on AT&T, its running Linux so I'm okay with it being carrier locked. Its still the best phone ever made. Its totally not like having to unlock the iPhone to use on another carrier, I don't accept having to jailbreak and unlock an iPhone to do what I want to do,

  • I picked up my G1 at the Galleria in Cambridge (MA). The T-Mobile Kiosk was doing a brisk business and had plenty of people on hand to demo, sell, and activate the phone.

    I've noticed a lack of advertising for the G1, but I read that T-Mobile will be starting TV ads soon. I wonder how much money Google is going to contribute to the campaign.

    The phone is nice and works out of the box. I used it most of the afternoon and evening on the 3G network and used a lot of battery power. I'm still working on how to con

  • by Kizeh (71312) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @04:10PM (#25487119)

    T-Mobile also is doing its best to put little barbs in people's way. I'm out of contract and checked what it would take for me to get a G1. I can get it for the same price as a new customer, which is good, but T-Mobile tossed silly things like "transaction fees" into the cart when I got closer to the checkout point. While it's a minuscule amount in the big picture, it really did piss me off as a completely fake charge.
    Not to mention the on-hold time with their customer service and totally useless voice response system.

  • I remember the "lines" I waited in to get my Sharp Zaurus [wikipedia.org]

    Hopefully the "Googlephone" will be more popular as an open source version of a common device form factor.

  • I ordered one (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Locke2005 (849178) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @04:15PM (#25487217)
    Like everybody else, I ordered one in advance. That's why there are no lines at the store. Big selling points were 1) I can write my own software for it, and 2) Built in GPS. Of course, buying one is an act of faith in that I'm assuming they will make software upgrades available later to fix little flaws like the lack of support for the stereo bluetooth profile. Of course, I probably won't get mine until November 8, but I don't think those extra 2 weeks will make much of a difference.
  • by MBoffin (259181) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @04:20PM (#25487313) Homepage

    Actually, I think we're just seeing that Google's product launches tend to have similar paths whether they are software or hardware. (I know the G1 phone isn't technically a Google product, but realistically, yes, it is.)

    Google products tend to launch with rough edges, but with enough "Wow!" to generate buzz and interest. Initial comments tend to range from "Hey, that's cool!" to "Eh, [such and such] does that too, and Google's has less features." Over time, they tend to steadily polish up and turn into really stellar product offerings farther down the road. Look at Google Maps, Google Docs, Google Calendar, GMail, Google Reader, and so on.

    And while some of their software products go flop (Google Lively, anyone?), most of them tend to take that steady, measured approach to a solid, highly usable product. The G1 phone seems to be on that same path.

  • Not a big suprise. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by BitZtream (692029) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @04:21PM (#25487335)

    The iPhone is attractive to the general public.

    Android phones are attractive to techies.

    Its not exactly a big suprise that there aren't crowds waitting for them, the percentage of techies in the world is relatively low so theres no way its going to have any sort sales numbers like the iPhone.

    Technies know about it, the rest of the world doesn't care, and won't care until its as sexy and user friendly as the iPhone. This isn't the year of the Android phone any more than its the year of the Linux desktop, and for the exact same reasons. The general public doesn't care about anything they have to offer and wants features that neither have to offer.

  • Tough crowd (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jlarocco (851450) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @04:22PM (#25487375) Homepage

    People are writing it off as a failure because there aren't crowds and lines forming to buy it? Seriously?

    Seems just about every product ever made would be an utter failure going by that metric.

  • by johnlcallaway (165670) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @04:23PM (#25487387)

    The iPhone is NOT any more intuitive than any other phone. It is not intuitive to use two fingers spreading in and out to zoom in and out. It is not intuitive to change the screen orientation by rotating it if it only works when holding the unit somewhat vertical. (That drove my daughter nuts until I explained how gravity works with the phone.)

    The iPod is NOT any more intuitive than any other music player. It is not intuitive to have to return to the now-playing screen to change the volume. It is not intuitive to run your finger around a circle to change volume or select items. And not being able to edit play lists is just inexcusable.

    The Apple was NOT any more intuitive than any other computer. Dragging the CD to the trashcan to eject it was not intuitive. People exposed to Windows did not deal well with the lack of right click and that silly Apple key until shown what they were for.

    Intuitive means directly apprehended or instinctive. Something is not intuitive if basic features require demonstration or having to read the manual. Apple products have some cool features that once exposed to can make them easier to use. That isn't intuitive, it's user friendly.

    • by Knara (9377) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @04:44PM (#25487917)

      Yeah, the "intuitive" meme for interfaces bothers me a lot these days. Apparently now it means, "This works the way (the market dominator/my other stuff) works." It's got nothing to do with whether or not the interface is usable out of the gate for an arbitrary user with arbitrary experience.

      • by Knight2K (102749) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @06:48PM (#25490113) Homepage

        A better term might be "discoverable". If you can play with it and figure out what it does without consulting the manual or asking someone else, then it has high "discover-ability". Combine that with "consistent": knowledge of one part of the system helps you to use other parts of the system that you haven't tried yet. Those terms together get at what many people mean when they say "intuitive"

        From the time I've spent playing with demo iPhones and Touches the interface was pretty easy to understand. When you turn the phone sideways, it goes into landscape mode and it pretty much does that everywhere, so it is consistent. It is also consistent with what I would expect in the real world; if I'm orienting the screen sideways, I probably want to use it so the long edge is the top now. You can also learn that pretty easily just by trying it, so it is also discoverable. When the iPhone breaks consistency, like the lack of a landscape keyboard in some apps, people complain, which indicates that consistent behavior is part of what we think of as "intuitive".

        Zooming in and out works by pinching and pulling, which isn't very discoverable, but it makes sense a certain amount of real-world logical sense ( I'm stretching a photo to make it bigger, squishing it to make it smaller). Once you learn it, you can try that same action in other places and it will do pretty much what you expect (discoverable and consistent). Of course, you can get away with some of those things on a media player because many operations aren't really destructive; you can play with the device to see how it works. If stretching a word processing document ripped it in half and deleted it, that would probably be a different story.

        I've tried the Android emulator a bit, so I have some familiarity with the interface. I think I could pretty much figure out how to do most things I'd want to do with it, but it definitely has the feeling of a computer interface shrunk to fit a phone. I think it is discoverable, but from playing with it and reading the reviews, it isn't consistent, so it ultimately isn't as discoverable as the iPhone is.

        The iPhone software, on the other hand, feels more like it is purpose-built for the phone; like a part of the device as opposed to running on it. Even the main screen evokes a keypad layout like a touch tone phone rather than the desktop metaphor that Android shoehorns in.

        Ultimately, I think that is Android's major challenge. It can't easily become part of a device out of the box because it could run on a range of hardware, while the iPhone software only has to support the iPhone and can blend smoothly with the hardware experience. This is in some ways more important than the relationship of Windows and OS X to their various hardware since we have certain expectations about how a phone should perform that PC's don't have. There is potential for Android to become more discoverable and consistent; personally I'm going to wait for the next Android phone to see if it has improved.

    • by BitZtream (692029) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @04:52PM (#25488125)

      Obviously the user interface bothers you. But really, you think there is a better phone interface out there? I guess everyone who owns an iPhone must be a fanboy cause the only ones I have heard who don't like them are techies who want a shell prompt for their phone, everyone else seems to love it.

      Running your finger around a circle to change the volume is not intuitive? So ... is rotating a number to change the volume not intuitive?

      Everything you are ranting about is because you've been trained, poorly, by some other piece of software to do something silly. Except maybe the CD to the trash can, I'll give you that one, but the rest of your arguments are just silly, the fault is your expectations based on other bad designs.

      Most of the rest of the non-techie world, and now days a very large portion of the techie worlds seems to think Apple does a pretty good job on UI design, while I realize a lot of these people are what you would probably consider 'stupid', as a general rule when you disagree with everyone else, its generally (not always, but generally) and indication that you have it wrong, not them.

    • The only truly intuitive user interface is the nipple. Everything else is learned.

  • by Shanoyu (975) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @05:26PM (#25488827)

    The G1 doesn't work as a phone. Why would people buy it? T-Mobile excluded UMA aka t-mobile at home from the G1, effectively making it a paperweight in most suburbs. Combine that with the unattractive price point and the fact that many people who would be interested in this device are currently shackled to the iPhone and you've got a product nobody can use or wants to buy.

  • A Better Plan (Score:3, Interesting)

    by CopaceticOpus (965603) on Thursday October 23, 2008 @05:53PM (#25489283)

    I would buy a G1 if they offered the following:

    • Let me buy the phone at its full retail cost.
    • Let me use the wifi for free phone calls, text messages, and web use when I am at home or otherwise have wifi access.
    • Charge me a reasonable by-the-minute rate for cellular-based calls, texts, and data usage. If I don't use the cellular aspect, don't charge me anything.
    • I would understand a $5 - $10 monthly fee to pay for my wifi based phone calls. (I pay about $70/year for unlimited Skype calls currently.)

    This would be similar to other T-Mobile pay-as-you-go plans. It would allow them to offer a much, much lower total cost of ownership over two years of use. I can't see any reason they couldn't make a modest profit under a plan like this. However, they won't offer this because they want to make a huge profit instead.

If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants. -- Isaac Newton

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