So I got an Android G1 handset. Cool. I’ve been using it for 2 3 days now. Overall I think it is a fine handset and mobile environment with great potential. Below are my quick first impressions: the good, the bad and the ugly; if you are looking for a full detailed review just search the web where you will find lots of review articles already.

The Good

  • The software in general is pretty good and complete; you will find all you would expect from Google: email, SMS, contacts, browser, maps, plus the other stuff such as alarm, calculator and so on. The maps compass mode works well and is very cool.
  • The user interface, colors, visual feedback, workspaces, and its fluidness is neat, I like it.
  • The browser windows feature, which allows you to have multiple active browsing windows is neat.
  • Great integration to/with rest of Google software: the email, the contacts, IM (GTalk), the calendar, the reader, YouTube. The integration is so good that I ended up moving all of my contacts to Google Contacts and have them synchronized with the handset. And I also consolidated all of my email accounts via Gmail so that I’ve a single place to go to check for emails, both on desktop and handset. I’ve been using this a lot; the integrated apps are really great. Many of these apps are Android/local apps which is fine with me as they run fast and have background processing, for example the Gmail client.
  • Having touchscreen and keyboard is great; I always have been a touchscreen and keyboard kind of person.
  • The handset comes with support for WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth, accelerometer.
  • I feel it is a great development platform, allowing me to experiment and create neat applications.
  • There are many other goodies that I haven’t played with yet. And of course things like having a concurrent OS (Linux) with support for concurrent application execution, etc. is great.

The Bad

  • The battery utilization is bad. And I don’t have GPS, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth active! Just idle, browsing, texting and reading email will eat your battery I would say in 5 hours or so. They need work on that.
  • The keyboard feels a bit weird. I attribute this to its non-symmetrical design where you have to the right the trackball and buttons, taking maybe around 1 inch, but not having the same on the left-side. So while having a keyboard is great for me, the way it was implemented is not the best way. Symmetry is at the center of usability and beautiful design; it is a bummer they failed on this one. Over time with practice this may become a non-issue, but that is not the point; why fail to create a beautiful piece when you have the opportunity?
  • I’m afraid that if I drop this baby that it won’t survive… Insure it!
  • The hinge. This this is going to be a very weak spot for the handset. And it already started making (rubbing or friction) squeaky noises.

The Ugly

  • Did I say the battery is bad? Well, the battery is worst than bad, and it is the true ugly part. This can be fixed with better software, better power management. Being the G1 the first Android model I understand they didn’t get it perfect, but the software and power management must be revisited (same happened with the first generation iPhone).

My Wishlist

  • Better power management!
  • The keyboard symmetry spacing issue mentioned above.
  • A camera flash; check out the BlackBerry Curve as an example.
  • S/W-based keyboard (already on the road-map) for when I don’t want to flip/open the handset to type.
  • Infrared port.
  • NFC.
  • Headset Jack!
  • (More as I find more wishes)

See the Android G1 handset specs (