There is a lot riding on the shoulders of T-Mobile’s G1 Android phone. In some ways, it carries the collective hopes of Linux, open source and Google fans everywhere. It’s open, collaborative and community-based, in other words, everything the iPhone and Windows Mobile aren’t. As so many onlookers crowd around this newborn phone, there’s no way it can hold up all of their expectations—and it doesn’t.
The G1 phone and the Android operating system are not finished products. There are only three working Google Apps here—Gmail, Maps and Calendar—while Google Docs, Google News, Google Reader, Google Shopping, Google Images, Google Video, Blogger and Picasa are nowhere to be found. What’s the deal?
We have high hopes for third-party coders to fill in gaps Google intentionally or unintentionally left in this OS. There’s already a video player, and we’re sure VLC will try and port some kind of version over. But your question is not whether the phone will be great down the line, it’s whether or not it’s good enough for you to buy it now.
The answer depends most on who you are. Despite all the UI quirks and bad design decisions, it’s still better than other smartphone OSes out there. It’s not perfect, but for people who like tinkering, its cons are outweighed by its pros such as Gmail and the Marketplace. Hopefully Android updates and more ports of Google apps will augment not just future phones but this one too. This isn’t something you’re going to give your mom for Christmas, but if you’re an adventuresome gadget guy with some money to spend ($179) on a totally new, pretty exciting venture, then why not?