Thursday, October 02, 2008

Switching from the (first gen) iPhone to the G1 Android

A friend of mine asked why I was preordering the T-mobile G1 rather than jumping ship from T-mobile (which I am using with a hacked iPhone) to AT&T for the 3G iPhone. He was considering the iPhone and was curious why I didn't want to upgrade. I wrote him an email but I figured it was good enough to post as well:
Personally, I think you will enjoy the iPhone. I mean, I've had it for over a year now and its been pretty good to use. The lack of a persistent apps, like a google talk client is kinda weak, seeing how the blackberry can do it (which seems pretty underpowered in comparison). Also, I'm kinda curious how expandable and far the apps will go for the G1. I mean, T-mobile says no tethering, but I can bet that's gonna be blown away within the first few months from a dev. Also, seeing how the first gen iPhone doesn't have GPS and the G1 has a nicer camera on it, and the fact that I didn't wanna really switch to AT&T (wiretapping is legal!), I figured I'd go with the G1. The hardware is intriguing even if there is no 3.5mm jack. I always liked the trackball from the blackberries and I kinda like hardware keys. Even though I can type pretty fast on the iPhone now, there still is some cognitive dissonance since there is no feedback from the keyboard, especially since I've turned off the keyboard clicks. I think coupled with my curiosity and my growing annoyance with some of the small niggles of my first gen iPhone made me take the leap to preorder the G1. That and I didn't wanna pay 35 bucks a month for data and 200 SMS text messages which would push my monthly bill close to 80 bucks a month after taxes are included.

If you want your phone to work well, and you don't mind the limitations of the SDK (which means stuff like not being able to download a podcast without iTunes or customization of the themes, which for the latter technically you can do if you jailbreak the phone) and you don't miss a hardware keyboard, I think you'll like it. There is one caveat as of now. Apple released 2.1 for the iPhone and while its less buggy, its still kinda buggy. I mean before, if I opened an app on the 1.1.x version, it was instantaneous. Now when I open an app, even a core app like SMS, Safari, or Contacts, there is a 1 or 2 second freeze before it starts operating which is a lot better than the 2.0.x versions which would freeze for 4 or 6 seconds before anything would happen. I think v2.x is a deviation from the iPhone's supposed roadmap because they felt they had to open up the platform with a SDK before they were ready to do so since they knew there was a demand. Feels like a bit of mismanagement from the mighty Jobs but who knows. Maybe v2.2 will fix a lot of the issues I'm bringing up here. They say that since there isn't persistence in the apps, they'll handle notifications (like new IMs) via a notifications server. It was supposed to be released in 2.1 but I guess they had a huge mess to clean up with the 2.0.x debacle, since calls were dropping, crap was buggy, and a lot apps were just crashing. The other annoying thing about non-persistence is that if I had a webpage open in safari, and I close it, and I don't have a signal, there won't be a cached page of what you were looking at if you start safari back up. Its like its wiped clean and will try to retrieve the URL again, since the URL is the only thing that is cached. You should read this esquire article, it seems to make a little sense, even if the writing style is kinda douchey and a bit pretentious.