HTC G1 Mobile Phone (Google Android)

android1This first generation Google Android phone is an interesting mish-mash of brilliant software and so-so hardware. The touch screen is fantastic and the UI is almost perfect. Whilst it can’t compete with the N95-8GB on multimedia capabilities, for our business it kicks its ass.

The G1 is not available in Ireland and may never be. So far it has been released in the USA and the UK. Calls to CPW in Enniskillen drew a blank as they had no idea what I was talking about. So I bit the bullet and paid full whack for an unlocked phone on eBay. The vendor in San Francisco shipped it the day before Thanksgiving and it arrived on the Monday. I was very impressed (and relieved). I immediately replaced the 1GB microSD card with a 4GB one.

First impressions of the hardware are not great. The screen looks good, the buttons cheap, the kink at the bottom weird, the full qwerty keyboard better than expected, the scroll-ball surprisingly usable , the lack of a standard audio jack bizarre, the wobble between the upper and lower halves of the phone terribly annoying and the camera crap.

The phone can’t be used until it is activated with Google. This took me a while as the Irish mobile network APNs are obviously not known to the phone and it won’t activate over wifi. A bit of Googling got me the settings I needed (see last post). Then a big sigh of relief as I realised it fully supports Google Apps for Your Domain so I could register with my address.

Then you see the UI and the software and the touch screen in action. You forget about the crappy build quality and the squeaking back cover because that UI totally rocks. Many compare it to the iPhone but I actually think it looks better. The single iPhone feature which I prefer is the “Back” as a button on the screen rather than a real button. The main thing about the Android UI if you are coming (like me) from a Symbian Series 60 phone, is speed. It screams along. The browser is amazingly fast, GMail is scorching, GCal is great, GMaps is instant. Compare this to the “wait wait wait” of an N95-8GB and you wonder how you put up with it for so long.

You may have noticed a theme above. Yes you have to live in the Google world for Android to make sense for you. In my case it’s a no-brainer. Apart from Zoho CRM, Netvibes and some technical online tools like Unfuddle, I spend most of my day on a variety of Google Apps. Between GMail, Google Reader, GTalk and Google Docs, that accounts for many many hours.

The phone doesn’t come with a huge number of other applications. All the basic things you expect are there. The Google Marketplace is their equivalent to the iPhone App Store. There are a few big differences. The first is that Google doesn’t try to compete with its own developers by blocking “competing” apps. As long as the app doesn’t kill the phone, it’ll probably be approved on the Marketplace. The downside of this is plenty of silly pointless apps so you need to use user ratings/reviews to guide you.

The second difference with Android is that you are not limited to the Marketplace. Sergey Brin doesn’t decide for you what apps you are allowed to run on your phone. You can install whatever you like. This is even more open than Nokia who have dropped the ball completely in 2008 with the app-signing fiasco.

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New Android theme for BlackBerry devices

droidberryDo you have a BlackBerry and wish you were able to jump ship for an Android-powered handset? Well now you can get an Android them for your BlackBerry handset so that you can at least look like your into Google’s open source platform.

Going by the name DroidBerry, the theme will closely replicate the look of the Android interface that T-Mobile G1 users have become very familiar with. Of course there is no real Android functionality as this is merely a interface theme.  Now here is the funny part, that big clock on the background is not functional.

At any rate this theme looks so good, you can tell that this is not quite the real deal, but there are plenty of themes out there for various phones that can’t even stand up against this one.  Check the below link to download the theme right now. If you do stop back by and let us know what you think about it.

Source: [Via CrackBerry]

8 megapixel Samsung S8300 touch slider makes an appearance

samsung-s83001As it seems Samsung have a really nice cameraphone in store for all of us, due in the beginning of 2009. The S8300 has obviously slipped under someone’s door, as it’s not officially announced yet. Continue reading

Reminder: BlackBerry Curve 8900 and HTC Fuze giveaways end!

8900-fuzeAhh there’s nothing better than free, especially when it comes to the latest and greatest smartphones on the market. Your buddies here at BGR are happy to hook you up now that the holidays are upon us and in case you missed it, we’re running two giveaways right now that you would be wise to check out. Yep, two lucky BGR readers will have an extra-special Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza or whatever else it is they celebrate and we get ready to choose and announce the winners of our BlackBerry Curve 8900 and HTC Fuze giveaways. Woo hoo! If you haven’t yet left a comment and entered one or both of the contests, what are you waiting for?! You’ve got until 11:59PM EST (Sunday, Dec 21) to leave a comment and enter for your chance to win a free BlackBerry Curve 8900 or a free HTC Fuze. Remember, only one comment per person or you can kiss your chances of winning that shiny new smartphone goodbye.

Win a free BlackBerry Curve 8900!
Win a free HTC Fuze!

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BlackBerry Media Sync – Tuned Up

Your Music on Your BlackBerry Smartphone. It’s That Simple.

blackberry-bold-9000Sync your desktop iTunes® music files with your BlackBerry® smartphone. BlackBerry® Media Sync makes getting more from your music quick and easy!1,2,3,4 Want a specific playlist for the gym? With just a few simple clicks, you can choose the playlists you want from your collection.

Or, if you just need a mix of tunes to get you through the day, songs can be randomly chosen from your collection. And, to make sure you’ve always got enough free memory on your BlackBerry smartphone, BlackBerry Media Sync lets you set a limit as to how much—or how little—of your music to sync.

1 For BlackBerry Media Sync to work your media enabled BlackBerry smartphone must be connected to your computer via a USB cable. Certain music files may not be supported by the media player, including incompatible file types and files that contain digital rights management technologies.
2 BlackBerry Media Sync is compatible with devices featuring BlackBerry Device software v4.2 or higher. Devices that do not feature built-in mass storage capabilities (significant amounts of on-board memory) will require a microSD card to be properly inserted. Please visit for a list of devices requiring microSD cards.
3 BlackBerry Media Sync is compatible with 32-bit editions of Windows XP Service Pack 2 which requires iTunes version 7.0 or higher; AND 64 and 32-bit editions of Windows Vista which requires iTunes version 7.2 or higher. Not compatible Windows 2000. Mac OS 10.5.5 or higher is compatible with iTunes version 7.7.0 or higher.
4 All applicable charges will still apply for the purchase of music from iTunes.

The iTunes trademark is property of Apple, Inc. Windows and Windows Vista are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation. iTunes is not endorsed in any manner by Research In Motion Limited

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Nokia E63 joins the successful Nokia E71 to form a compelling QWERTY messaging device range

nokia-e63Espoo, Finland – Nokia today announced the latest addition to its Eseries range, the Nokia E63, designed for people who need to manage their business and personal lives equally well. Building on the success of the Nokia E71, the company’s flagship messaging device, the Nokia E63 brings the QWERTY keyboard form factor to a broader audience at a great price. The Nokia E63 is expected to begin shipping in the coming weeks for an estimated retail price of EUR 199, before taxes and subsidies. Continue reading

Samsung M320 – red (Sprint)

If you’re looking for a low-end camera phone with a simple design, you can always count on Samsung. The company spins them out fast and furiously in the United States, particularly in the run-up to the holiday season. The Samsung SPH-M320 for Sprint is the newest model to fit this mold. Its design is minimalist and easy to use, and it offers a quality VGA camera. On the downside, the call quality is variable, and the display is a little two low-res for our tastes. But, in the end, it’s not a bad handset for occasional callers. Alternatively, if you want the basic functionality without the shooter, the SPH-M220 is the SPH-M320’s cameraless counterpart. The M320 is just $19.99 with service.
DesignThe SPH-M320 has a standard flip-phone design, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its good points. The red color is attractive, and the light-catching mirror goes easy on the fingerprints and smudges. At 3.6 inches tall by 1.86 inches wide by 0.85 inch deep, and weighing 2.68 ounces, the phone is also slim, lightweight, and compact. The handset feels comfortable in the hand, and the hinge is sturdy, but the plastic skin feels a tad flimsy.
The external display is no bigger than a postage stamp, but it shows all the information you need, including the date, time, battery life, signal strength, and numeric caller ID. And with support for 65,000 colors (96×96 pixels), it also shows photo caller ID and works as a viewfinder for the external display, which sits just above. You can choose from a few clock styles and adjust the contrast. The remaining exterior controls include a volume rocker and a micro-USB port on the left spine, and a 2.5mm headset jack and a camera shutter on the right spine.
The SPH-M320’s internal display measures a sizable 1.8 inches, but it supports just 65,000 colors (128×145 pixels). On a phone without a camera we wouldn’t really mind, but even a handset with a VGA shooter deserves a higher-resolution screen. Colors were relatively bright and the menus are simple, but graphics and photos were far from sharp. You can change the backlighting time, the brightness, and the dialing-font size and color.
We very much approved of the SPH-M320’s navigation array and keypad. Both have spacious layouts with tactile buttons. What’s more, the numbers on the keys are large and the backlighting is bright. On the array there’s a four-way toggle with a central OK button, two soft keys, Talk and End/power controls, and a back key. The toggle doubles as a shortcut to four features of your choice.
FeaturesThe SPH-M320’s phone book holds 499 contacts, with room in each entry for five phone numbers, a URL, an e-mail address, a nickname, and notes. You can assign callers to groups and pair them with a photo and one of 20 polyphonic ringtones. Alternatively, you can compose your own ringtones using the integrated voice recorder. Other essentials include a vibrate mode, text and multimedia messaging, a calendar, a scheduler, a task list, a countdown timer, a memo pad, a world clock, an alarm clock, and a calculator.
Though it is miles from being a smartphone, the SPH-M320 offers a couple of extra options. Inside you’ll find Bluetooth, voice dialing, and an airplane mode. It also offers instant messaging and browser-based POP3 e-mail. The latter isn’t the most user-accessible experience, but it works in a pinch. (thanks sijaribu)
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