Now that we’ve had a taste of what the T-Mobile G1 offers, CNET compares it with other phones on the market and see if it brings anything different to the table.
1. Design – The combination of a touch screen and a keyboard isn’t new of course, but I thought it would be good to remind people that others exist. The HTC Touch Pro is a Windows Mobile device that has both a touch screen and a keyboard, while the LG Voyager is a non-smartphone with both a touch screen and a keyboard as well. That said, the addition of a QWERTY keyboard does make it a little more easy to use than touch-screen-only devices like the Apple iPhone or the Samsung Instinct. Also note that so far, it seems that the G1 has a removable battery while the iPhone does not.
2. Interface – Of course, we won’t be able to really tell the difference between the G1 and that of other touch-screen phones until we get one in our hands, but from the demo, it appears that you use the touch screen just like you would with the others. You swipe the touch screen to switch pages and scroll down menus, and you tap an application to open it. However, you can also hold down something (or a long press) to open up options. Just like the LG Dare, the T-Mobile G1 lets you drag and drop any application to the home screen as a convenient shortcut.
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Since the G1 runs an operating system made by Google, it only makes sense that it has excellent search capabilities. Just like that on the Helio Ocean, the G1 has something called one-click contextual search, which lets you search your contacts as well as the Web just by typing in a few letters and hitting Enter. We’ll know more about the G1’s interface once we try it out for ourselves.
Another important factor: The G1 has copy and paste.
3. Connectivity – The G1 is one of the first devices to work on T-Mobile’s 3G network. It also works on both Wi-Fi and 3G, and has quad-band GSM plus dual-band UMTS, which means it will work abroad as well. The iPhone has both Wi-Fi and 3G, but only has tri-band GSM, while both the Instinct and the Dare are CDMA with EV-DO and don’t have Wi-Fi. The HTC Touch Pro has Wi-Fi, 3G, and a quad-band GSM version, but is not yet available in the U.S. The G1 has Bluetooth but not stereo Bluetooth, similar to the iPhone. Other devices like the Instinct and Dare do have stereo Bluetooth. Also, the G1 does not allow tethering as a modem, which most Windows Mobile smartphones allow.
4. Messaging – Like most other phones, the G1 has e-mail and instant messaging with special preference given to Gmail and Google Talk. It doesn’t have Exchange support out of the box, which both the iPhone and the Instinct do (and of course every Windows Mobile smartphone out there). But if you’re a Gmail fan, you’ll love the push Gmail on the G1. Also unlike the iPhone, the G1 does have multimedia messaging, plus you can multitask applications while chatting. There’s a “windowshade” that you can pull down on the G1 to retrieve an ongoing instant message conversation.
5. Browser – The G1 has a full HTML browser present on most touch-screen phones as well as most Windows Mobile smartphones, so there’s nothing new there. It has onscreen controls to zoom in and out, which is a different than the pinching method of the iPhone, but quite similar to other devices. You can open multiple pages and share Web pages as well. The one difference is that it uses Webkit, an open-source browser built to be lean and fast.
6. Location-based services – Here’s where the G1 really makes a difference. It comes with Google Maps Street View built-in, providing you with a street view of any location covered with Google Maps. It also comes with compass mode with the scene on the screen moving as you do. No other phone supports this Street View application just yet. It doesn’t have applications like Where or Buddy Beacon built-in, but with the Android Market application store, I can’t imagine it’ll take too long for more location-based applications to be available.
7. Media – One of the big news of the day is that the G1 is the first phone to offer a mobile version of Amazon’s MP3 store, providing a viable alternative to the iTunes store on the iPhone. This is major news and the implications of it are far larger than can be covered here. Suffice to say that Apple better watch its back. As for the music player, I’m not sure if it’ll provide podcasting support yet, but even if it doesn’t, I’m sure a third-party application will be available for it. The G1 also comes with a 3-megapixel camera, which is better than the iPhone’s, but otherwise not too groundbreaking. I liked that you can trim and crop the image directly on the phone and then drag and drop the image to the home screen, which is similar to the LG Dare.
PS: It also appears that the G1 has voice dialing.