Friday, June 26, 2009

Google Android Phone in Malaysia

Google gave me a phone when i attended Wherecamp 09 at Palo Alto in May 2009. They distributed phones to some attendees who promised to develop android applications and blog about the experience. I understand it is the HTC G1, the first android phone.

When the keyboard is opened it looks like this

Looks like this when carrying around.

err, the android application is in development. So i thought i better summarize how well the phone works in Malaysia.

The phone is a developer model, so comes unlocked and not with a plan, which is how the phone is sold in USA, and as i understand how Celcom plan to roll out the model here, similar to the Maxis roll out of the iphone in Malaysia.

When i put my Celcom SIM card in the phone in the USA, it did not connect to the network. Back in Malaysia, it immediately found the network and connected ok.

I previously used a Nokia E61 with a Celcom mobile broadband plan. I also carried a Palm Zire22 with my contacts and an ipod touch with the calender syncing virtually with Google calender.

Now i have just the G1. I never worked how to transfer contacts from the Palm OS to the Nokia, but it was really simple to export to a VCF file which was imported into Google Contacts in Google mail.

When the phone starts you login to your google account and presto all your gmail, calender and contacts are there. Cool. If you are in outlook or office mail systems, i guess that will take more work.

The android market is not as happening as the iphone applications but there are enough to keep me happy.

Google Maps works great. It finds your present location fast and accurately. Glympse works well also. The google maps were more detailed than Tele Atlas on the Garmin, when i travelled last weekend from JB to Kuantan via Mersing, endau, Rompin, Pekan etc. I got the maps live with Celcom 3G, no problems.

Twitgo for twitter and Facebook applications are ok, maybe not as rich as the iphone applications, but sufficient.

Barcode scanning, GPS applications , and a few games the kids downloaded all work fine.

Major Issue: Battery life... Heavy usage drains the battery. I have not got through 24 hours without recharging. Luckily the charge is a mini USB port so i steal the Garmin charger in the car. The provide a AC adaptor with European round plugs, and a USB cable so you could charge from a notebook.

MInor Issue: There is only one USB mini port and the headphones use the same port. So if you are driving in the car you can either charge the device OR use the headphones to speak hands free, not both at the same time.

This phone has attracted attention from nerds and geeks. It is for techies. If you like style then the iphone is for you. I do not listen to music so i cannot talk about the itunes capability. If you are a heavy email user, manage calender and contacts and twitter and facebook then this is a good alternative.

I have laboured with multiple devices for many years. This is one great machine that cuts down the excess baggage.

You can really leave town without the notebook.


marvinlee said...

Nice review which sums it all, Razlan.
Thanks for letting me have a feel of the G1 too. :)

razlan said...

may your life be filled with androids...