posted 4 Nov 2008 08:00 by Stephen Hind
Well it's now 5 days after I got the G1 so I thought it's time to make some more comment on my experience using Android on the G1.
Overall it's been very good and "does what it says on the tin", but I have found a few issues.
I'm going to split the issues into various areas of the G1.
The battery life is very short: if you browse the web on Wi-Fi you can flatten it in an afternoon. This sounds like the device is power hungry, which it no doubt is due to the features it has (large, very bright colour screen, Wi-Fi, GPS etc.), but the battery charges really quickly as well, which suggests that the battery could do with more capacity rather than the device sapping it all the time.
I don't have a major issue with the keyboard, it's just not a UK keyboard: to get the quotation marks " you need to use the ALT and K keys (yes I do mean ALT) and a pound sign £ you need to use ALT and W. Now it's not a US keyboard either (but similar), so that may be HTC/Google's excuse.
It's not great but this is my first hand-held device with Wi-Fi so it may be normal (tiny aerials). I'm comparing it to my laptop, which has an aerial embedded in the 17" screen, so not a fair comparison really. There are places in my house where it drops the signal that my laptop has not, but as I said it's not a fair comparison.
No Web Proxy
Android doesn't offer any way to enter a web proxy so if you want to browse the web, or use any of the web-based apps (Google Mail, Maps etc.) then you can't as it can't get there. To give an example at my employer no one can get the web without going through the proxy server, so the G1 can't get mail etc. when using Wi-Fi there. Android doesn't even try to use the 3G/HDSPA mobile connection that's available (which I understand normally, but surely it should have a go if it cannot connect. This suggests that Google have not intended it to be used in a corporate environment, which I don't believe.
For some reason Google have not programmed Android to rotate the screen as you rotate the device: it makes it appear that the device doesn't know that it's rotating or which way is up; but this is not that case. I installed Pac Man from the Market and the way you move the on-screen joystick is to rotate the device in the appropriate direction, so the G1 does know which way it sits.
There's a few here, so they're in a list.
- It's crashed a couple of times and once after writing a big e-mail, which it didn't save a draft of - very annoying!
- Cannot download attachments I can only get a preview of some. Now I know this is by design but that's a silly design as it's the same in the Browser. Say I want to download something to fix someone's computer, like a Zip file, and then use the USB to get it off I can't as Android won't let me download anything it cannot open.
- I cannot see the e-mail address of the person that sent the mail, only their name.
- You cannot select multiple mails, so if there's a few you need to Archive you have to go into each mail and archive each one, rather than just ticking the mail and then Archive once, like in the mobile web interface.
Again a few, so another list.
- No flash means there's a few websites that will have little boxes showing a plug-in is required. Flash support is on its way, so will be resolved soon.
- No Java means that some websites will have functions that don't work. This isn't really an issue for me as I don't use any websites that need Java, but I can't help but think that no Java and no Flash have to do with Android being Open Source and they're both proprietary.
- Cannot download files you have no application to open: this means you cannot download a Zip to use on another computer by taking it off through USB.