Tuesday, December 2, 2008

State of Android - December 2008

If you look around the Web, there is not a lot of information about the G1 nor a lot going on with Android. I think that is to be expected.

Well, not quite true.  We know that HTC expects to sell 1 million G1s by the end of 2008.  An incredible feat if you ask me.  But that is likely based on Google's involvement.  It's the reason I bought into Android.

But since I've gotten it, I have had a love and not-so-love relationship with the device.  First, the design for G1 has lead me to believe that it's a rush-out-the-door device and not necessarily something that Google had envisioned.  It's a debatable point but what isn't debatable is the beta feel of Android.  It is hard to argue this point since Google gave Android Marketplace a beta status.

But in the last few days, a few apps have come out to help make things more palpable, more in line with what I expect from Google and developers in general.  Which apps?

Let me start with Doggcatcher.  It's a podcast retriever that works well and allows users to pull podcasts from virtually any source.  Only recently is this feature built into the iPhone but I like the fact that its an app that independent of Google.  It's also an app I use a lot and pulling 50MB podcasts over a fast 3G and Wi-Fi really helps.

Another app I like is StreamFurious.  It's an app that allows the user to listen to radio over the 3G network.  I love NPR and the BBC and StreamFurious lets me do just that help satisfied an early criticism I had about Android for the lack of streaming access to certain media, particularly talk radio.  I've used up gobbles of bandwidth with this app and I don't care one bit if T-Mobile does try to throttle down my access.  I simply love it.  I was able to go on a run with BBC updating me on events in India (very very sad for the nation and humanity in general) and when I tired of it, I switched over to the MP3 or podcasts.

I have one other app that I like to highlight here.  Before I get into that, I want to say that G1 allows me access to fast Internet, push e-mail (though limited to Gmail), provides me with a mobile platform from which I can run my life, and if need be, a business.  With better apps now, I'm more able to "connect" as I believe Google's vision for mobility is.

Textonphone is the app I want to highlight.  It's readily available on Safari for the iPhone but I haven't been able to access it on G1's browser.  Now, this ebook reader give me access to thousands of titles.  And I'm talking about just classics which we can read over the Internet or download.  I'm also talking about new books by A-list authors.  I don't know how they have the rights to give readers access to those works and I suspect they don't (a lot of books are updated by users and shared), but knowing that it's there is awesome.  So, finally, an ebook reader.

There are two a couple of more things I like Google to work out for Android.  Better IM as in always on IM, a more efficient Android,  and blogging tools.  I wouldn't mind seeing Google Gears for Android.  Right now, I've had to resort to using e-mails for blogging which I think it rather stupid coming from Google.  Also, G1's battery is just being killed.  Maybe it's the 3G hardware but I still wonder if Android can't be tweaked to be more efficient.

As for IM, it's ridiculous that only gTalk stays connected while other networks can't do the same.  If I can do that in my laptop, I should be able to do that with my G1.  Meebo has recently released their own G1 app but it's still buggy and it doesn't stay connected in the background.

So, things are still promising but not quite there yet.  For those looking to get into G1, it's as good as any device out there san the iPhone.  I'm sorry if folks don't agree.  I expect a lot from Google and I believe they will deliver eventually.  But right now, I wouldn't pit the G1 with the iPhone.

G1 stands well on its own but I do recommend that people wait until G2 or whatever it'll be called.  There are a couple of other companies out there who will be coming out with their own Android devices.  I'm guess we'll see them towards the middle of 2009 at the earliest.

Wait and see.  I'm optimistic given Google's supposed openness for Android.

Note:  I guess I'm a bit torn.  I want to give G1 and Android raving reviews but I haven't even started on a review.  It's simply won't be fair I think given what I've used in the past.  I had hoped that when the G1 launched, there would be hundreds of apps on Android Marketplace but that didn't happen and if you ask any iPhone user out there, the 10K+ apps in the iTunes app store is a large part of what makes the iPhone so cool to use.


Michael Martin said...

My main concerns are the weak battery and lack of internal memory.

Undoubtably the G2 will leapfrog this device but a true G2 wont be available until Q2 2009 at the earliest.

Great thoughts and please share any future ones at Google And Blog

,Michael Martin

kokoroneko said...

g1droid.com. I am working real real hard to put in as Much information as i can on each application that has information readily accessible!!!! wee! I just started about a few days ago.But you are right, there just isnt enough on android or g1 yet. I found your blog by searching one of the apps.

Paul_onxo said...


I'm be firing more up app reviews and stuff once the app store gets rolling.

I don't see a lot of excitement yet given that the store is still in beta. Hope things'll turn around fast.