This year Google handed out limited-edition unlocked G1’s to employees as christmas presents. I picked mine up a few hours ago.

Although I’ve been carrying various versions of the handset for over a year now, it was a new experience to open one of my own from a real consumer box.

The G1 is very close to a post I wrote 3 years ago on the missing disruptive mobile device. (Thank you, Matt Jones, for reminding me about it. I hope the day comes when you emerge from behind the camouflage and return to blog for us once more).

While the power of the G1 in terms of features and functionality is unparalleled, the basic user experience is still a bit stuttery and not yet as velvet-smooth as flow on the iPhone.

If they were Argentine tango dancers, switching from the iPhone to the G1 would be the equivalent of pairing up with a beginner after coasting smoothly with a top dame or don.

This particular beginner is a fast learner though. It also has social object-producing capabilities none of the others have.

The top Android app lists by Gizmodo and TechCrunch seem a bit dated. If you’re an Android user or following the developer circuit, let’s hear from you! What apps should I be installing?

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Mary Ann
December 22nd, 2008 at 10:18 pm (#)

Hi,
I hope you’ll try cooking with your G1 with our app, Cooking Capsules. We have a nice handful of French and Indian recipes and are working on our next diverse selection now.
Best Wishes,
Mary Ann
CEO, Smart Capsules, Inc.

gerrymoth
December 22nd, 2008 at 11:41 pm (#)

No image of this limited-edition version? Is it gold plated, is it titanium grey, is it metal, is it anymore different than the blog standard white or black versions we have seen?

Clay Spinuzzi
December 23rd, 2008 at 10:41 am (#)

SkyMap and Wikitude are both augmented reality programs that use both GPS and compass. The compass is what really sets the G1 apart from the iPhone by making AR possible. Even though Wikitude lacks polish at this point, it really has the most potential of the apps I’ve seen.
aTrackDog periodically checks for updates of the programs you’re using – critical, since Android Market doesn’t do this and programs won’t always tell you when a new version is available.
nanoTweeter is the best of the Twitter notifiers. It uses the system notifications to show new tweets (you can specify the kinds and the users) and makes a nice cheeping sound.
Google integration is generally great. Built-in software such as Maps, Calendar, GMail, and Contacts do a good job of connecting to G services. Download My Maps and you can make your own Google maps, the attraction being that you can post your own GPS coordinates. Download the Picasa app to easily upload and manage photos.
Inexplicably, the G1 still lacks a Jaiku app. Ahem.

Jyri Engestrom
December 23rd, 2008 at 11:32 am (#)

@gerrymoth Here’s a blurry pic taken with my (sic) iPhone.

Steven Echtman
December 30th, 2008 at 1:20 am (#)

Android has a lot of potential and I hope the user base grows to the point where it’s a no-brainer to develop for it. As a web-app platform it should immediately push developers to write more advanced apps for mobile browser standards.

Ken Kennedy
January 8th, 2009 at 5:10 pm (#)

I’m enjoying the media apps, particularly the music stuff. I was unfamiliar with imeem before getting a G1, but it’s quite a nice music streaming app. I just recently installed both the aLast.fm client app, and ScrobbleDroid, which lets me scrobble to last.fm what I’m playing in the Android Music app. I love that…really lets the G1 become part of the cloud, pushing out data on what I’m doing.
I love the functionality that these new powerful smartphones (iPhone, G1, etc.) are putting in people’s hands, and I especially love the freedom that Google’s choice to open-source the platform gives Android. I think it’s a crucial advantage.

Todd
January 10th, 2009 at 8:00 am (#)

I recommend the native Android Twitter client Twitdroid ( @twidroid ).
An aspect of Android development you may find interesting is Oilcan ( http://oilcan.jsharkey.org ) which is kinda like GreaseMonkey, but much more powerful. Oilcan scripts can enable website’s to access an Android phone’s address book, sensors, camera, etc. Writing Oilcan scripts relatively simple and don’t require the knowledge or overhead of full blown application development.
Also, I had a quick question – When you wrote;
“…It also has social object-producing capabilities none of the others have.”
What is Android’s “object-producing capability”? Can you elaborate on that more? Or is there a previous post you have written that goes into more detail?

Todd
January 10th, 2009 at 8:46 am (#)

I recommend the native Android Twitter client Twitdroid ( @twidroid ).
An aspect of Android development you may find interesting is Oilcan ( http://oilcan.jsharkey.org ) which is kinda like GreaseMonkey, but much more powerful. Oilcan scripts can enable website’s to access an Android phone’s address book, sensors, camera, etc. Writing Oilcan scripts relatively simple and don’t require the knowledge or overhead of full blown application development.
Also, I had a quick question – When you wrote;
“…It also has social object-producing capabilities none of the others have.”
What is Android’s “object-producing capability”? Can you elaborate on that more? Or is there a previous post you have written that goes into more detail?

Jyri Engestrom
January 10th, 2009 at 9:15 am (#)

@Todd thanks for the Oilcan pointer. Passing parameters between Web sites and native apps also connects to what I meant with social object-producing capabilities. Producing a social object involves capturing a real-world phenomenon into machine-readable parameters and sharing it online. Android has been designed from the ground up with developers in mind, so there are handles for developers to control sensors like camera, GPS, motion sensor, keyboard, touchscreen, microphone, etc. Android will also run on a range of different kinds of hardware in the not-so-distant future, so it is likely that there will be other sensors too. It is thus a powerful instrument for developers looking to enable their users to create and share new social objects.
Since you were wondering about previous writings: here’s an older post on what makes a good social object.

Peter B.
January 30th, 2009 at 7:29 am (#)

I wish HTC had followed your design more closely :p I’d love to have a trackwheel and alt-tab on the G1!

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