I recently attended the Google I/O developer conference where Vic Gundotra, VP of Engineering at Google, had his own “Oprah moment.” Google gave every attendee (estimated around 4,000) a G2 phone with the latest version of Google’s Android mobile operating system.
I went down after school to Moscone West in San Francisco, where Google I/O was held, to attend some sessions and pick up my G2 phone. After picking up my phone and activating it, etc, I spent the rest of the day playing with the phone. Here are my initial comments/feedback for Google if they care to listen. All of this is subject to change, since I’ve spent less then 48 hours with the G2 and my opinion will change in the future.
Google really worked hard with HTC, the makers of the G2, on branding the phone for Google I/O. First of all, the phone is engraved on the back with the Google I/O logo, and the first thing you see when you boot up the phone is a I/O logo as well before it boots up into Android. Google did very well on branding the phone, besides the OS, considering the phone is free for attendees of I/O.
Another feature I really like is the integration of Google products, like GMail, Google Chat, Maps, YouTube and others. Being that I’m a Twitter addict, I had to download Twidroid, the essential Twitter application for Android.
Android has it’s own ‘App Store’ by the name of “Android Market.” In no way is it comparable to Apple’s iTunes App Store; the Market doesn’t have a community involved like the App Store and what Apple has built. However, there are some pretty cool applications like Beetaun, and more.
I said that Google integrated their own applications like GMail, so when you boot the phone for the first time, you put in GMail details, and it grabs your email, and contacts on Google Contacts. With GMail, the mail client automatically fetches messages with the POP3 protocol (I much prefer IMAP), so messages I’ve already elsewhere still appear as unread on the phone. It would be nice to have a setting in the phone to have the email as IMAP, and not just POP3.
Another small beef I have with Android as an operating system is security. It’s very easy for someone to guess your “password” just by looking at your finger smudges on the screen. Android needs much better security then just connecting dots.
At first look, the G2 model seems to be an improvement to G1. I’ve only played with friends G1s, and it’s definitely nice to have an Android phone. I’ll be playing more with the phone in the next month while I have my free service, so I’ll report back after I’ve spent some more quality time with it.