Byon January 15, 2009 8:00 AM
On Monday, my FedEx package arrived with my Android Dev Phone 1. It’s essentially exactly the same as a T-Mobile G1, but it’s SIM-unlocked and doesn’t required a signed firmware. I’ve been considering upgrading the firmware to cupcake, what is expected to become Android 1.1, but I’ve not done it yet, since that firmware has been pretty unstable in the emulator, making me nervous about using it on what I’m trying to use as my only phone.
Opening the box was exciting, since I’d really been anticipating the device. I hurriedly unboxed it, and plugged it in, placing my SIM card from my old phone into it. Upon booting the device for the first time, I had trouble activating it to my Google account, because it wasn’t configured properly with the AT&T APN. If you’re using the AT&T network, the APN that worked for me, was this:
APN: wap.cingular Username: firstname.lastname@example.org Password: CINGULAR1
The only thing that isn’t working for me is 3G connections, but this is related to the fact that the AT&T network uses 3G on the 850MHz and 1900MHz bands, while the Dev Phone 1 operates at 1700MHz and 2100MHz, so this is a hardware limitation that I was already aware of. It’s disappointing, but as I said, I knew it was going to be there. Aside from that, I am unable to connect to the Wireless network at work, but that is because it requires either PEAP support (which the iPhone lacked until it’s 2.0 revision) or VPN support. So, while at work, I’m stuck at EDGE network speeds, which honestly, is still generally fast enough for e-mail and other basic network uses.
Of course, I didn’t buy the phone just to get a phone. I am working on a few applications, and I’m looking to contribute to the open source project, so I do plan to use the phone as a development platform, but I do think I’m going to enjoy using it. The phone is significantly faster than the emulator, and there are lots of interesting apps in the Market already.
I do have a few complaints, however. I’m having trouble with the Alarm Clock being too quiet to wake me in the morning, but that might be related to the fact that it’s been laying on it’s speaker at night. The device will not import your contacts off the SIM card, I’m looking into if it’ll be at all possible to correct that. The touch screen is taking a bit of getting used to, in that some elements (particularly on the web) can be hard to select, but I believe that’s mostly an issue of learning the input.
Is the device perfect? No. Is the OS perfect? No. But the potential there is amazing. I would say that it has, in many ways, already shown itself to be a technologically superior platform to the alternatives. However, time will tell on the developer support. I like the development model, but while there are plenty of interesting apps on the Market, there is a lot of garbage too. But then, there is a lot of trash on the iPhone App Store as well. Once the Market opens up to pay apps, I think we’ll see some more interesting trends.