On Thursday I went along with Bryan Stearns to lloyd center while he purchased a G1. I was still set against a contract as i have have been happily using prepaid service for at least the last three years. The employee who helped Bryan buy a G1 was efficient and courteous. At the food court I ate lunch while Bryan unboxed the G1. Once the cover was off (kind of tricky) and the battery and SIM installed, the setup was simply entering a gmail address and password. Calendar entries, contacts, and email began immediately syncing with the phone. Once I saw the gmail app I though of the sidekick. I had a first generation sidekick years ago with tmobile. It was the sidekick that introduced me to always-on data and a pocket internet terminal. I'll never forget the feeling of walking down a sidewalk, hearing a quick tone, and knowing i had received a new email. There is a curious continuation with Android as Andy Rubin founded Danger and is now director of mobile platforms for Google.
The architecture of Android apps is different to any other platform. Applications are divided into units called activities and called up at will. Applications can make calls on the specific activities of other applications to subsume their functionality. There is also protection between activites if one crashes, similar to tabs in the chrome browser. The apps so far have been hit or miss. The UPC lookup apps has been surprisingly fun to use. The UI for apps is all over the board, with one app striving to look like an iPhone UI and doing a good job of it. The support for background processes is already providing big benefits to the platform - advantages over the iPhone. My gtalk account is now the single best way to reach me. For the last 10 years my phone has been on pretty much 24/7 and on my person for most waking hours. The phone is continually registered with google talk and alerts me to new messages. The separate IM application is launched to read or write IMs. The unlimited data plan has in an instant killed the SMS model. I have not tried the skype app but that could be a voice-minutes killer. If wifi APs were more cooperative, a wifi enabled pocket device could replace cell carriers completely.
the battery life has been appalling on the G1. then i talked to Jaacob who has a 3g iPhone and said its battery life was horrible at first, too, but got better with future OS upgrades. overall its been great fun to be online for IM, twitter, and shizzow when i'm biking or walking or otherwise formerly offline.