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G1 Review: Marketplace

Posted by: on Dec 4, 2008 | No Comments

Just a quick addition to this series. The G1, being an Android phone, uses the Android Marketplace – a place similar to the iPhone’s App Store, but much more open. Developers can’t charge for apps yet (although that will change next month). The result should be familiar to anyone who’s used SourceForge or cruised for Linux or (ahem) OpenZaurus applications.

On the one hand, you have some really inventive applications. I’ve already mentioned Wikitude, the augmented reality travel guide. But you also have the bar code scanners (ShopSavvy, CompareAnywhere, Barcode Scanner), location-aware applications (Sky Map, Breadcrumbs, Marvin, GPS Tracker, LifeAware), front ends for social networking (MySpace Mobile, FBook, etc.), music and video players, weather applications, to do lists, and so forth.

I’m disappointed that few of these seem to leverage the accelerometer. One of the few that do is Ring Control, an application that puts the phone in vibrate mode if it’s upside down or face down. Instead of manually silencing it during meetings (or class), you just place it in the appropriate orientation. Fantastic idea — but since Android treats the ringer separately from other notifications (email, text), it hasn’t been a winner for me.

Although you have some inventive applications, and a nice range of them, the market is also filled with a lot of beta software (some of it not even beta). The UI work is inconsistent across apps too. It’s certainly not an iPhone experience – but that’s not why you would buy this phone, right? If you want a tightly controlled experience, the iPhone is there. If you want to run a Unix terminal on your phone or turn your photos into LOLCats, then you have the G1.

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