For some time now, I have been talking about the dated Symbian platform and of my desire to try out some of the newer mobile platforms (for example, see What Nokia Needs to Fix – Right Away!). I need not mention again that I have been “Symbian Inside” all my mobile life. Yes; I tried out my hands on WinMo and Palm once or twice, but Symbian has remained my net of safety. Plus, no-one will argue when I say that those other two platforms I had checked out do not exactly cut it as “newer”.
Anyway, I ran into an offer for a used Android-powered G1 yesterday, and decided it wouldn’t hurt to give it a try. It was a low-cost offer; if I didn’t like the OS, I could chalk the expense as a minor waste.
For the sake of smartphone newbies, Android is the new mobile operating system that the guys at Google developed. And the T-mobile G1 is the very first smartphone based on that platform.
As things go, this morning, ‘Dayo and I drove down to Ibadan to pick up the T-mobile G1. It was a long day, but we are back and with an “Android” in our hands.
I will be doing a series of review articles on the G1 and the Android platform in general, so if interested, please grab our RSS feed or bookmark this site right away.
But before then, the crazy adventurous me went out of my way (with some measure of the usual risks) to make sure that this Android was brought up-to-date.
First thing, the G1 still had the email of the original user locked in. Meaning, I could not use it for my Gmail account or Google services in general. I figured that wouldn’t do. So, I did a factory reset.
That wiped out everything on the phone and returned it to a clean state. But I still had to activate it by logging in to my Gmail account (the G1 is designed not to work without an active Gmail account).
The issue was, for some reason the device simply could not login. No data indicators were showing on the screen. Anyway, after minutes of fiddling, I found the APN Settings menu (no other menu would come up besides emergency calls), and put in my network’s data settings.
Voila! In a few minutes, I had the G1 downloading my mails and running as designed. That was step one.
Firmware Update to Cupcake (version 1.5)
The G1 we picked came with firmware version 1.1. But you see, a long-awaited and certainly juicier firmware had been released of recent – version 1.5, dubbed “Cupcake”.
I downloaded the update file from Google, copied it to my microSD card on the phone, and followed the instructions. In roughly 5 minutes, I had a spanking new firmware running on the G1.
Now, I can really put it through its paces. Here are a few pictures from the update process:
This introduction will not be complete if I do not mention that ‘Dayo had a brief go at the browser on the G1, and suddenly did a u-turn (or so it seemed).
You see, while I had been toying with the idea of exploring other mobile platforms, ‘Dayo had planted his feet firmly with Symbian, especially Symbian s60 5th edition. He owns a 5800 and has been nursing the ambition of getting the N97 when that is released.
But a few minutes with the G1 user interface and web browser did what I had been unable to do. ‘Dayo simply used certain adjectives to describe the user interfaces and browsers on Nokia (and Symbian) devices. Adjectives like: “rubbish“, and “nonsense“. And remarks like, “Why is Nokia doing us this way?” etc, etc. I’m sure that you get the picture by now.
If this first child of Android could make ‘Dayo have a re-think about S60 5th edition (a much older and mature platform), there must be something to this new kid on the block then.