T-Mobile G1: developers, developers, developers!


Tmo_g1logoMatt Miller kicks his new Smartphones and Cell Phones blog into high gear with a lengthy overview of the T-Mobile G1 handset. Matt spent well over two hours playing with the phone yesterday and although he ordered one, he’s not overwhelmed just yet. After reading his thoughts, I’m feeling the same way. At least initially.Much as I suspected last week, the story here is about the Android platform and the software. Matt notes that there are many G1 limitations on day one:

  • No Exchange support, which could be a deal-breaker for some
  • No desktop app, and therefore no way to sync with any local-only data
  • No app for Notes, Tasks, or even RSS reading. Why no Google Reader app, Matt asks?
  • No support for videos, other than YouTube
  • Music can only be downloaded from the Amazon MP3 store over WiFi

When asked about the lack of these and other apps, the response Matt received was “Developers are welcome to create” whatever apps there’s a demand for. (Why does this video suddenly come to mind?) In theory that’s fine, but in practice? Time will tell. One other interesting thought: the G1’s inability to sync to a personal computer might be one of the first phones (high-end or smarphone, that is) in recent memory that can’t do this. I’m wondering if this signals a switch in the phone market: away from the desktop and towards the cloud.


Jason D

sumocat, look over at google. They’ve had the SDK available for months. In fact, they had a contest to get developers jazzed about creating content, and picked some winners who would be completely subsidized.

One app, for example, let’s you use the G1’s phone to take a picture of a product’s barcode and then comb the web for the best deals.

Dig a little! There’s nothing more annoying than someone sitting in front of a vast, and constantly increasing information stream, and refusing to use it.

Mike H.

The Danger Sidekick has always been a cloud device. Even the 3rd party apps sync their data to a back end server that always restores auto-magically with a new device.

There is also a sync solution with Outlook, but even that is done through the cloud.


I find myself unable to form an opinion about the G1. The roll-out seems terribly incomplete. Lot of talk about openness, but no talk about standards. Lot of reliance on third-party apps, but no mention of how they’ll be integrated into the system. Are they running from the microSD card? Lot of hope resting on the developers, but where are the developers lining up to code for Android? And no mention of security? Right now, Android looks like it will be to mobile phones what Linux is to PCs. There’s nothing wrong with Linux of course, but it’s not strongly associated with mainstream consumers either.

Kevin C. Tofel

Joel, I don’t disagree with your commentary or analysis at all. In fact, I pointed out that this is one of the first “cloud-only” phones. However, I think the issue for many folks is that they have to BET on open-source developers to meet their needs. Currently, many needs won’t be met by the phone. I hope you’re right, but I don’t think this concern is unfounded. People don’t want to buy a phone for features and functions it might have (or might not have) in the future; they want a phone that meets their needs now and in the short-term. Definitely worth watching to see how this all unfolds!

Joel McLaughlin

Oh….David Zatz: There will be NO cost….it will be free. I am betting vlc will be running on the G1 if not on day one, very soon after.

Joel McLaughlin

First off, the G1 is a exclusive cloud device. Everything is to be in the cloud. There’s no RSS reader because you can use Google Reader via the browser. There’s no desktop sync because your supposed to use Gmail and Gcal. With that said, within months of it coming out, it will have all of this and more.

Also, and it’s been pointed out in a couple places, there’s no video player because it won’t take long to get VLC ported to the G1 and then it can play ANYTHING…..more codecs then the iPhone even.

You guys are listening to Google and Tmobile only and aren’t looking at the fact that this is a OPEN SOURCE device. With in days to months of the device being released in the wild it will have all of this….and more.

Dave Zatz

I came away shaking my head… no native video player? No standard audio jack? No desktop PIM sync? Things that not only does the iPhone have, but so does Blackberry, Windows Mobile, and S60. They did not hit one out of the park yesterday. The openess suggests these things will come – but when, by whom, and for how much?


While it was an initial shock that there’s no desktop sync, it came to mind that it might be because it links to a Google Mail account.

There are many utilities and plug-ins that will sync your Outlook or iCal/Address Book, etc. with the Google cloud.

Still, it’s not obvious unless you scour the web for the right program for your particular needs, and most of these open-source apps may be beyond the reach of your everyday user.

Then again, the Google Phone wasn’t initially designed for your everyday user. IMHO, I don’t see the rush or desire of your non-technical, typical Smartphone user to be clamoring for the G1.

Comments are closed.