We sit down with the team at Xbox's first-party studio World’s Edge to talk about the journey to bring Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition to Xbox.
Age of Empires 2 on Xbox - The Big Interview
One of the most visually stunning and immersive science fiction games we’ve experienced.
Dead Space Review - A Remake You’d Cut Off A Limb For
Forspoken is a game that consistently fails to deliver, despite some lofty ideas, and manages only to impress in the most obscure moments.
Forspoken Review - An Awkward Experience
A celebration of the long-running franchise and a great way to kick off Switch gaming in 2023.
Fire Emblem Engage Review - Strategy Gold
Post by trog @ 02:17am 24/09/08 | 39 Comments
The formal announcement has been made about the much-anticipated (and hyped) GooglePhone - the first phone to use Google's Android operating system. There's been a lot about this around the place on the various tech blogs for the last few months (as the HTC Dream), but the official T-Mobile website for the phone - dubbed the G1 - is now online (the Flash video intro is a bit boring so you might just want to skip straight to the features page.

Definitely looking forward to reading some reviews about this when it comes out (due October 22 in the US); if it's everything that has been promised then it will almost certainly be a strong contender to the iPhone, especially amongst the more hardcore types.



googleandroidmobile





Latest Comments
trog
Posted 05:53am 24/9/08
Hmm, lack of Exchange support and no desktop sync out of the box doesn't really grab me. Apparently it also doesn't have a standard headphone jack which is a major pet hate.
Spook
Posted 06:04am 24/9/08
phones that dont have standard headphone jacks are fricken annoying

its the one thing i cant stand about my n73
reload!
Posted 07:26am 24/9/08
aww..
I thought google was taking the next step towards becoming skynet.
needs more neuronet processors imo
E.T.
Posted 07:29am 24/9/08
My iphone has a standard iphone jack and my push email/contacts/calendar works a treat :) HTC will be playing catch up for a while yet.
boba
Posted 08:41am 24/9/08
iphone rules!
shad
Posted 09:00am 24/9/08
Is the left hand side of the main slide out screen out of line with the base part of the phone or is that just the angle of the photos?
Dan
Posted 09:04am 24/9/08
Hardware doesn't look on par with the iphone feature wise but I'm sure the software will trump it eventually, if not straight away. Are there any other Android phones expected soon (from other manufacturers?) or will this be the only one for ages?
Nailbomb
Posted 09:17am 24/9/08
Hmm, lack of Exchange support and no desktop sync out of the box doesn't really grab me. Apparently it also doesn't have a standard headphone jack which is a major pet hate.


The exchange thing is a pita, it has been hinted for a while android wouldn't support exchange out of the box, I guess if you were really keen you could push exchange mail/calendar etc to a gmail account but it's a bit messy. With the headphone jack, I was reading this has been a problem with the blackberry's as well but the new blackberry coming (Javelin) support a 3.5 jack. I would have thought you could get an adapter though.

edit: no mention of an expansion SD slot or any other kind of memory card slot, be pretty crappy if you were stuck with only 1Gb space.

last edited by Nailbomb at 09:17:04 24/Sep/08
Fireblood
Posted 09:15am 24/9/08
I would have thought you could get an adapter though.


Yeah but then your stuck with this 3.5mm adapter sticking out of the side of your phone getting caught on s*** etc.
ravn0s
Posted 10:11am 24/9/08
wow that phone looks ugly
Obes
Posted 11:50am 24/9/08
boba's new sig looks like bruised mouldy deformed testicles covered in casa's manmayo.
Midda
Posted 01:26pm 24/9/08
edit: no mention of an expansion SD slot or any other kind of memory card slot, be pretty crappy if you were stuck with only 1Gb space.

It takes MicroSD cards.
3dee
Posted 02:48pm 24/9/08
phones that dont have standard headphone jacks are fricken annoying

Phones that have no headphone jack and require you to use their mini USB s***e headphones are freakin annoying. Woot for iPwn.
Ospi
Posted 02:57pm 24/9/08
Thing looks big and clunky with no major worthwhile advantages over the iphone.
Haklin
Posted 04:55pm 24/9/08
Sony Ericsson Xperia X1 ... destroys all. Can't wait for that to come out. Good first try though google.
trog
Posted 06:56pm 24/9/08
Thing looks big and clunky with no major worthwhile advantages over the iphone.
Well the major advantage is you can run whatever you want, not whatever Apple want to let you run. Although I am not sure how this will integrate with their Marketplace thing - ie, will they let all apps in there? If not, what are the alternatives for people who want to distribute non-approved apps (my understanding is it will be just like Windows Mobile so you just drop a blob somewhere on the net and people can download it).

That said, its certainly not as awesome as I was hoping. I think failing to have Exchange/ActiveSync out of the box coupled with no alternative desktop sync option is a bad, bad call. I've seen a few other people whine about the same thing - its something that makes the phone instantly less desirable to the business world because people know they can't just drop it in their office environment and have it sync their mail in a useful manner - something that the iPhone can do easily (even though Mail.app sucks a fat one).

All you iPhone fanboys are still losers though
Midda
Posted 08:38pm 24/9/08
ie, will they let all apps in there?

Well, they've already said that they'll let people put up unlocking apps if they want, they wont stop them.

All you iPhone fanboys are still losers though

Couldn't agree more.
Opec
Posted 10:23am 25/9/08
Yeah I was a bit underwhelm with what was delivered. Maybe because I expected so much more from Google and with all the hype surrounding the release of the google phone. Hopefully the next one will be better.
TicMan
Posted 10:50am 25/9/08
I wonder about the impact of having an open source phone OS will be.

Mobiles have more accessibility and stupid users (OMG RINGTONES FOR $10 EACH AND $50/WEEK SUBSCRIPTION) so I'd imagine as the entire Android thing is open that there'll be a lot more malicious apps and trickery around.

Is there anything to stop an app being delivered and plonked on a web site that would give free ringtones and wallpapers but hidden behind the scenes it would be exploiting code or working its way towards the insides of the phone to spam emails 3G/GPRS.
Midda
Posted 03:32pm 25/9/08
Open source doesn't mean it's unsecure. Ubuntu (so I've read) has far fewer vulnerabilities than both Windows and Mac OS X, despite being completely open-source.
TicMan
Posted 04:28pm 25/9/08
Open source doesn't mean it's secure either. It's more about the social vulnerabilities that could be created. Kids can sign up to $20/wk subscriptions on their mobiles with 1 SMS - so whats to stop them installing this cool new game that all their friends in the school yard have which in the end is just a mass mailer/premium SMS trojan or something. By providing all this code that relates to the core functions of a phone then I'd believe it would be easier to find ways to exploit the masses via Android OS than the other mobile operating systems.

If your PC gets a virus or trojan it's annoying as s*** but usually requires a format and reinstall. If your phone gets one then it could cost you $$'s with some of the premium SMS services out there.

*nix still has it's fair share of flaws but they are patched and new packages released amazingly quickly to rectify the vulnerabilities. Most distributions these days now download the packages behind the scenes making it oblivious to the end user.
Nailbomb
Posted 04:59pm 25/9/08
If people were that worried about installing random open source apps, they could just stick to the Google app store. I would imagine google will have "google approved" apps, whether they'll only be made available via the google app store or not. Assume it'd be a similar scenario to ubuntu having an official repository for software and a use at your own risk repository.
Midda
Posted 05:05pm 25/9/08
Kids can sign up to $20/wk subscriptions on their mobiles with 1 SMS

Yeah, well I guess it is hard to protect against stupidity.
Haklin
Posted 09:00pm 25/9/08
Ubuntu (so I've read) has far fewer vulnerabilities than both Windows and Mac OS X, despite being completely open-source.


Often a malicious user will not bother targeting a system which has a smaller user base. Considering 90%+ of the world use windows there is a massive 'SHOOT HERE' target that baddy coders love to take aim at.

It's not hard to stay safe with windows if you know what your doing...thats why an open source OS for a phone would be a hackers dream. The amount of prepubescent teenagers that would be clicking like monkeys on crack to find the next 'coolest' app would be ridiculous. Add the potentially low price for the phone and you've got some interesting future prospects in terms of mobile viruses (which at the moment is a highly untapped market).
trog
Posted 10:46pm 25/9/08
I am sure that, just like for Windows Mobile and iPhone, a lot of the apps (if not most of them) will be closed source. The cool thing about Android isn't that people will make open source apps - anyone wanting to sell their apps obviously won't want to do this.

User stupidity is the hardest thing to guard against by far, I reckon
Haklin
Posted 04:53pm 26/9/08
User stupidity is the hardest thing to guard against by far, I reckon


Totally agree. Guess its why vista employed that UAC
Le Infidel
Posted 05:22pm 26/9/08
I didnt read anything in this thread but Im just worried this is like skynet all over again
Le Infidel
Posted 05:23pm 26/9/08
oh ... maybne i should have read the thread after all :/
Midda
Posted 06:02pm 26/9/08
Often a malicious user will not bother targeting a system which has a smaller user base.

After doing 3 seconds of Googling, I found what I was referring to. This mentions Mac OS X being hacked considerably faster than Vista, despite it's smaller user-base. Ubuntu remained completely unscathed, despite being open-source.
Farseeker
Posted 06:23pm 26/9/08
Wow, what a horrible interface. Everything looks dated; obscure gestures; every app is different. This is going to be one nasty phone to use. And usability is everything, so, the gphone? FAIL.

Not only that, a developer has to consider the different Android devices on which their app will run. Some will be multi-touch, some touch, some just hard buttons. The gphone is going to go through a lot of ugly before it gets to a point where it is competitive, if it gets there at all.

I honestly wanted Apple to have some competition... damn.
Farseeker
Posted 06:35pm 26/9/08
...not even any nibbles? :(
Midda
Posted 07:30pm 26/9/08
trog
Posted 08:23pm 26/9/08
I'll bite, not because I care either way, but just because it's fun:
Wow, what a horrible interface. Everything looks dated; obscure gestures; every app is different. This is going to be one nasty phone to use. And usability is everything, so, the gphone? FAIL.
I'm not exactly sure what you're basing this off - a video or screenshots or what? I actually prefer my apps to be different, as it helps them perform different functions.
Not only that, a developer has to consider the different Android devices on which their app will run. Some will be multi-touch, some touch, some just hard buttons. The gphone is going to go through a lot of ugly before it gets to a point where it is competitive, if it gets there at all.
There has been a bit of speculation about this for sure on the tubes, and its a reaaaally interesting point because (IMHO) its what is responsible for s***** uptake of application development/availability on Symbian, which is by FAR the most popular OS on phones. Even though the OS is closed, from what I understand there's a lot of development tools etc out there - but I have no idea (and almost no interest) in looking for apps for it, because I know its on such a huge variety of different hardware that the chances I can find something that'll work on my device seem remote.
I honestly wanted Apple to have some competition... damn.
Regardless of its deficiencies its still a good evolutionary step, if ONLY because of the freedom aspect. T-Mobile are reluctantly taking it in the ass on some aspects of this thing and once we've replaced the bulls*** situation of telco monopolies and 20c SMSes with wifi/3g internet/etc we're all going to be in a better situation.
Farseeker
Posted 10:13pm 26/9/08
Yeh sure thing trog... ;)

I'm basing my opinion on videos like this one: http://www.viddler.com/explore/engadget/videos/55/
Yep that music app is pretty terrific... Haha. But yeah the fact is there are no Android UI guidelines, so it's doomed. There's a difference between good UI guidelines/conventions, and specific UI being enforced. Conventions lead to familiarity, efficiency; a base for the user to learn from. It's like in a good publication, each page is interesting; but there are conventions that hold it all together (commonly the grid, styles..) and help the user through. Throw all of those conventions away and you get Android. The extra screen clutter in apps to support non-multitouch devices is just going to make a bad problem much, much worse.

Another thing - although it's early hardware, the responsiveness is a bit of a joke. And in another video the web browser scrolling jerked around like crazy... yeah it's early days, but this isn't a good way to launch. This thing needs to get designers/developers excited to join The Cause, which should be easy with the App Store's recent insanity. If Google launched an iPhone with freedom, this would be exciting. It's really not.

but I have no idea (and almost no interest) in looking for apps for it, because I know its on such a huge variety of different hardware that the chances I can find something that'll work on my device seem remote.
This sounds a LOT like Android could be. Google could be smart and have the Marketplace favour apps for your device... but I have no faith in their ability to pull off a UI which could make the Marketplace work intuitively for that sort of outcome. FAIL!

But yeah, it's true that Apple now don't have the handheld computing category to itself, which should be a good thing. And its openness should make Apple look bad as a company (they aren't getting the balance right at all). But I don't expect to see an Android device that will interest me for at least the next couple of years, if at all. It's not good for the platform at all.


You're right, this is fun. Did I mention that Safari's latest nightlies have a javascript engine faster than V8? :P

last edited by Farseeker at 22:13:01 26/Sep/08
trog
Posted 10:33pm 26/9/08
You're right, this is fun. Did I mention that Safari's latest nightlies have a javascript engine faster than V8? :P
Well, any webkit based browser will be getting that soon - you can't give Apple any props for integrating what appears to be at the moment the best OSS HTML engine!
Haha. But yeah the fact is there are no Android UI guidelines, so it's doomed. There's a difference between good UI guidelines/conventions, and specific UI being enforced. Conventions lead to familiarity, efficiency; a base for the user to learn from.
Well, this is definitely Apple's strength, and why they make devices that are popular with so many noobs - because they're so easy to use.

I'm not a noob though, I'm a power user. I like my mice to have even more than _2_ buttons! Having no consistent UI style between applications means d*** to me, as long as each application is well constructed for _its_ primary purpose.
The extra screen clutter in apps to support non-multitouch devices is just going to make a bad problem much, much worse.
Hmm I actually read the G1 doesn't even support multitouch - not sure if that's true?
Another thing - although it's early hardware, the responsiveness is a bit of a joke. And in another video the web browser scrolling jerked around like crazy.
I thought that video showed it being fairly responsive? The web browser scrolling was a bit slow, but its not super fast on the iPhone/iPod Touch anyway - it just fudges it better so it looks more responsive than it really is. They certainly could have picked a better demo page to show the scrolling around on though.
But yeah, it's true that Apple now don't have the handheld computing category to itself, which should be a good thing.
Well, in fairness, it should be noted that Apple are still f*****g miles behind eveyone else in marketshare here. I found some good numbers the other day which I have since misplaced - Symbian is still miles ahead in terms of OS marketshare, but it doesn't reaaaaaaaaaally count because I don't think anyone takes it seriously as a 'smartphone'. Blackberry I think is winning there, then Windows Mobile, then maybe Palm - and then iPhone is all the way down at the bottom, obviously because it is still so comparitively new.

I don't think it'll replace blackberrys any time soon - from people that I've spoken to that live by their remote email the Blackberry still kicks the s*** out of the iPhone - especially in the US where apparently they're still having problems with decent cellular coverage (which seems really weird - one dude I spoke to in San Francisco could never get decent coverage even in the middle of the city, wtf?!)

Anyway, I think I'll wait a month or two and see what happens in the Android space in terms of application development and take it from there. I'm not in a rush to get a new phone or anything. I mostly want something I can read ebooks on easily (ipod touch f*****g sucks for that because there's no real buttons to press to go to the next page - scrolling the screen with the touch thing is just a painful way of doing it).
Boxhead
Posted 10:46pm 26/9/08
According to a recent report by IDC, RIM strengthened its position again in the U.S. smartphone market in the second-quarter, leading all manufacturers with 53.6% of the market, up from 44.7% the prior quarter. Apple was next with 19.2%, while Palm held the third spot with 13.4% of the market.


from here It doesn't say anything about windows mobile..

/me stokes fire
trog
Posted 10:52pm 26/9/08
I found it with the power of google combined with my awesome memory:

slashdot post with wikipedia reference: "Based on raw market share, Symbian is the market leader (57%), followed by Blackberry (17%), Windows Mobile (12%), Linux (7%) and then iPhone (2.8%). Android yet to make a showing!"
Farseeker
Posted 11:32pm 26/9/08
C'mon, we're talking about serious handheld computers here, stop getting distracted!

how about ebook readers with autoscroll? There has to be a good way of doing this - have it crawl along at a reasonable reading speed, if you're getting left behind/distracted, just hold the screen and it stops; hands off, and it gradually gets going again. To me the lack of hard buttons is a bold move that is paying off big-time, as apps don't have the traditional constraints - developers can make the best interface to do the job.
Having no consistent UI style between applications means d*** to me, as long as each application is well constructed for _its_ primary purpose.
Ey! I think you still have the wrong idea about what I mean by consistency. What if some Windows desktop apps decided to put the menubar in the bottom right corner; I'm not saying you can't break these rules to make an app the best for its primary purpose, but if "Back" is generally a button in the top-left corner, why change it? These are the things that will make Android phones a waste of time. Software shouldn't be something you need to labour over. Especially when you're out and about and just want to get stuff done.

Yep, G1 doesn't support multitouch. It's all quite awkward and unresponsive when you see how it's used, especially compared to the iPhone. And it's not like it's doing anything special. Same workflows, more taps, more waiting, more guessing what to do next, getting lost in obscure menus with too much text. This isn't how it should be. Devices will come with multi-touch, but I wonder if they will redesign the interfaces to take advantage of it - I have a feeling developers will mostly leave it to work with the lowest common denominator. Android may be where the iPhone is now in a couple years time. Where will the iPhone be?

it just fudges it better so it looks more responsive than it really is
Yes! They recognise the importance of it being a device that is, you know, good for humans to use. Really should be a pre-requisite for anything in this era: Good for humans. Check out this clip. Definitely no win.


Farseeker
Posted 12:02am 27/9/08
I don't think it'll replace blackberrys any time soon
Maybe not. Blackberry seem to have how to make an email device pretty much sussed. So if all you do is email, you'd use a blackberry, which has all the hard buttons, no unnecessary software, no fancy animations. Just email, fast.

If all you do is read ebooks, then there are way cooler devices on the way:



The iPhone is a success in making a device that is flexible to be great at lots of different things. Android is in this same space, but I'm not convinced it's pulling its weight. The general quality of developed apps are going to reflect the built-in apps' general UI dodginess (inconsistency, poorly thought-out, not good for humans). BAD start.
Commenting has been locked for this item.
39 Comments
Show