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If you were a G1, and you were born today, what cell phone would you be?
December 2, 2009 12:10 PM   Subscribe

I would like to buy a nice new cell phone with a physical keyboard to replace a broken G1. Please help me with any knowledge about the Droid or the Cliq or any other suggestions you may have!

So my G1 recently died a horrible death, and although I quite liked both the phone itself and the Android OS, I'm wary about getting another G1 to replace it, given the age of the product.

I liked the G1 mainly for the easy access to my gmail account, the web browsing, and the easy access to Google Maps, which I used pretty much daily and which I was utterly delighted by, whenever they added new bells and whistles to it.

I've looked into the Droid (which seems like a nicely high-tech update), but I find typing on the keyboard to be unpleasant; the keys are all flat and flush, leading me to accidentally push buttons I didn't mean to press with my GIANT APE FINGERS. Is there some way I could mod these with, like, a tiny dab of clear epoxy on the center of each key to lift and separate them? (I realize this sounds like a five-year-old's solution to the problem, but that's generally how I roll in this lifetime.)

Another alternative might be the Cliq, but if my basic research is right, it's on the earlier iteration of the Android OS, yes? Will it be updated to Android 2.0? The keyboard looks much better on the Cliq, although I don't really care about all the social apps and whatnot that it seems to excel at. And if all I want is an old iteration of Android with a comfy keyboard, wouldn't I be better off getting the cheaper G1?

I'm also receptive to a caution that I should just wait; that soon enough, some new Android device will stroll along to replace the Droid, and that it may well have a better keyboard and physical push-buttons on the front.

I'm out of my t-mobile contract now (FREE, FREE), so I'm happy to switch to any carrier that will do a nice job of being good to me.
posted by Greg Nog to Technology (19 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Upgrades to Android 2.0 are really at the mercy of the handset manufacturers so it will be hit and miss. Apparently the Heros are getting 2.1 but I don't think there's any way to know for sure until updates actually arrive.

Don't buy another G1. I like the Droid a lot but opinions on the keyboard range from hatred to apathy so if you don't like it don't expect to like it more as time goes on.

My guess is that you'll see more 2.0/2.1 devices in the New Year so this may be a situation where you wait it out a bit. If you liked the G1 you could try to buy a used one on eBay to tide you over until more 2.0+ handsets/updates arrive.
posted by GuyZero at 12:25 PM on December 2, 2009


I bought the Droid. Love this keyboard though and can type real fast on it already. I don't think it's as bad as reviews make it out to be. I haven't had a physical (qwerty) keyboard on a phone since the Sidekick 1, so maybe it is because I don't have much of a reference point for the keyboard. But I really have few problems with the keyboard at this point (a month of daily use).

I also agree that there are going to be other Android devices coming out soon, but I think that is always the case with technology. There will always be something bigger/better/faster around the corner.
posted by tommccabe at 1:06 PM on December 2, 2009


I can't imagine that the Cliq, will stay at 1.5 (or is it at 1.6) for very long, it just seems that the Android phones with the custum ui's tend to lag behind a bit when it comes to upgrades.

That being said I would wait until x-mas and see what is out then. Also, assuming you have decent service in your area no other carrier will be as good to you as T-Mobile in my experience.
posted by BobbyDigital at 1:47 PM on December 2, 2009


No helpful advice other than what other people have already said, but there's a MeMail in your inbox regarding your 'sploded G1.
posted by InsanePenguin at 2:38 PM on December 2, 2009


The Cliq's battery life is rediculous, I mean seriously, seriously bad. There's supposed to be an update that improves it, though I haven't heard when. My boyfriend has one. I have the G1. I thought the G1 was bad, but the Cliq is literally half that. It is a constant source of frustration for him.

I'd say hold off a few months, especially if the Droid isn't your cup of tea. There's bound to be a few more Android phones coming out soon.
posted by caveat at 2:54 PM on December 2, 2009


I love my Droid. At first, I was quite unimpressed with the physical keyboard; it was much worse than the Samsung i760 windows mobile phone I had before. But, it quickly grew on me, and while it's not stellar, my ability to type on it improved quite rapidly.

I think the dab of epoxy idea is likely to create problems; the reason the keys are the way they are is that there's not a lot of clearance.
posted by JMOZ at 3:30 PM on December 2, 2009


I got the G1 a little while ago, kept it for two weeks and returned it. That keyboard is impossible (and I'm a very good touch typist.) I'm on T-Mobile, so I replaced it with the HTC TouchPro -- and I love it. Keys are raised enough so you don't fat-finger every other letter; good level of tactile feedback.

Now, here's the thing -- it's running Win Mobile. I know that has zero sex appeal, but the truth is I love it. Pretty much infinitely customizable -- if you want it to look (and play) like an iPhone, there's an app for that. :-) A dozen different shells so you can find the one that works for you, apps for pretty much anything -- and it will run Google Voice, Opera 10 with Flash, and a whole lot of other things Apple "protects" you from.

As for the G1 -- the other reason I bailed is that, although it accepts an SD card, YOU CAN'T RUN APPS FROM IT. So when you hit maybe a dozen or so apps on the G1, you start getting overload and "uninstall other applications to free up space" messages. Totally ridiculous.

Only complaint about the TouchPro -- it only goes into landscape mode if you open the keyboard. Otherwise, it's terrific.
posted by citysquirrel at 6:26 PM on December 2, 2009


I'm thinking citysquirell means the touch pro 2. I also have it and love it to bits, one great feature it has over the others mentioned is a real honest to goodness 3.5mm jack for headphones so I now forgo my ipod cellphone combo and just carry the one device. Also if win mobile isnt your thing htc put a great front end on the pro2 and the whole thing can be altered if you have the inclination to check out xda dev forums. I also wanted an android phone at first but just couldn't find a good keyboard and a solid phone, but the tp2 meets both.
posted by dstopps at 7:18 PM on December 2, 2009


Duh...yeah, the TouchPro 2, of course. And yes, the headphone jack is great.

Also, you can install apps directly from either your desktop or your SD card, straight from the cab files. No "app store" necessary. No walled garden. It's YOUR phone and you can do what you want with it.

Like dstopps, I love it to death.
posted by citysquirrel at 10:40 PM on December 2, 2009


Sprint has the Samsung Moment with Android OS and a physical keyboard. I'm afraid I don't know if people like it though.
posted by fieldtrip at 10:42 PM on December 2, 2009


citysquirrel- the death-knell that turned me off WM forever was that my WM 6.1 phone (referenced above) decided to eat my SD card, which is apparently a known issue that hasn't been addressed at all! Basically, the data is all still there, but no where on the internet has anyone found a way to recover it that actually works. Seems like a pretty big bug, especially since it just randomly happened one day while the phone was sitting in my pocket. The moral of the story- always backup EVERYTHING.

Plus, WM feels kludgy unless (1) you customize it extensively, which can be time consuming, or (2) HTC customizes it for you, which is, I believe, the case with the TP2.
posted by JMOZ at 8:08 AM on December 3, 2009


I have the Droid. I was hell-bent on getting a phone that had a physical keyboard and would accept no substitutes. I've had Droid for a while now, however, and I must admit that I almost always use the on-screen keyboard for everything. It's not too bad and I hear that there are even better ones that you can download in the market. For most of the words, I just have to type a few letters and the word that I want shows up in the suggested list below. This makes typing so much easier. That said, I have petite hands and I still find myself hitting the wrong key quite often (I frequently end up hitting enter when actually I am trying to hit delete). I'm not as used to touchscreens, though, so that may be a personal issue with it.

The physical keyboard is OK. I do not think I would do anything to a new phone that could not be reversed. I'm trying to gauge how much clearance there is between the keys and the phone as it slides in. If I had to guess, I'd say it's just short of a millimeter. A thin stock business card slides in the gap fine, but a thick stock business card goes in with a tight fit. Anything that you could put on the keys that would make a difference to your typing would probably not fit. The idea does intrigue me, however - my old Palm Treo had nubby little keys that I kind of miss.

I'm not sure what network the Cliq is on, but I asked a Verizon rep if the Android 1.5-running Eris would ever be upgraded and he said most likely not.
posted by bristolcat at 10:47 AM on December 3, 2009


Android devices with OS version.

Personally I'd get a droid Eris (aka Hero). HTC announced in October that they would be releasing an android 2.0 upgrade.

Otherwise, get service on T-Mobile or AT&T and buy an unlocked phone on eBay.
posted by blue_beetle at 11:23 AM on December 3, 2009


Also: This is HTC's tweet about upgrading the Eris to 2.0
posted by blue_beetle at 11:24 AM on December 3, 2009


The Nolia N900 is an interesting device - much more open than Android. If you can find one.
posted by Aztekker at 8:07 PM on December 4, 2009


So I decided to wait until I find a device that really sings to me before I sign up for any kind of new contract. In the meantime, I replaced my broken G1 with one that I bought used off a guy on craigslist. Thanks for your advice, everybody!
posted by Greg Nog at 10:06 AM on December 10, 2009


Five months later, I've continued using my craigslist-procured replacement G1, and it seems like the LG Ally may be exactly what I've been waiting for. Looking forward to trying it out!
posted by Greg Nog at 8:35 AM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


OH, SO I HUNG ONTO MY G1 PHONE FOR A VERY LONG TIME

SORRY I FORGOT TO TAKE OFF CASP LOCK AND ITS TOO LATE TO GO BACK NOW

SO THEN MY PHONE BROKE, IT WAS A G1

I WENT TO THE T-MOBILE WEBSITE AND ENTERED THE CHAT HELP SCREEN

HELLO, I SAID, PLEASE HELP ME FIX THIS PHONE, THE TOUCHSCREEN STOPPED WORKING AND NOW I CANT RESET IT TO FACTORY SETTINGS

WE CANT HELP YOU THEY SAID, WE THINK YOU SHOULD BUY A NEW PHONE

OH DEAR, SAYS I

WHAT DO YOU HAVE FOR ME, I ASKED

THEY SAID A TMOBILE MYTOUCH SLIDE IS GOOD FOR ANDROID WITH A KEYBOARD

I SAID OKAY, HOW MUCH THAT IS

THEY SAID LIKE 180

I SAID WHAT!!!! THAT IS LIKE AS MUCH AS AN IPHONE, BOO, YOU TRIPPIN!

THEY SAID SORRY THAT IS HOW IT IS

OKAY I SAID I WILL TRY TO SIGN UP FOR VERIZON AND GET THE ALLY BECAUSE IT IS ONLY 50 BUCKS

THEY SAID OH NO DONT DO THAT PLEASE

AND I SAID SORRY TO JERREMY (THE CHAT SITE MAN WAS NAMED JERREMY) BUT THAT IS HOW IT WILL BE

OKAY SAID JERREMY

HEY JERREMY, I SAID, DO YOU THINK STEPHENSON IS A GOOD HEIR TO WILLIAM GIBSON? AND JERREMY SAID HE COULDN'T TALK ABOUT THAT BECAUSE OF THE BOSS ROBOTS WOULDNT LET HIM

OKAY I SAID

THEN I SIGNED UP FOR VERIZON AND GOT THE ALLY

ITS PRETTY GOOD, BUT NOW I WISH I WAITED A LITTLE LONGER FOR THE SAMSUNG EPIC

STILL, ANY PHONE IS BETTER THAN A PHONE THAT DOESNT WORK AND THE ALLY WAS PRETTY CHEAP

SO THATS WHAT I GOT
posted by Greg Nog at 3:28 PM on July 12, 2010 [6 favorites]


GREG ARE YOU BY ANY CHANCE RELATED TO MITCH HEDBURG? :-)

What really makes this post epic-ly golf-clap-worthy is the sudden segueway to the discussion of William Gibson...
posted by randomkeystrike at 3:34 PM on July 14, 2010


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