iPhone and Google’s G1 Compared

There are a few G1s roaming around my work. I am hoping to get my hands on one soon and right a personal comparison. We’ll see if that actually happens. In the mean time Ars has a good run down of the iPhone vs. G1.

When I started looking for a replacement to my old phone (a Moto Razr) I knew I was finally ready for a phone to do more than just make phone calls. I think before I was a little nervous about data limits and the high cost of such data plans. The iPhone started to erode the low limits and the high cost of data plans across the board. I also started to realize the value, given my recent move to the city, of having a phone that can do more than just make phone calls. Not that I would choose to do this by default, but I have the ability to log into any machine I support at work from my iPhone. That can come in handy if I am away from the desk and get a page for a broken service and such. So the time came to figure out what I wanted to get. The two major choices for me were the iPhone and the G1. On principle my default would be G1. I like the fact that it is an open source project and I have warm feelings towards Google. I was happy that the G1 launched before I purchased my iPhone. My decision logic went something like this. When Apple first released the iPhone the hardware, software, and third party apps were all a little rough around the edges (Apple hadn’t released the SDK yet, and no 3G). It took version 2 of the iPhone to fix most of that, and now the iPhone has one of the largest app stores you can imagine. 3G is now included and the phone has a very polished look and feel. That is not to say that the iPhone is the perfect phone in my mind. First off is vendor lock-in, and secondly they clearly have left off functionality. I would love to see an SD slot, the camera phone is horrible, multi-functional software would be nice as well, and finally a better keyboard experience (though I don’t require a hard keyboard).

G1 fixes most of the problems I have with the iPhone, but looses on a lot of the other aspects. I feel like the hardware is an ugly mess, the software is half baked, and third party apps are just starting to take hold. That isn’t to say that the G1 is a bad phone. Now that I have finally seen one in action it is quite compelling, but it isn’t an iPhone just yet. I hope, and am pretty confident, that one day it will be everything the iPhone is, and more, but that day is certainly not today. It took Apple more than a year to get the iPhone as good as it is, and the G1 has only been out for a few months so we just need to give it time. Since I was in the market for a phone immediately, and most of the drawbacks to the iPhone weren’t that bad to me, I decided to go with the iPhone. My hope is that by the time my current iPhone is about to crap out there will be several compelling Google Android phones to choose from, and perhaps even other choices that haven’t yet emerged.

So just as Ars concluded the iPhone barely wins out over G1. If you are looking to buy now go for it, but if your target purchase date is after Spring I would wait. First, Apple will likely come out with a slight variation of the iPhone sometime in the summer, and secondly, perhaps we’ll see more Google Android phones coming to the market. Exciting times.

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