I purchased a new G1 on Friday.  My phone has pretty much been dead to me since.  I was debating on getting a PRE from Sprint (new carrier for me) or getting a G1 from T-Mobile my preferred carrier.  I ultimately decided to opt for the G1.  It had most of the functionality I was looking for, it was on my T-Mobile plan so no need to kill a contract, and the plan pricing seemed right.

BUT

I rapidly learned that the G1 kind of sucks (seriously, not an anti-fan boy statement or anything).

It can only import contacts via GMail and Gmail contact import definitely does suck.  Here’s why, it maps all of your contact fields to a text note field in gmail. 

ergo if you have an email address in an email field, it gets dumped in the notes field.  If you have a phone number in a phone number field, it gets piled in the notes field too.  If you have an address, zip code, cell phone etc in their respective fields, Gmail does not provide mapping to send it to the Gmail fields it just dumps everything into a generic notes field.  In fact, all in the SAME generic notes field. 

That might be OK, if you have say, 20 or 50 contacts.  Pain in the ass, but ok.

But I have 1,600 contacts.  I’ve been around awhile and have done a lot of business with a lot of people over the years, not to mention my social networking contacts.  There is no way in the world that I can go into Gmail and start copy pasting text out of a note field into the actual data field Google should have been able to map to.

So today is Sunday, 48 hours after I bought my new phone.  I can’t call anyone with the dumb phone.  And I do use the word dumb in a literal way.  The G1 is no smart phone, it has been dumbed down due to Gmail.  So today, I’m boxing everything up and returning it to TMobile for a refund.  T-Mobile my favorite carrier is not really to blame here (other than approving a PDA smart phone for their line up that can’t import any phone numbers).

But I’m going to have to take my business elsewhere on this one.  I have lost 2 days with the phone, and missed a couple important calls as well.  Plus, the goofy ear bud that jacks into the usb slot on the bottom of the phone is almost impossible to hear through.

Oh, and T-Mobile sold me a G1 with a version number of 1.0 as opposed to the more currently available 1.1 or 1.5.  The hardware is the same, but the firmware is different.  The big difference is that I CAN NOT update my own firmware.  There’s an update out there, but I can not access it through the phone because 1.0 does not literally have the ‘update’ button deep down in settings.  This means I have no on screen keyboard, no video recorder and who knows what else.

 

No phone, no address book, static generating ear buds, no ‘update’ button –> Phone Return.  🙁

 

they don't even list the G1 nor Google nor HTC on their website For what its worth I do like the interface, the keyboard is not as comfortable as my old treo 700, but not bad.  I seem to recall having a keyboard adapter for an old old palm pilot years back that felt exactly the same as the G1.  From a tactile perspective, the G1 keyboard is not bad, its just a little dated (by about 10 years).

Oh and by the way if you need technical support from T-Mobile for the G1, you have to say ‘Blackberry technical support’ in the automated menu to actually get to the PDA department of t-mobile which services the G1 too.  (This is what a t-mobile tech support person told me)  The phone menu system has not yet been configured to respond to ‘G1 Problems’, ‘G1 techsupport’ ‘G1 help’ etc.

Monopoly power wants my contacts

I also wanted to mention that it trouble me a bit that I HAVE to upload my contacts to Google.  They are a monopoly after all and already monitor almost every website I visit.  Now through their G1 phone, they can monitor all the calls I make, not to mention the emails I send.  I’m a former signals intelligence analyst and understand the principals of gleaming information from an analysis of communications node.  Frankly, letting them get their hands on 2 more nodes (contacts and calls) is a little troubling.  People would be up in arms if Microsoft forced you to upload all of your contact information into one of their databases, can’t understand why people let that slide with Google.

Google Can’t Even Export its own Data from Gmail Successfully

One of the suggestions I received from tmobile tech support involved the concept of exporting some contacts from Gmail into a csv format, so that I could then use the csv column headings to manually update the columns of my own csv file.  So I tried exporting a single contact to get the file headers.

I used my wife’s contact info, which included home and work addresses.

Google’s exported file failed to export the city, state and zip code of the addresses for home and work.  So even if I use these headings, to manually construct my own CSV Google will probably strip out this very important information.  🙁

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