G1 as netbook alternativeGeneral


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  1. Sivan

    Sivan Member This Topic's Starter

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    Cross-posting this from another forum, want to see if others feel the same:

    For some time I wasn't sure what the G1 really was. Coming from the Treo/Centro line, it wasn't as handy as the quick Treo with front facing keyboard and stylus, and I imagined it wasn't quite an iPhone in polish. I'm ambivalent about finger-based touch screens, they dictate huge and inefficient layout. It can be said that not having to pull a stylus out is an advantage, but on my Palm devices I often used the tip of the finger nail instead of the stylus, and often took advantage of keyboard shortcuts on the front facing keyboard. That is still possible on the G1, if you open the slider keyboard. I find that most of the time, I prefer to work in landscape mode anyway, and thus have the keyboard available. I love the keyboard, messaging is definitely easier on the G1 than on the Centro.

    It's definitely a device to stop and use, rather than use quickly on the go like a Blackberry or Treo. But I find that I'm using it more and more in place of my laptop, everywhere, for any length of time. I once spent a whole day researching stuff on it in a local cafe, it was easy -- all I had to do was keep it plugged to the charger while those around me were pulling laptops out of their backpacks. And so I recently have been gradually moving away from my laptop, and relegating it for the occasional Netflix stream or work related stuff. Otherwise it remains shut outside of work, which is amazing to think about.

    So I think I'm coming around to seeing this phone as a tiny netbook. It's not what I thought it was initially, and I still don't edit documents on it, but for all other purposes, it does everything I need throughout the day. It's a good music player (though it sometimes forgets the last track I was listening to), great web browser, very good email, mapping and search tool. This is it then, it's the unlikely netbook. Truly portable, lasts longer and has an easy OS. It connects to WiFi smoothly, 3G reception has been generally just fine anywhere in the bay area, and Edge where necessary is quicker than it was on my Sprint Centro. I'm glad to have WiFi because the signal where I live has been weak with all carriers, so at home it's plenty zippy. Call quality on par with the Treo's I've used, though the phone UI on the Treo was better.

    I wonder if Google is thinking of a possible line of netbooks based on Android, but I have to say that the G1 already does the job.

    So while I certainly won't say its PIM capabilities are as mature and efficient as a Palm OS device, I can say that it holds its own in a new and unlikely niche.
     

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  2. dkaufman1

    dkaufman1 Well-Known Member

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    A netbook is usually a full keyboard and OS. I can see the thoughts, as I often thought the Sidekick was a netbook substitute and the G1 is certainly much better.

    Many smartphones fill the same needs you mention though. Portable, easy to use on the go, good for various uses.

    As for the doc editing, I think most smartphones can get better at this. I figure some folks at Google are working on a port of their Docs webapp with Gears as a better substitute for Android users.

    The user's specific needs are really what matter. I don't really see a need for a GPS with my G1 for example.
     
  3. greekking23

    greekking23 Well-Known Member

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    Id love to be able to open a new document, type a paper, then upload it to my email and put it on Word, all from my cell phone.
     
  4. lkosova

    lkosova Well-Known Member

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    Funny you said this since I spent the whole day "working" on my g1. I would like a portable/foldable keyboard as texting is not my thing and takes to long compared typing for me. I would love to be able to do office applications on this or plug into a portable hard drive and work from there
     
  5. carlosnumbertwo

    carlosnumbertwo Member

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    Ive been using windows based smart phones as pc substitutes since the "Ipaq 6315". I had to plug the keyboard into the base of the device. isnt it awesome not to have to carry around your pc anymore?
     
  6. dkaufman1

    dkaufman1 Well-Known Member

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    I just read an article where the RIM president compared the Storm to a nettop. So clearly smart phones are replacements in waiting as soon as things iron out in terms of useful software, access to your docs, etc.
     
  7. johnkzin

    johnkzin Well-Known Member

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    There's various articles out today that someone has ported Android to the EeePC.

    The problems I see with Android as a netbook/UMPC alternative are (ie. the reasons I still use my Samsung Q1 with Ubuntu-UMPC):

    1) Google Reader for Android is missing some key features. Adding/editing tags, and the ability to use shortcuts. It would also be nice to be able to add/remove/rename feeds and move them from folder to folder, and have the total number of articles displayed at the top of the article list.

    2) Gmail similarly lacks some features. Most importantly are the ability to send messages from your other registered email addresses, add/modify filters and do "filter messages like this", and the ability to use the google labs "super stars" feature.

    3) It would be nice if the IM client had some other features (IRC support with chat room support, I don't know if it'll do non-Google Jabber servers, ability to keep logs of conversations in plain text, on your SD card, in a way that's easy to export)

    4) The available VNC Viewer has some issues with VNC password support (they say they support it, but I haven't been able to get it to work), but SSH port forwarding, VNC viewer with password, and VNC server with password are all important to me for my mobile computer.

    5) It needs a really good PDF/Word/Excel spreadsheet viewer, and probably editor. Adding this to Android's Google Docs support would be pretty ideal. As well as the ability to sync the various tasks/todo and text notes applications with similar parts of Google apps.

    6) The 7-9" screen really can make a difference. As does an ability to use a remote display.


    Perhaps the ideal for me would be if Android addressed the above software issues, the G1 had the ability to work with devices like the Palm Folio, where I could use the G1 as the heart/brain of a larger device whose sole purpose was to be a larger display and keyboard. So, I could use the G1 alone, or I could use it with something the size of a netbook or tablet ... and maybe even use it with something like a thin-client desktop. And I don't mean retaining the G1's low resolution (for a netbook/desktop) display ... I would expect the G1 to seemlessly map from few pixels on the phone to displaying on many pixels on the netbook, laptop, or desktop.

    Think of it like a docking station technology (wired or wireless). Only, the docking station isn't necessarily a desktop, it could be a laptop sized device, or an UMPC, Tablet, or Netbook type device. Ideally for me would be two things:


    • A device the size and format of the Fujitsu Lifebook U810 (8"ish screen, convertible netbook)
    • A device that would let me hook up to a KVM switch.


    But, again, all these would do is act as displays and input devices for the G1, they wouldn't need any native/independent processing capability.

    I think that would actually eliminate my desire for tethering the G1 to a netbook/UMPC/tablet/laptop.

    That's assuming you want to use the G1 as a netbook alterantive. I think I'd actually prefer to have Android running on the Fujitsu Lifebook U820 type device, with supported 3G built into the device (and the above software issues resolved).
     
  8. dkaufman1

    dkaufman1 Well-Known Member

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    John - PLEASE POST MORE! I hope you stick around and post more. What a thought provoking and great write up. This is quality stuff. Nice post!
     
  9. semach.the.monkey

    semach.the.monkey Active Member

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    I know there are generic bluetooth keyboards available, which I think should work on a G1. I am making the assumption though that Android has the appropriate drivers for this, but I would be surprised if not. Does anyone know for sure? has anyone tried it?

    STM
     
  10. Darksyth

    Darksyth Member

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    if you're going to get a tricked out USB keyboard, get this one. No more getting your keys sticky with coffee or .... other foreign materials.... if it's just projected keys on your desktop :)

    http://www.thinkgeek.com/computing/input/8193/zoom/

    [​IMG]
     

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