Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Cool Toys and Crappy Music

Review: T-Mobile G1

The best thing about the G1 is that it doesn't have a queer name. "Rant". "Chocolate". "Instinct". Come on, are we naming phones, or are we listing off verbs and nouns that we know? Back in my day, phones had good old robot names like "SGH-T309".

And let's not even discuss the perplexing and ambiguous "wireless" that mobile phone service has come to be known as. Lots of things are wireless. My mouse, for instance. My laptop, with respect to the internet. The commercials for various multimedia companies (I'm looking at you, AT&T) are proud to proclaim that they feature "television" (noun, no ambiguity), "internet" (noun, still no ambiguity), "home phone" (noun, even less ambiguity), and "wireless". This is an adjective, not the name of a service.

(It's like how the oil industry won't stop using "caustic" to describe sodium hydroxide, even though they know as well as the media companies that using an adjective by itself to describe a product is stupid.)

The second best thing about the G1 is that it's neither an iPhone nor a Blackberry. I can therefore have a device that's very useful and very entertaining but not figure on the douchebag scale either at the "hipster" end or the "senior vice president who thinks he's more important than he actually is" end. (Okay, okay, not everyone who uses an iPhone is a hipster. You'd best start checking your scarf habits though.)

The third best is that it tells me, depending on the season, the Braves, Tech football, or Tech basketball scores--as they happen, or as often as I'd like. And the location of the nearest Starbucks. And I can play Pac-Man. And stream

The general consensus is that the G1 has several unique advantages over its "smart phone" competitors: the keyboard is good, the trackball is useful, and built-in Google functionality is handy. It carries a few disadvantages, too: the software library is smaller than, say, the iPhone's, it's sort of big and heavy, and the battery life ranges from tepid to abysmal depending on how you're using the phone.

But this is the best toy I've gotten in a long, long time.

I have a new "least favorite musical artist", and her name is Lady Gaga. Remember when the worst thing we had to contend with on the radio was Fergie, or Katy Perry? "I Kissed a Girl" sounds like musical genius now. I promise, if I hear this "Poker Face" business one more time, I am going to turn off the radio no matter where I am. "But sir, you can't turn off the radio to the entire Target." Watch me.

Currently listening: "Shambala", Three Dog Night

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