10/02/10: The G2 Has Landed: Reviewing the G2

Immediately after I opened my G2, I was doing an online search and “Recent Searches” popped up. This was curious, seeing as I had never used the phone to search anything. Why was it displaying “Kane County Flea Market,” “Second Generation Biofuels,” Andouille Sausasage with Acorn Squash and Apples” as recent searches?

Then it hit me. I went from cuddling the phone like a newborn to dangling it in front of me like a moldy nectarine covered in fruit flies.

“How does it know that? How. Does. It. Know. That!”

Although the searches that came up had never been entered on the G2, I had typed them in hours and hours earlier on Google … using my home laptop. The G2 is synced to my Gmail. And because I hadn’t closed out my gmail while doing the search, it managed to grab the search terms and add them to the growing list of search terms I’ve used over the years that make me, well, me, at least in the cyber-eyes of Google. I can imagine what that profile must look like—woman obsessed with Lobster Claw game (seriously, it’s like a bear claw plush toy machine but it reaches into salt water and grabs Maine lobsters, which you then eat for dinner) and “Man Candles” (they come in scents such as sawdust, pot roast, baseball and fart) who checks in all too regularly on such stories as “Death Ray in Las Vegas” and gun-toting grandmas in the Chicago ‘hood.  And then it beamed that profile of me … to my own phone. Cyberstalking suddenly took on a whole new meaning.

The point is, the G2 is, first and foremost, eye-opening about the capabilities of the Internet. Sure, we’ve heard about this kind of stuff forever. But sometimes seems about as real as a sci-fi movie–until you realize you’re carrying your own HAL 9000 right there in your pocket.

Mind-reading aside, the G2, is possibly, the best phone known to us humans. Of course, that’s coming from someone who upgraded from a two-year old Blackberry Curve, so I’m already lightyears behind in the world of truly smart phones.

I pre-ordered my G2 from T-Mobile September 28 and it arrived by UPS a day later. The first thing I noticed about it, when I plucked it from its little cocoon, was its weight. It’s 180 grams, which makes it heavier than the iPhone (137 grams) and the Blackberry (135 grams) and I think that’s a good thing (Note: It’s quite possible that the G2 is actually beaming these feelings of love and nurturing into my head as I type. If that’s the case, I can’t be held accountable). It has a certain heft to it that, in all honestly, feels… expensive, hefty, satisfying, like the mini computer that it is.

The touch screen of the G2 swings up with ease, revealing a “bombproof” (HTC’s words, not mine) QWERTY keyboard. So you have a choice of using the tactile keyboard or the virtual keyboard (like an iPhone). And that’s where Swype comes in. With Swype, you sweep (er, swype) your finger across the keyboard hitting all the letters in a single word, and HAL, er, G2 infers what you’re typing. It’s like playing “connect the letters.” My first thought about Swype was, “I can’t think that fast.” But after a couple of tries (and some warm feelings beamed from the phone) I’m a pretty sweet swyper.

And then there’s Goggles. I’m not sure yet how useful this program will be, but it sure is fun. With Goggles, you take a picture of an object (it warns against using apparel and animals) with the oh-so-slick 5 Megapixel camera with autofocus and flash  and it analyzes the photo and gives you a list of websites that, in theory, identify what it is. I played around with Goggles last night and it’s a little off. I took a picture of Burt’s Bees Pomegranate Night Cream and G2 thought it was skin-whitening cream. Then I snapped a photo of a Schlafly’s Oktoberfest beer and it thought it was Oatmeal Stout. At first, I thought the phone was just being stupid. But then I started to wonder if maybe I was wrong and I actually had been using skin-whitening cream and drinking oatmeal. I’m still undecided.

I could go on and on about this phone, and tell you about the 800 MHz Qualcomm MSM 7230, the Android 2.2 processor, the 4GB ROM, 512 MB RAM and all that stuff, but to be honest those numbers mean very little to me. What I care about is that this phone flashes Google news headlines across the interface every couple of seconds. The web search is lightening fast. There’s no roller ball to break. It plays Pandora and Rhapsody. It has a GPS and talking navigation system. It has Google Sky Map (not sure what that is but it sounds cool, doesn’t it?), speaker phone is easy to use, and there’s an alarm clock that crows like a rooster.

And then there are the voice commands that will send an email, text, play music or find a website. I haven’t had a chance to really dig into those yet. I just hope that by voice command they truly mean that I’m the one who will be doing the commanding…and not the other way around.

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