Reviewing the G1 - Interface, keyboard increase appeal

I've been testing T-Mobile's G1 by Google all week and I've been impressed with the device. I liked the physical keyboard that appears when you slide the screen up. I could type quickly and easily with a fair amount of accuracy. I also liked the touch interface and the  trackball for additional navigation. The home screen has icons for applications and programs, allowing a lot of flexibility. 

As the first phone using Google's Android operating system, the device is closely tied to Google's applications. You have one-button access to Google's map feature that includes a compass as well as one-button access to Google search, which was very handy.

I tested the phone in Denver (where T-Mobile's UMTS network hasn't been deployed yet) and in Chicago where UMTS is available.  I definitely saw an improvement in data speeds in Chicago. T-Mobile currently has UMTS live in 20 markets and expects to have it available in 28 markets by year-end. Being in a UMTS market will definitely make the G1 more appealing to consumers.

Another downside to the phone was that I thought it was a bit clunky and thick. It didn't have the sleek feel of the iPhone 3G. The model I demo'd was a basic black but T-Mobile says that the G1 will also be available in bronze when it launches Oct. 22 and that more colors will follow.

Overall, I think T-Mobile has a winner with the G1 and I believe it will be a viable competitor to the iPhone 3G and the other smartphones on the market. With its price at just $179 with a two-year voice plan, this device should be a hit for the holidays. Check out our photos of the G1 here. --Sue

P.S.  We're counting down our 25 Most Powerful People in Wireless and today we reveal No. 6-10. See who made the cut here.