Do Androids Dream Of Googlephones?

I talked briefly on Twitter about me getting a new phone to replace my beat-up Blackberry. Instead of a new iPhone 3GS, I decided to get the HTC Dream, more commonly known as the G-1 to my American readers. My carrier is Rogers Wireless, so no switching required *or* extending of my term. I had to talk to the right people in customer support, but I got it for the same price that someone who was just signing up for 3 years would get it.

So why one of those and not an iPhone. Well, reason number one is that I tend to be a contrarian at times. Everyone has an iPhone, not many people have an Android phone. That makes me a unique little snowflake, and sometimes we all need to feel like that. Secondly, I have noticed a very disturbing trend with the whole acceptance process for the App store. Some really arbitrary decisions, conflicting decisions. Not that I want to be a phone app maker but the idea that I could make an app exactly the way I want, and have it rejected for very flimsy reasons sort of irks me. I should ask Marco Tabini for a more inside look at the whole iPhone-app-building process.

I'm not sure what the Android app development process is like though. But it appears to be a little bit more entrepreneurial that Apple's "we are the gatekeepers of the app world" routine. Not that I blame Apple in the least, as it is their right to do it that way.

Now, as much as this might irk some of my friends but the fact that Android runs Java means that I will start getting some experience with stuff that runs on the JVM. In my tinkering with Python I've looked at Jython, and I have seen that you can get Jython running on an Android phone. Definitely something to look into.

Now, the phone itself. It has a slide-out keyboard, so no need for me to monkey around with any on-screen keyboards. Having used the Blackberry for a while, I'm used to the thumbtapping needed to type text messages. Oddly enough, the HTC Magic, which has no keyboard, was the same price. I find the keyboard just fine for me, but I have heard others complaining about the keyboard. YMMV.

Apps on the phone are pretty decent, once you learn how to navigate your way through the menu system, and how to put apps into the background so I can run other ones. I know there's complaints about how you can run apps in the background on the iPhone, but Apple lets their own apps run in the background. Really, a minor detail.

The games I've played are good and addictive (Abduction is so simple to learn but difficult to beat at the higher levels) and some of the various apps I've tried out have been easy to use as well. Twitdroid and the Meebo client are just slick and easy to use.

My only gripe is that I cannot *buy* any apps through the Android Market because, according to some digging around on Google, Google won't let people in Canada buy apps. Again more of an annoyance.

So far I'm impressed with the phone and look forward to getting some time to fool around with maybe writing a simple app, or seeing about getting Jython up and running on it.