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evil geeza
I was initially impressed by the install process. Turning the phone on for the first time I was presented with a quick tutorial on how the keyboard worked and given the option to set up my Google, Facebook and Flickr accounts.

Things may have changed with later revisions of the iPhone, but I don't remember it giving me any help or assistance to begin with (That was 2 years ago, so things may have changed or the process was so underwhelming that I forgot about it). You just turned it on and it would stare back at you.

Setting up my Google Apps account (as you might expect from an OS created by Google) was very simple. A lot simpler that the iPhone, where you have to discover for yourself that you can sync things like your contacts over the interwebs instead of via the USB cable.

But, here's where I encountered my first two annoyances:


  1. You can set up multiple Google accounts, but it will only sync the calendar from one.

  2. It thinks its syncing my email, but it doesn't appear to be



On the iPhone, you can import multiple calendars to be viewed in its one calendar application, thus you can have a few Google Apps accounts and even subscribe to other people's caldav accounts. Maybe I'm a 'power calendar user', but as it stands, there seems to be no way to get both my home and work Apps account calendars onto the one phone. It just simply removes the option to sync the second one. This is a major annoyance as the sum total of things that I do in a day are both work and play. This for me is a spectacular fail as the main reason I bought a smart phone was to keep myself organised. Maybe there's another way of doing this or an App that will allow this to happen. (I have deliberately not gone near the Marketplace yet). But as it stands, I'm less than impressed.

As for the email syncing. It would seem that this is a bug. It thinks its syncing, but it's not. (I will be talking to O2 customer support about this tonight). I could set up my Apps email accounts via IMAP, but I shouldn't have to. Again, this for me is a really big flaw.

I tried doing a full factory reset (as I have nothing to loose at this point) and try the install again, but this did not correct the problem. Searching the internet has thus far not provided any insight into what is happening and how to fix it.

Once the install was done. I had a "Now what?" moment. It took me a good few minutes to wrap my head around the new OS as I did all the mundane things such as changing the default background and ringtone. I noticed that there didn't seem to be a way to choose an mp3 ringtone, but maybe the phone knows that I've not put any mp3s on yet and is only giving me options for things that I can actually do.

I'm finding that the buttons are taking a little getting used to. On the iPhone, there are two buttons that will make the screen spring into life (on the top and on the front). I keep finding myself pressing the round button in the middle of the phone to get the screen to show. It only responds to the top button.

Getting used to the 'menu' button being context sensitive also took a little getting used to.

So, my initial thoughts are:


  • Nice initial install screens help you get up to speed quickly

  • If the Google Apps integration worked correctly (email syncing) and your a Gmail or Apps user, then this OS would win hands down on the set up.

  • Seeming inability to have more than one calendar may be enough for me to send this phone back and stick with my iPhone 3g

  • Googling for any advice on problems results in a LOT of links to the Google support forum. Thus far, none of it has been relevant or useful

  • Google Apps contact syncing 'just worked' and within minutes to setting up the phone, I had a full address book, complete with everyone's pictures from Facebook



I'm going to spend a bit of time trying to get the two show stoppers working for me before I start installing anything else, as currently I have nothing to loose by wiping things and starting again.

UPDATE: I have been researching the calendar problem and found the following thread. To paraphrase. multiple calendar support via Google Apps accounts will be possible when Android 2.2 comes out. (So I'm going to have to wait until the end of Q3 for this). I can live with that. In the mean time, I might be able to work around this by sharing my work calendar with my personal one for the time being. This I can live with. Still the lack of visible email to deal with. I've gone through the phone's storage and found that it has downloaded it. It just seems that it doesn't know it has it.

UPDATE: When is mail not mail? When it's Gmail! So it turns out that the default mail app is not the same thing as the gmail app that is being used to sync to my Apps account. I only found this by accident. It hits at something that I feel might be a re-occuring theme. Apple force you to use their core components, with Android, you can use anything. With great power comes great responsibility. There may be something to be said for the walled garden approach to certain things.

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
misspotsitt
Jul. 13th, 2010 01:47 pm (UTC)
I find the degree to which google contact syncing 'just works' somewhat annoying. I had to send out an email from my gmail account to all the hipnotic contacts and they ALL ended up in my phone as I was an diot and didn't turn off the contact syncing. D'oh.
(Deleted comment)
malbec
Jul. 13th, 2010 02:27 pm (UTC)
MobileMe is great if you want to pay for it.

As for syncing Google Apps contacts, it's pretty simple to do via the Exchange service on the iPhone if you know what you're doing. It's just never made clear that you actually can do it.

(Although there was a teething problem with iOS4 where all my contacts went missing because either Google or Apple got their Exchange protocol wrong. Fortunately, Google patched their Exchange server a day or so later and they all magically came back)
(Deleted comment)
malbec
Jul. 13th, 2010 03:16 pm (UTC)
Is there anything that's not in beta these days? 'Beta' seems to be a get-out-of-jail-free card for a lot of companies these days. Surely if something is in Beta, the whole point of putting it out there is to get feedback and bug reports that you officially support and fix, otherwise what's the point?
(Deleted comment)
malbec
Jul. 13th, 2010 04:04 pm (UTC)
Apple won't, as a rule, touch another company's systems that aren't officially supported for fear of "impacting the user experience".


Except for Gmail on the iPhone that only came out of beta a few months back.
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