Thursday, February 3, 2011

Hitting the wall with the G1

I think I could continue to use the G1 for a long while if it had more RAM.[0] The CPU is fine at 528mHz, the screen size is fine. The formfactor is dated but fine. The battery life is adequate if I exercise good charging discipline.

I've shoehorned froyo 2.2.1 onto it in the form of Cyanogenmod, and also used the 14MB of newly-freed RAM hack, which, IIRC, freed up some memory previously consumed by non-optimized radio code. I stuffed a Class 6 microSD in there and devoted some of it to a Linux swap partition which is mounted from the terminal. It works, but the poor phone is creaking.

What I need:
  1. 512MB RAM
  2. more battery life (one of the newer, larger lithium batts like in the G2)
  3. either vanilla Android, a tastefully vendor-modified Android (yeah, right) or the ability to slam in a custom ROM of my choosing.

What I would like:
  1. A bit more flash memory space for custom ROMS, in case I want them.
  2. A bit more flash memory space for apps; currently running 15 apps in my maxxed-out G1, and that is including things like update Gmail, Google Voice, Google Sky.
  3. Comes stock with a modern Android like Froyo, or will get it OTA without hackery.
  4. dock
  5. miniUSB connector, quite out of style these days. I don't like those tight-fitting microUSB connectors. Ick.
  6. Lose the trackball. I keep hitting it accidentally.
  7. Physically kb, maybe. Up in the air on this one.
  8. LED flash for phonepics.

Things I don't care about:
  1. faster CPU
  2. bigger, better screen
  3. pretty / fancy
  4. HD video or 92-kerbillion pixel photos. I usually crank down phonepics to 640x480 in the config anyhow.
My options
My first instinct was to try to secure a used Nexus One, which was at the time the One True Google phone. Specs are what I want (except the faster-than-I-need 1gHz CPU) but it has such cult status that used ones are going for $300+.

So I started googling android 512MB RAM and started stumbling across some promising hardware. The one I settled on was the LG Optimus T, an unlockable GSM phone. It's been getting good press (including a top 5 best phone list from Cnet), and several reviewers point out that while it competes in the android low end market (on price), it is no slouch. They are going for ~$150 on eBay.
  1. 512MB RAM. Yay! Over 2x what's on the G1, and same as the Nexus One.
  2. 512MB flash storage, ~170MB accessible by user. Again, over 2x what's on the G1 and very close to the 512MB, ~190MB on the Nexus One.
  3. lost that trackball. Yay!
  4. Stock with 2.2, OTA to 2.2.1 and allegedly to 2.3 Gingerbread.
  5. downside: no physical kb; guess I'll have to learn swype. No LED flash. Volume buttons are supposed to be hard to find without looking.

[0] not the internal space for system or apps, but the actual memory in which apps run.

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