Which is the best 1st generation smartphone??

For sometime now I have been carrying two smartphones with me, thanks to me being a Mobile Developer. Till yesterday there was a HTC Mozart(Windows Phone 7) and a Nexus One (Android Froyo), but today I had to swap my Nexus One for a iPhone 2G(iOS 3.1.3). While playing around with these phones, I realized both the iPhone and Mozart are first generation phones of their respective platforms. In that aspect, I have also used HTC Dream (G1, Android) for quite sometime. So the thought came to my mind, Amongst the 3 first generation phones, which is the best?

Before going into my opinion let me tell you that, I have traditionally been a Microsoft fanboy, and an Android lover, and a bit of Apple hater ;). But I will try to be fair on my judgement. 
The iPhone2G is a first generation phone in terms of hardware, the OS is not. My 2G is running iOS3.1.3 which is almost 2-3 years younger than the rig. Also, it has a million+ apps base now backing it. But to even this advantage out, the 3 year old phone is compared with a new Phone that was launched few months ago, and another a little earlier.

User Interface 
iPhone has a child-like user interface with embossed, glossy icons placed on a low screen resolution display, though many people say it is very intuitive and simple. 
Windows Phone has an unbelievable and revolutionary user interface. Everything looks so aesthetic, and eye pleasing. Giving much importance to the actual content than Chrome, you hardly see the phone OS, you see exactly what you are looking for. Be it your phone book, or your tweets.
The HTC G1 has a very barebone user interface. And it feels like using Windows 3.1, in terms of the styling and theming, it is definitely not the most beautiful designs I have seen. It gives you most of the things you want though, in terms features.
Verdict: WP7 beats iPhone by a few miles and Android by a few light years.

As mentioned before, this is about the software, so technically iPhone has a little advantage. But still, it lacks multi-tasking, and looks more or less basic. I still get mails delivered in the background and my tweets pushed through notifications, so it is very much usable. 
Windows Phone 7 fails here miserably. It starts with the lack of multitasking, similar to the iPhone it fetches your mails though.There is no push notification support, no sockets (no chatting), a poor browser (limited HTML5 support) and (hence?) pretty limited apps.
Android scores a home run here. It gives you everything you can think of. You can run a plethora of apps in the background (in the 70MB available memory), be available on chat all the time, receive tweets, and anything you could actually do in an computer.
Verdict: Android pays back Windows Phone,and iPhone stays where it was.

The iPhone I have is already 2+ years old, with a broken glass and is jailbroken (multiple times), but still is rock solid. No app has ever crashed while I was using it (you can't know if it crashed, even if it actually did :] ). 
Windows Phone has to catch up here. Few of my apps have crashed multiple times ( eg: Foursquare) and my phone itself crashed once and I had to hard reset it.
Android was worser, I used to get "Force close" messages and numerous crashes regularly. Maybe I am biased here, as I used to develop apps and run them on the phone :) Moreover the I could run any spurious app I want, on the phone, with no app restrictions in place.

Apps have been iPhone's forte and it will be, at least for some (more) time. Only that many of the apps have evolved and ignores the 2G phone now.:)
Windows Phone has some good apps, and generally they have kept the quality of apps high. Also, every app has a "try" option which is good. I haven't seen gaming experience get any better than the XBox live hub in my Windows Phone.
Android again has had a different approach, you can find all sorts of apps; good, bad, harmful, crappy and what not. It was hard to find quality apps in the platform, though there were a few.
Verdict: App-le it is, followed by Windows Phone and Android.

I can't say which is the best first generation phone, each one of them have been exciting in their own ways, if it was the fresh User Interface in the Windows Phone, iPhone brought about the touch phone revolution itself. Android took smartphones closer to computers and gave me infinite possibilities. 

But, if a G1, Mozart and iPhone was kept in front of me and I had to pick one, I would have probably picked the G1, er.. no... the Windows Phone..oh..or is ..it ... the iPhone?

Send in your choices. Which one would be your pick?

PS: I really miss my Nexus One. It is a hell of a phone!

New Google Images Search ignores Safe search filters?

Images Search was the only thing for which I still preferred Google after I switched to Bing. The Bing's newer ending page of images irritates me. But from yesterday I am getting the new Google Images Search, which looks more or less like Bing! With one exception, even if you are searching images with "Moderate" Safe search filter, you occasionally get Explicit results in your 1st or 2nd page (there is no "Page" as such, but logically). This happened to me quite a few times today. Most of the images were explicit frontal nudity pictures. I was really shocked at this mega blunder by Google. My office mate also told me he found some explicit things in Youtube as well, that too unintentionally!Can't get a clue how Google got the fetish for porn! Before you come to conclusions here are a few search queries which yielded some skin for me."Windows 6.5 Beehive" http://www.google.com/images?hl=en&source=imghp&biw=1280&bih=673&q=windows+6.5+beehive&gbv=2&aq=o&aqi=g10&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=

Though I have not been blogging lately, could'nt resist but share this :) I think this at least helps me revive my blogging :)

An early look at Froyo, a.k.a Android 2.2

Well, it has been a long time since I wrote. Mostly because I was busy with *other stuff* and also because I was smitten by micro-blogging [read twitter]. Now that I am back, I will start with the talk of the town, Android.

For the last 2 days, I spent my nights watching youtube. But, before you come to weird conclusions, let me clarify, I was watching the GoogleIO live streaming like 25,000 other people around the world. And what I was primarily interested in was Froyo.

Froyo, typically means a dessert made of yoghurt {Frozen Yoghurt}. But Google meant a dessert of a different kind, it was the latest update for the Android OS, version-ed '2.2'. I was most amazed by the feature list that was unfolded by Gundotra. And right from then, I was restlessly checking on my Nexus One, whether it has been blessed with an Update from Google. After two [long] days of desperation, I came across a post in Phandroid.com which was an howto on manually updating the phone with Froyo. And within 20 minutes and a few taps, my N1 was running the Froyo.

What's new?
Immediately after installation and boot, when I tried tapping and swiping I found the system was little jerky and bumpy. Maybe, because it was the first boot and it had not done with it. Once it settled down, I went through it and here are the enhancements I found.
  • Animations: Animations are smoother, and are more fluid. Like when you drag between home screens, you have a bouncing halt rather than a jerky switch.
  • Applications menu: First they had the draggable applications menu, then the grid button, now they have the 3-icon set of Phone, Grid and Browser. And the applications screen is are bouncier and fast.
  • Call Log: The call log is more organised. If same caller has multiple calls consecutively, they are made into an expandable groups, so you can seen more info. I liked it.
  • Messages: The messages screen has been touched up a bit. Nothing special about it, but looks better.
  • Android Market: This is big. Market has got lots of goodies. Now, you can set auto-update for any app, it downloads updates whenever available. Even better, you have update-all button to download all updates. Also there is a separate, comments tab for applications.
  • Search Bar: Search bar is also enhanced with a drop down button, from which you can filter you search to Apps, Web, Contacts or All. I felt it was redundant though.
  • Mail: This is a huge [I guess]. I don't remember being able to add multiple Google accounts to my phone before. Now, you can do that. You can add as many Google accounts you want into your GMail and sync the contacts etc.
  • System speed: Though in general the system appeared faster, some places it lagged behind previous update. Like in the album application, the loading was pretty slow.
  • Flash 10.1: This almost gave me a nightmare. I installed the firmware and went to every flash website I knew. None of them were loading. I checked the system settings. No mention of flash anywhere. I was bamboozled until I checked in the Android Market. You have to manually install the Flash plugin as an Application. And it is a beta. Nevertheless once I installed it I could check out all the flash websites and even games on browser. I checked the desktop version of youtube.com [though] the video playback was not very smooth. Had a low frame-rate playback.
  • Applications: The manage applications screen also has minor make-ups. The biggest one being the ability to move installed applications to SD-Card to save space. But it was greyed out in my phone.
  • Google Maps: looks faster in the new build. The tiles load very fast. So is the case with Google Earth.
So that's my initial impression on Froyo after 3 hours of usage. Will post more updates as and when I find them.
The catch is that, this update is only available for Nexus One, that too would roll out in a period of over 3 weeks [unless you take my route]. What about the other phones? Samsung Galaxy and the likes are still running the Donut [Android 1.5].

My top 10 tech highlights of 2009

2009 was definitely not the best year of my blogging. But was a very happening year in the tech arena. I have compiled my favourite top 10 tech events/products which caught my attention. The top 10 is ranked based on how big a hit (or flop) the product was or how much attention it gathered.

10. Windows Mobile 6.5/ Windows MarketPlace
Microsoft released the stopgap, not in the roadmap, version of Windows Mobile, to arrest their landslide in the Mobile market. With Blackberry, Android, iPhone and Palm Pre raising the bars, this was more of an act of desperation.
Though it had some positives, the launch was damp as not all the mobiles received upgrades to the new OS.
Again coming to Windows Marketplace, the situation was more or less the same. Only WM6.5 phones could use the Marketplace, and it is still not supported in most of the countries.

Verdict: Sloppy launch and post-launch and mediocre product pulled it down.
Status: Flop

9. Internet Explorer 8
Another story plummeting market share. After 2 years in exile, Microsoft's Internet Explorer team released a much needed upgrade to Internet Explorer7. It boasted of standards compatibility, ease of use, tabs etc. Though it had a lot of positives and was the new generation browser, it was no match to the new breed of browsers like Firefox, Chrome, Opera etc. All it managed was captured a major chunk IE market share (market shared between previous versions of IE).

Verdict: Improved usability, compatibility and features. Sloppy handling of tabs and in general slower.
Status: Near flop.

8. iPhone 3GS
Apple fans got to see a few launches in 2009. Which included the new iPod Shuffle, Snow Leopard and the iPhone 3GS. Definitely iPhone launch was the biggest. Commercially the new iPhone was a success, with it selling over a million phones in a week. But, the phone was not a great overhaul for a tech enthusiast as it did not have major feature upgrades.

: The new upgrade was a nice crowd puller, but was not a major feature upgrade.
Status: Average.

7. Chrome/ Chrome OS
The first stable (non-beta) Chrome browser was launched on December 2008. But it soon became the 3rd most used browser just behind IE and Firefox. Google was not content though, and went on to announce the web based Chrome OS. The announcement was initially met with mixed opinions, but the mounting concern of privacy and Eric Schmidt's controversial take on it has weakened the prospects.

Still early to decide, but looks like a simple shell for basic users.
Status: Average

6. Ubuntu 9.10/9.04
As in the previous years, we saw two launches of Ubuntu in 2009, and each of them in entirely different scenarios. The first launch 9.04 received positive reviews. It was a major overhaul to the UI and driver compatibility. Ubuntu 9.04 equalled Windows in its ease of use and compatibility. Also, it had many takers as Vista was a pain in the arse for most of the Windows users.
But the latter version 9.10's launch was shadowed by the Windows7 and Snow Leopard. 9.10 did not have major features to offer, other than improvements to 9.04 and the Ubuntu Cloud.

Verdict: Ubuntu's credibility and market presence increased many folds in 2009 nearing to Linux is Ubuntu for Desktop users.
Status: Fair hit

5. Google Wave
One of the most hyped web application launches of 2009, and that too by Google. Launched after months of videos, tech presentations, blogs etc. The idea of Wave was welcomed by all and everybody was excited. But, the launch ended up damp. All that people had to say was, " I have 10 more invites, anybody want?"

Verdict: After the pre-launch hype, all Wave to create was a wave of unused invites.
Status: Flop

4. Palm Pre.
Mobile phones were definitely the major news makers in 2009, and it was Palm's all-in bet. And luckily for them Pre and WebOS met with positive reviews and opinions. It sold over 10000 unit over the weekend of launch. Better Multi-tasking, soothing UI and nice browser helped it gain market share.

Verdict: Palm and Sprint had their best run with the Pre's launch though the sales dipped in the 4th Quarter.
Status: Hit

3. Bing
Microsoft had a very good 2009. Bing was one of the reasons. After half a dozen companies trying to bring a search engine to push Google off the king's spot and failing, Microsoft was brave enough to give a fight. After the live.com debacle the second attempt Bing took off. Bing has already captured around 10% with an year of launch. And already Bing's homepage wallpapers is a phenomenon.

Verdict: Bing cached on the innovative search engine and UI and people wanting to try something other than Google.
Status: Hit

2. Motorola Droid
Droid is to iPhone what Bing is to Google. Over a dozen of iPhone-killers have been announced since its launch but none caught on. Motorola had its last chance to revive itself with the Android phone. With some help from Google (exclusive Android 2.0 OS), some stunning hardware specs and AT&T poor show Droid became a runaway hit. Droid should have sold around a million handsets by now.
Verdict: Genuinely good phone with slick marketing helped Droid gather momentum and market share.

1. Windows 7
Though I listed my 9 major tech highlights of 2009, I will always remember 2009 as the year of Windows7. After the debacle of the decade, Windows Vista, Microsoft regrouped fast and brought out the best OS till date. It broke all the sales records, Amazon pre-orders surpassed Vista sales in 8 hours. Within days of launch it was sold out in many places. It even crossed the Snow Leopard market share in 2 weeks.
Apart from the sales statistics, the OS was genuinely fresh and friendly. In major benchmarks it beat Windows XP and Vista, and got mostly 9/10 in reviews. Microsoft worked more the stability and compatibility than on adding more and more features that does not work.
2009 will definitely be remembered as the year of Windows 7.

Verdict: One of the best desktop operating systems launched till date. Lived up to Microsoft's slogan for the OS "making your PC simple".
Status: Hit
And that is it. Again, this is the top 10 highlights which would come to my mind when I say 2009. If you have a different list, I would be happy to hear about it.