My Experiences Using a Google Android 3G Smartphone in London

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After I got my T-Mobile G1 Google phone in early 2009 I had a lot of issues with it. I blogged about the problems, here are the main points I raised. Overall, I am of course extremely pleased with the G1 and 3G, so much so that I still use my G1 phone, even though it is now considered to be an ancient relic by many people in the business!

3G Very Disappointing – Did I Test it on Wireless?

February 11, 2009

I have had my Google phone for 5 days now, and the last couple of days have been a disappointment. My internet connection has been very slow, often unusable. Wi-fi is also a waste of time outside of my home, as it is often slower than 3G or you have to pay. I can pick up Liverpool Street stations ‘cloud’ from here. But I need an account. I can also access Nero’s network. But again need an account.

These companies should really provide free internet. But the thing the is bugging me, is that when I looked at the phone in the T-mobile shop, the connection was very fast. Was I on wireless in the shop, or is Cheapside just much faster than London Wall? The other thing that is annoying is the lack of a good blogging tool. I am using wpToGo again, because it at least formats the titles OK, even though I cannot changed the category of this post, or log on to any other blog. Maybe time to set up email blogging……

PostBot for Android Does Not Work – No Page Header or Category

February 11, 2009

titleTesting Postbot for Googles Android phone/title
category300/category

Due to the limitations of wpToGo I am now testing Postbot. I actually contacted the author of wpToGo with suggestions for improvments, and he apologised for not having the time to upgrade it, and kindly pointed me towards Postbot. OK, this is my first post, so hope it works.

Postbot was very easy to set up, and allows multiple WordPress blogs to be set up. The GUI is clean and very easy to use. Blogging could not be easier.

Webologist on February 11, 2009 at 9:37 am

Well. Postbot certainly has some issues. The header and category are not working. Shame. I will attempt to contact the author.

More on wpToGo below!

3G on Google’s Android – Also Known As “Web Page Not Available”

Feb 12, 2009

Things were going well. I was about to update yesterday’s posts to say that my 3G reception was very good today. However I have just had a series of ‘page not found’ errors, for pages that I know to not onlly be active, but on very fast servers. I think that I read that the next firmware release, RC33, deals with this problem.

Let’s hope so, as it starting to bug me. Even when I have a full 3G connection I gwet these page load failures. Come on Google, where is my RC33?

2G is faster than 3G in central London

February 17, 2009

I have managed to access Webologist on my new G1. But only by following T-mobiles advice of switching to 2G. It seems totally crazy that 2G is actually faster than 3G in some areas. From now on, I will be on 2G when in London. But this begs the question – how long has 2G been around? Could I have bought a mobile internet phone many years ago?

I guess the full internet access available on the G1 is a new technology.I would like to say that I am actually very pleased with my G1, it is a great mobile ‘phone’. It is unfortunately let down badly by the lack of good 3G coverage.

The reports from the T-mobile website do not mention problems caused by tall buildings and congestion due to overloaded services. They really should highlight these problems as currently it is very misleading. Maybe if I climb onto the roof terrace of Deutsche Bank I will get a better reception, but I am forced to remain on the ground floor of Caffe Nero, where the 3G highway is virtually gridlocked.

The 3G Congestion Cover Up

February 17, 2009

It seems that I have managed to reveal somewhat of a cover up with regards to London’s 3G network. Readers will know from previous posts that I bought a T-mobile G1 just over a week ago, with the main purpose of using the internet during my lunch hour to update my blogs and manage my business.

However, this is proving to be difficult.I chose to buy a G1 as I had read good reviews of it. I tried the display model in the T-Mobile shop on Cheapside in London, and was very impressed with the speed of the internet. I spoke with the staff, and received excellent service. According to the 3G coverage reports I was working in a ‘very good’ area.

So obviously I am a little disappointed at the poor reception now. Yesterday it took me 20 minutes to open my WordPress control panel. Several times connection was lost completely with the dreaded web page not found message. In a one hour lunch break I succeeded in writing one short blog, and nothing else. Not a great way to run a business.

I mentioned this to a trusted friend that works for Google, and he simply replied with the word ‘that is very wrong, raise it with T-mobile’. So I did. Yesterday afternoon I raised a support ticket on the T-mobile website explaining my problem. This morning a lady phone me, and had some worrying advice. I was told that although the coverage was very good in my area, the 3G network can get congested, especially at lunchtime. Also, tall buildings can interfere with quality of the internet connection on 3G.

I mentioned that I had not been advised of this in-store, however she was quick to point out that the 7 day cooling period was over, so I could not cancel the contract on the grounds of not being able to access the internet on my internet phone. It was then that I got the most shocking advice – to try switching to 2G as this is sometimes faster at busy times. In busy places.

Rather than T-mobile improving 3G coverage, they are advising customers to use the slower 2G service, which is like working on dial up at best.OK, so why do I call this a cover up? Well, I decided to request some advice from a 3G forum, namely 3g.co.uk. This seemed like the best place to describe my problem, and to ask if I could request compensation for the appalling internet service.My post was something like this:

I contacted T-mobile regarding this problem, and have been told that the 3G network can get congested, especially at lunch times, and that I should try using the slower 2G service as this may actually be faster.When I bought the phone I was just told that I was in an excellent coverage area. No one mentioned anything to me about congestion problems. My internet is currently unusable (it is fine at home, but I do not need to use it at home). I will try 2G today, but this is slower than dial up according to the speed test on my phone.So, what grounds for compensation do I have? Has anyone else had such serious problems? I was also told that areas with tall buildings can be a problem. Maybe the good 3G readings are taken from the top of buildings? I work in the centre of London business district. Tall buildings everywhere. Cannot escape them.Disappointed. What shall I do? (apart from try to live with 2G on a 3G phone).(It was published here before deletion: http://www.3g.co.uk/3GForum/showthread.php?p=409471#post409471 )

I waited patiently for a reply, thinking that this would be a subject that people would definitely have an opinion about. However, after an hour of receiving no email update (I chose to subscribe to their instant notification service) I went back to the forum.

I discovered that the thread I had start had been deleted, and my account disabled. Now, this stinks of a cover up. I emailed the web admin ([email protected]) that sent me the initial welcoming email, asking him why my thread had been deleted. Still no response. So, who are 3g.co.uk? And why are they keen to cover up the fact that the 3G network is poor? When I signed up to 3g.co.uk, I received the following welcome message:

We are very pleased you have chosen to be a part of our 3G community and we hope you enjoy your time on the 3G Forum.
Here at 3G Forum you can rant & rave, ask for help and help others.

Their policy of deleting users messages without any notification seems to fly in the face of this. Ranting and raving is only allowed so long as you do not rant about poor 3G coverage in your area. So this is a warning to anyone thinking of investing £500 over 18 months for a 3G phone – be careful if you live in a crowded area, near tall buildings, or plan to use you phone in your lunch break.

This blog was written using wpToGo. An Android application on the G1. I have not attempted to access the internet yet. Oh, the T-mobile customer service officer has given me her direct number in case of further problems, but I really fail to see how they can help, other than by increasing 3G bandwidth fast.

3G in the park

February 20, 2009

It seems that my 3G conection is good in the park near where I work. Not a big park either and surrounded by buildings. It is lunchtime, and I managed to log in to my blog in record time. Maybe the problems I was having was that Caffe Nero on London Wall is just too busy, or too sheltered.

I am in Finsbury Circus and 3G connection is splendid. However, it is a pleasant February afternoon. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping and most people have gone back to the office already, which makes a pleasant environment in which to chill and blog. Shame it is not like this everyday. One thought is that Caffe Nero is next door to Deutsche Bank, a huge office on London wall.

It could be that there are a lot of iPhone and other 3G users there. I will start testing 3G connection in the various coffee shops around the ‘square mile’. I used to frequent Starbucks on City Road, although that is close to the Bloomberg offices, so could have similar problems. At least Spring is almost here, which will provide more pleasant outdoor blogging opportunities if all the coffee shops are congested.

Working From My Bed

February 27, 2009

This is what is it all about! Being able to work while in bed or sitting on the sofa!

Since buying my G1 Google mobile phone, I have been trying to determine how much work I can actually do using just my G1. As a way of putting my G1 to the test, today I will not only be working from home, I will be working from my bed (I also have a slight cold which really gave me the idea). This means that I will not have access to all my POP3 email accounts, or FTP access to sites, or easy access to many web services.

However, I can access my website CMS from my phone, so I can perform site content updates, edit articles, moderate and reply to comments, check my GMail account, contact clients via email, text or chat messages (only those also on Android). I can also review business accounts (daily advertising earnings etc.).

I predict that my biggest problems will be lack of access to the main email accounts and the inability to perform more complex site updates. Also I expect errors in my writing (more than usual) as there is no spell checker on my phone. On my PC I use Firefox with an inbuilt dictionary to ensure that everything I type is spelt correctly. Another major hurdle will be sheer bone idleness. I am already feeling a little sleepy…..

Using My Phone To Update WordPress

I wrote a few short blog posts about this from 10th to 24th February 2009. I now no longer use this app though. If I need to access WordPress on my phone I just use the main admin screen. I rarely blog on the move now. If I do I tend to write in Gmail where the content is saved, then transfer when needed. You can of course just email direct to WordPress now if you set up your email account.

WpToGo allows quicker WordPress blogging from Android G1 phone

I have just installed wpToGo on my G1 Google Android phone. This application is designed to allow easier blogging using mobile devices (i.e. G1) by accessing a WordPress blog directly without the need to open the WordPress control panel in then browser. Hopefully this will reduce the connection problems that I was having earlier today. WpToGo is free for Android users, just go to the market and search. Now to see if it works……

wpToGo Upgrade Available For Android

Good news for WordPress bloggers with an Android mobile device, a new version of wpToGo has been released. The latest version allows for multiple accounts as well as photo uploading. Great work from the author who had announced that he did not have the time to maintain it, but managed to make some time in his busy schedule to help the Android/Wordpress community. Kudos to Dan Roundhill.

Roundhill Labs Release wpToGo Upgrade

The second upgrade in a week is now available, wpToGo, the leading WordPress aplication for Android mobile devices, now supports tags. Other bug fixes include force closures and blank titles. Well done Dan, project manager at Roundhill Labs. WpToGo is a free Android application, available to download from the Android Market.

These wpToGo posts are out of date now, but act as a little reminder for me about how I got started blogging on my phone. My business grew as a result of being able to update blogs while on the move, so credit to Dan Roundhill for that!

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