T-Mobile MyTouch 3G with Android… Four months later

I already wrote T-Mobile MyTouch 3G First Impressions and A month with the MyTouch 3G and Android, but someone requested I write yet another follow-up post after having used the phone for a while.

Well, it’s been almost four months, and I have to say that my general impression hasn’t changed much. I can sum it up as generally positive with a few annoying glitches. If you are a part of the Apple ecosystem already, the iPhone is a better choice. But if you are a Linux user or already caught up in the Google ecosystem, an Android phone is a much better choice. A lot of other Android phones have had more hype (Hero, Droid). The MyTouch is a good phone, though. If I actually liked Sprint, I would have waited for the Hero. And if I actually wanted a boxy-looking phone with a “real” keyboard, I’d have waited for the Droid.

Here are the annoying glitches that have bugged me the most:

  • Every web browser for Android has a serious flaw. Ultimately, I’m willing to settle for the flaws in Browser over the flaws in the other ones (Steel, Dolphin, Opera, etc.).
  • The Facebook app is basically good, but when you click on a picture thumbnail, it doesn’t enlarge the picture within the Facebook app. Instead, it launches the Browser app to view the picture. Lame.
  • After the whole cease-and-desist fiasco, I wanted to support Cyanogen for making a Google-compliant fully legal rooted (i.e., jailbroken) ROM, so I’ve been using Cyanogen recently. Unfortunately, the performance has been spotty. Sometimes it’s super-speedy, and sometimes it’s super-laggy. I may end up giving DWang’s ROM a go again, even though it’s not technically legal (it’s in the spirit of the law but not the letter—apparently Google cares very much about the letter, though).
  • Google Voice is a great service. The Google Voice Android app, however, is buggy as all hell. Sometimes it crashes. Sometimes it’ll randomly duplicate SMS messages if I write the message in landscape (instead of portrait) mode.
  • This doesn’t really bother me any more. If you are thinking of getting a MyTouch, though, you should know this: the touchscreen interface takes getting used to. Unlike the iPhone, light swipes are not recognized. You need to press your finger on the screen when you swipe.
  • With the latest versions of Android, there is no way to disable the camera sound (which is extremely loud). I had to install an app called Sound Manager in order to silence it.

That’s about it.

What has been the good stuff?

  • Opening links in background windows (except the Google recently changed its Google News website so that you cannot open links in background windows—other sites work fine with it, though).
  • Good Google Voice integration.
  • Ability to turn any song into a ringtone without special software is great. Right now the Noisettes’ “Wild Young Hearts” is my ringtone.
  • Ability to send unwanted calls straight to voicemail through the phone and to just block them altogether with Google Voice is invaluable.
  • USB tethering is even better than Wifi tethering. You just plug it in and Ubuntu automatically starts using the connection. No need to select anything or change a setting.

In the end, though, a phone is a phone. It makes calls. It receives calls. I can check my email and look up something quick on the web. There are subtle nuances that will differentiate Symbian from WebOS and Windows Mobile from the iPhone OS X and all that from Android. SmartPhones all pretty much do the same thing, though.

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3 Comments

  1. I see you’ve got USB tethering working and I was wondering if you might be able to help me with the same.

    I’m running Ubuntu 9.04 (have been putting off the 9.10 upgrade forever — maybe this month!), and I’ve got a T-Mobile MyTouch 3G (aka HTC Magic 32B, if memory serves). It’s running Cyanogen-Mod-4.2.15.1.

    When I connect the phone via USB, Ubuntu recognizes it and starts using the phone’s connection. ifconfig shows I’ve got an IP address, and I can use dig to resolve domain names, but I can’t ping, ssh, or browse the Internet.

    Unfortunately, wireless tethering won’t work for me either, as my wifi card doesn’t seem to support ad-hoc mode, so it’s wired or nothing for me.

    Any insight is much appreciated!
    -Pitt

  2. Just thought I’d follow up to say that when I upgraded to 9.10, ad-hoc networking was no longer an issue. Tethering over USB works, too, though Epiphany seems to play nicer with it than Firefox (could be I should have started Firefox *after* switching connections).

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