V What I do on my hiptop
* Read and respond to email
* Instant messaging and IRC
* Take notes
V What I do on my iPod touch
* Listen to podcasts and spoken word content
* Listen to music (iPod, Pandora, Radio Paradise)
* Read news (NetNewsWire)
* Browse social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter)
* Look up reference information (Google Maps, TripIt, Mint, etc.)
V Good on the Android device
* Fonts! Especially small fonts are rendered extremely well, better than the iPhone's Helvetica
* Maps and GPS integration: Google Latitude, My Tracks, etc.
* Places Directory is really well done (a lot of this app's functionality was later integrated into Google Maps)
* Keyboard - not quite the quality of the hiptop keyboard, but a similar enough layout that I can touch-type.
* ConnectBot - especially mappings for Tab, Control, Pg Up/Down and haptic arrows
* WeatherBug - updating weather location via GPS and posting the temperature as a notification.
* Google Talk - great handling of dropped network connections (more explicit than on hiptop)
* Notifications, especially the ability to have persistent ones and to show animated progress indicators both in the title bar and in the expanded notification itself. (I can see how the Pre's controls-in-notifications is an even further improvement.) Also, neat how the notification area changes into the date. Also like the single "clear notifications" button; much like the corresponding one in Safari's downloads window.
* Unlock interface
* Downloads interface in Web browser (helps asynchrony).
* Magic appearing scroll handle (like this better than the iPhone's letter index column because it's easier to see what you can grab)
* Feels good (if it does get a bit hot) as a phone; sound quality is quite good.
* Wi-Fi interface (even if it's a bit hard to get to): makes it clear what's going on with connection status, unlike iPhone.
V What I disliked
V In general: too many ways to interact.
* UI is inconsistent and not discoverable: many options are only available via contextual menu (hold).
* Not making good use of background tasks for caching; slow response in apps that should be Google's strength e.g. takes 10 seconds to open the first Gmail message in my inbox
* Long pauses at annoying times with NO INPUT BUFFERING! Especially notable in the browser's input box, you have to type so slowly. The hiptop, also running interpreted Java at 1/20th the CPU speed could do better than this.
* Notifications good, but use of audio/vibrate/LED not so much. Hiptop did a much better job at this.
* Touch screen can become inoperative for 10 seconds or more: non-starter. At least need some kind of "busy" icon if the device is GCing its little heart out.
* Mail notification is "new email". Seriously, who's it from?
V Far too often it was difficult to guess what would happen when i pushed something, particularly the back button.
* Example: in Gmail app writing an email. I hit find+B to go to the browser to check out a restaurant I want to mention. In the browser, "back" will go back a page through history, so this doesn't work to go to Gmail (sometimes "back" will navigate between apps). When I used find+G to switch to Gmail, I got back the message list and had to hit the "back" button (completely undiscoverable) to get back to my draft.
* Of course, iPhone does this perfectly with standard back toolbar button.
* Double whammy: "menu" button is contextual (can't see options) and varies at different "levels" of apps, meaning you end up having to alternate back/menu to find the option you want.
* Also, some options are *only* available in contextual menus (tap and hold). The hiptop (mostly) didn't do this; the contextual menu popup shortcut (menu + wheel) could save some clicks, but was otherwise unnecessary.
* Hardware design: location for back button is incredibly awkward for right-handers in portrait layout; asymmetric keyboard is uncomfortable
* Email apps did not permit anything but TOFU (even K-9 Mail, which finally allowed editing the quote as of a few days ago).
* Contacts autofiltering only shows a single number for each person. Huh?!
* Typing letters in the phone app dials a number, doesn't *also* filter for the name. Huh.
V Lack of keyboard shortcuts & keyboard support. For example, why doesn't *every alphabetic list* support keyboard filtering or at least type-ahead selection by default? (They do on the hiptop.) Why don't all the desktop Gmail shortcuts work with the Gmail app? Why don't they just port the Google Quck Search Box to Android?
* Even when there *are* shortcuts, they are undiscoverable. Why not just show always?
* App installation experience requires too many taps. No "upgrade all" button like on the iPhone; deletion requires going into preferences or Market app rather than direct manipulation
* Fine-grained text editing in single-line text fields is *really* irritating, because it's far too easy to roll the trackball down slightly and go to the next line. There are no arrow keys and no iPhone style magnification, which would work too. In the browser, you can hold down the shift key to get a virtual mouse cursor which helps considerably with placement, but after you get the insertion point in the right place, typing... brings up the address bar. Totally useless.
* Lack of configurability in the *right* places: for example, no trackball sensitivity option; no "how long to lock before re-requesting" (*really* irritating when in car)
* Surprised that iPhone Google Maps is more usable: history only via autocomplete; reluctant to reevaluate "my location"; frequently runs out of memory while displaying traffic information; uses gray dashed line rather than solid blue line to indicate current path, which makes it difficult to read street names underneath
* Surprising that the two things Google is best known for - search and email - have such pitiful interfaces on Android. And particularly in combination with speed: Android is unusably slow in most operation.
V What the iPhone is missing
* Better notification interface for IM
* Keyboard equivalents, allow you to encode common multi-step operations into muscle memory
V A directional pad or equivalent, useful for text editing. Trackball is barely usable, touch screen is not.
* Interesting to note - the first Mac didn't have arrow keys as an attempt to stop programmers from depending on them.
* Consider the iPod: 1D nav + dirpad. This is really the minimum usable. Trackball seems to duplicate touch screen functionality: what's the point?
* A Bluetooth keyboard with dirpad and universal keyboard equivalents (a la Newton) would essentially fix everything
V Six months later:
* Speed is dramatically improved, certainly on par with the iPhone 3GS in all functions. Multitasking is eminently usable, and management of background processes has improved (though it's still too complex for the average user). Still, the UI doesn't place as high a priority on scrolling following the user as the iPhone.
* Use of the trackball for notifications (like early hiptops did with their wheel) is quite an improvement over a tiny tricolor LED.
* A few things are still not terribly good despite multiple UI overhauls, particularly the Market. No "update all" and the install/update experience is still really clunky: feels a lot like the Blackberry.
* The touch-screen UI has unquestionably taken precedence over the keyboard UI. The trackball is still present and finally used as a notification device.
* Proximity sensor is present and useful.
* Many small bugs are fixed, improving usability universally.
* Messaging is fast enough to be usable as on the hiptop again, though Google Voice seems poorly integrated (requires polling).
* The high-resolution OLED display is absolutely stunning.
* Managing multiple applications isn't any better (nothing approaching webOS-style), though application launching and switching is so fast it's actualy usable.
* Gmail is still pretty painful to use (for my use). While some bugs are fixed, such as not being able to usably put multiple label shortcuts on a home screen, it's still far inferior to the iPhone mail client, not to mention the hiptop mail client.
* Search is much better, to the point that it's usable. Particularly, voice search (not the voice dialer) actually works.
* Google Maps Navigation seems like the killer app. It started out good and is only getting better. However, it's unfortunate that it doesn't allow you to use Google Maps for other things (e.g. finding items along the route) while it's running.