The case of the stranded contacts

I quite like my G1, and now I’ve got TasKiller it’s battery life is almost reasonable.

One of the big features of the G1 is that when you set it up you have to tie it to a Google Account. This gives you access to email and also synchronises your contacts and your calendar on the phone with your Google Account.

This gives you a lot of extra functionality. Rather than maintaining your contacts on your phone on its internal screen you can sit at your computer and login to your Google account and do all the work there and then synchronise it, and you can also do work on your email (like delete messages in bulk and move them round) from your computer which is a lot easier.

This breaks the traditional link between phone and SIM and contacts/numbers. In the past you saved numbers in the phone or on your SIM. Move phone or move provider and you’ve got fun and games getting all your contacts synced up in one place. With the G1 they are in your Google account. So change your phone to another Android phone, or change provider (which at the moment you can’t)  and everything simply moves with you. Brilliant – and the G1 even allows you to import contacts from your SIM.

But what happens when your phone goes wrong? Well I found out.

The keyboard on my G1 has gone faulty with the P key and the backspace key going a bit odd and not working about 70% of the times you press them, and anyone who knows my typing will know that I use the backspace key a lot.  So I phoned T-Mobile and they said “Take it to your local T-Mobile store and they’ll send it away for repair”, and so I did and yes they did.

T-Mobile gave me a loan phone, a phone that looks like it crawled out from the primordial soup, no internet, no 3G, no nothing, but most importantly : NO CONTACTS.

Where are my contacts? That’s right, they’re sitting on a Google server somewhere and the phone cannot get to them.

Now I fully understand that T-Mobile can’t keep a pile of G1s in stock as loan phones, but now with things like the G1 blurring the line between phone and internet, especially when it comes to contacts etc. I think that maybe they need to look at their loan phone policy.

As for getting my G1 back? It could be 10-15 working days. So I’m stuck in the technological backwater until I get it back, unless I can work out how to use the Viewty. The only good thing you can say about the Viewty is that Linux just works with the on-board 3G modem.

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