T-Mobile G1 and Android

The popularity of Apple’s iPhone has revolutionized the smart-phone market, forcing traditional powerhouses such as RIM — the maker of Blackberry — and Palm to rethink and redesign their mobile platforms. It has also drawn new players to this rapidly expanding market. On Tuesday, Google and T-Mobile unveiled their entry into the fray: the T-Mobile G1.

The G1, which retails at $179 starting Oct. 22, mimics much of the iPhone’s functionality, but with a different aesthetic. It runs Google’s new mobile operating system, Android — a touch-compatible platform that seeks to integrate Google’s myriad online offerings with an on-the-go device. The G1 is also a slider phone, concealing a physical keyboard.

That keyboard has been a crucial point for those Yalies who learned of the new product.

“I like how it’s got a keyboard that’s easier to use,” Andre Narcisse ’12, a Blackberry user, said. “The iPhone’s keyboard is terrible.”

Blackberries, iPhones and other smart phones represent a substantial portion of Yale’s mobile phone population.

Functionality-wise, T-Mobile’s phone aligns nearly completely with Apple’s, offering built-in WiFi and 3G, a new “Android Market” for on-device application downloads, a music-purchasing service through Amazon, a full Web browser and a camera. Early previews, however, show a lack of multi-touch functionality and the polish evident in the iPhone.

Enhanced NY Licenses

The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles has joined a growing movement to increase the function of the driver’s license, releasing a new optional Enhanced Driver’s License. It goes beyond being a card that says “I drive,” and permits travel across certain borders, specifically to Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.

The license incorporates an encrypted radio tag containing an assigned number that allows border officers to access biographic and biometric data identifying the license-holder.

Most students from New York interviewed had not heard of the new option, although all those informed reacted positively.

Will Wong ’09 said he thinks it is a “cool idea. It’s great that they’re expanding the capabilities of the license.”

Officials intend the new license to replace the passport as the required documentation for routine trips across the Canadian border in northern New York.

iPhone recall

If you bought an iPhone 3G, your USB power adaptor may be faulty.

Apple has issued a massive recall of the USB power adaptor shipped with the iPhone 3G. If this recall affects you, you can either go to a store for an exchange starting Oct. 10 or order a replacement at https://supportform.apple.com/200809/.