The first Google Android phone is something of a mixed blessing. The device is more advanced than any other T-Mobile phone that I’ve owned. Yet, little things seem to pester my enjoyment of the G1. Without better headphones and a beltclip case, I’m having trouble getting comfortable with my phone.
I wandered into a Best Buy Mobile store and I was looking for a good case to use with my phone. There was an nice HTC case, which hugged my G1 phone all sweet and snuggly. Just as I was about to purchase this case, I realized one glaring problem – it blocked the mini-USB port. I wouldn’t be able to use the wacky headphones with the side strap blocking the jack. I had to go back to the stupid pouch.
Some time had passed. I decided to use the “Compass Mode” in the Google Maps program. I enjoyed using Street Mode with Compass Mode. It was like virtual reality. I could look up or down and I could turn 360 degrees. I didn’t see a point to this feature, but I noticed it when it stopped working. The compass was unable to detect the proper direction. The view would only move up or down. It was having trouble turning left or right.
Why would my phone’s compass stop working? Compasses operate based on the magnetism of the planet. Maybe there was some interference. I tried in multiple locations, but the compass would not function. Naturally, I went online and I started to research the problem. I started to read about an issue with the compass and magnetic cases. I thought, “…but I don’t have a magnetic case.”
I recalled that my phone had been exposed to a strong magnetic field. I remembered when I tried out the case in the Best Buy Mobile store. Could that have messed up my compass?
I started reading more. Apparently, other people where having the same problem. One supposed fix was to turn the G1 phone face down, and then tap the back and chin of the phone. That didn’t work for me. Another was to spin in figure eights, to help the compass recalibrate itself. My moves were elegant, but they were futile in fixing the phone. Finally, I read about the compass getting stuck. Like a madman, I began to shake my phone violently.
The frustration had gotten to me. After shaking my phone like a bottle of soda set to explode, I checked out the Compass Mode again. It was a little choppy at first, but my compass was working again!
It’s too bad. I like magnetic cases. I don’t seem to have a real need for the G1 compass, but I find it difficult to intentionally render the compass inoperable. While the compass seems trivial to me right now, an Android update (or an addition to the Android Market) could change my opinion. I can’t be shaking my phone all the time. Magnetism – just something else for me to consider while I shop for better headphones and a better case.