ok, I think I've settled on the 5800. It's not as fancy as the Iphone, but it'll meet my needs.
Hopefully not permanently. I successfully downgraded the phone to 1.0RC29, rooted it, replaced the bootloader with a hackinstallable one, etc.
Then I installed Cyanogen, and it doesn't work. And I accidentally deleted the backup of the original ROM that I was careful to take at the beginning.
The best part of all is the tethering. No more futzing around with adb hacks and weirdo proxies. You just click the icon that says "tether" and an Ethernet-like device appears on your USB port. Ubuntu displayed a message on the screen that says "auto usb0 active" and suddenly my laptop is on the air.
Not bad for a tether. Certainly better than the clumsy tethering proxy I had to use before, which had a bad habit of constantly disconnecting and required proxy settings on the computer. This is comparable with low-end DSL.
1. Downgrade to T-Mobile's 1.0 RC29 ROM
2. Root the phone
3. Install a custom bootloader
4. Upgrade the radio
5. Install a custom SPL
6. Install Cyanogenmod
The radio needs to be upgraded because step 1 downgraded it. The custom SPL is required in order for the custom ROM to work, otherwise it hangs on the splash screen.
Oh, and did I mention that the G1's previously disabled multitouch becomes enabled under this build?
The important step is to get the custom bootloader ("rescue mode image") onto your phone. Not only is it necessary in order to load various ROM's, but it also makes life MUCH easier. You can backup your existing ROM to SD from there, you can install various packages, and some of them even allow you to put the phone into SD-to-USB mode so you can transfer files between the SD card and your computer without having to either boot into a working ROM or take the SD card out and put it in an external reader.
Once you've got a decent rescue mode installed, it's practically impossible to permanently brick your phone. I really trashed mine, and discovered later that I've got a bad USB port on my desktop computer at work (which also explains why the USB sticks that I filled with music at work wouldn't play in my car).
But I was later able to just mount the phone at home and put a good image on.
Definitely go for it, though. I can't say enough good things about this ROM. It's like having this year's model phone.
afaik the xpa-developers page is the most usefull site for homebrew stuff on phones...
The recovery image actually isn't part of the boot loader. It is basically a second operating system loaded on the phone whose only purpose is to manipulate the phone's main operating system image.
Once the phone is rooted you can install any recovery image you want.
The stock recovery image only knows how to do a few basic things, such as "wipe" (erase all user data) and "apply update.zip from SD card" (which the main Android OS can signal to happen at the next boot; that's how the stock upgrades are applied).
There are a couple of excellent community-built recovery images out there.
The one I started with was called "Amon RA-recovery" which adds features such as turning the SD card into a USB target -- this is excellent for being able to transfer Android images over from your computer without actually having to boot into one -- that's great if your last load didn't work and the phone isn't bootable at the moment.
Later I found an even better one. It's called ClockworkMod Recovery [http://www.clockworkmod.com].
It has the USB target, and it has the ability to apply *any* image from SD (so you don't have to rename the one you want to update.zip), and it can manage various things on the SD card. This is the one you want if you want to partition the SD card. Partitioning sets aside part of the SD to be used as an extension of the phone's own flash memory, essentially obliterating what was considered to be the G1's main limitation. You can also build a swap partition, which Android can use the same way any Linux kernel does.
Also, if you have ClockworkMod Recovery, you can use ClockworkMod ROM Manager (included in CyanogenMod) to perform related tasks while Android is running. Much easier to apply updates once they arrive.
Considering that you can always flash a new Android image from the recovery mode, and you can also flash a new recovery mode image (power up by holding home+power to boot in recovery mode; power up by holding camera+power to boot into the ROM monitor, from where you can load a new recovery image) it's actually pretty hard -- maybe even impossible -- to permanently brick your G1 to the point where it can't ever be made to work again. I guess some unskilled people would consider a phone to be bricked if it just doesn't boot and they don't know how to fix it. My phone was failing to boot at one point, but I still got it running again.
It turned out that I wasted *hours* on this project because the USB port on my desktop computer at work was writing corrupted data to the phone! This also explains why I was unable to transfer music to USB drives to play in the car, and why a bunch of other things I've done since getting that computer have failed.
This whole thread makes me want to buy another phone. My Blackberry 8120 is getting a little worn. The main thing for which I selected it--built-in 802.11--is now a common feature. The field is a little wider now.
Boston. But they sometimes have a problem with luxating patellas, so you have to be...
No, wait, that's Boston Terrier. Never mind.
I don't know how far Cyanogen will go with the G1 but Android 2.2 Cyanogenmod is a really sweet software stack. Considering that we usually go three years instead of the more common two before changing out our phones, and we've only had our G1's for about four months, it's nice to have the latest and greatest software. I think we can definitely go three years on this, maybe even longer.
So maybe you might want to consider waiting a little while, wait for the G2 to hit the streets, then pick up a used G1 for cheap and upgrade it.
I don't so much need a NEW phone. I just really don't much care for the one I've had for two years, and it's starting to get a little twitchy. I will look into this further.
I like my nokia 5800, but I really only need it for music and email and other such teeny-bopper crap.
I mean, I imagine g2 will use or eventually require a new level of OS which people will start writing apps for that won't work on the hacked g1 and now the hacked g1 can't be upgraded without losing all your toys...
The installer for Cyanogenmod is careful about setting aside the Google apps that are not included in the open source an
Android build, and it reinstalls them at the end.
It also blocks any update that would "unroot" your device.
It's the current version, compatible with the latest and greatest.