I will keep this short, as I actually want to read your excellent tutorials.
I have had a G1 prototype for a little over 6 weeks. This prompted me to dust off some old chat app I had written for the original Danger (networking, multi-threaded... non trivial, really), and was able to get it working fairly quickly on the emulator. Being dense, I did not even realize before 3 weeks ago that I had the means to put my app on the phone (plug in a USB cable, and it becomes a natural option presented when you run from within Eclipse).
Overall, the criticisms you read of the phone are accurate. This is not a magic phone by any means (when viewed through the prism of hardware OR software). However, as you may guess, its promise as a platform is fully there, and the built-in apps and 3rd party apps should help the software side rapidly as we see what the next hardware article might look like.
keyboard is not good -- short key travel, insufficient tactile feedback, and lack of convexity to the keys nearly nullify the advantage it should provide over a touchscreen
I am not fond of the chassis buttons being arrayed at the bottom of the phone as you hold it vertically. Like the Sidekick, this phone has little value when held vertically, and when you flip it on its side and expose the keyboard, the hard buttons' position proves itself awkward (left thumb has nothing to do) and even the icon on the "back" button seems to mark it as a nonsensical "down" button. It's just not right
Screen is brilliant! I can read the screen easily in even fairly direct sunlight. That much is a win from the hardware side.
I have used the camera VERY little, and listened to no music on it (I have no bluetooth headsets, and don't care to get one just now). The camera is slow, slow, slow -- but it would not be fair to comment on its image quality, as I have barely looked at the 3-4 photos I took with it.
I have often gotten echoey phone calls (half-second delay, and loud). This, of course, could be a number of factors, but its been a problem often enough I think it could be in this phone.
I wish the SMS (awkwardly called "messaging") app and all IM transports were integrated into a single "I type, they type, we all read" app client. You are left navigating between apps to switch between chats on different transports -- this is as modern as if you needed a different email client to talk to an AOL friend as a Comcast friend. However, this is a nit, I suppose, as I have not yet seen a phone take this natural step, probably due to undue influence from the transport providers (come on through for me, 3rd party developers!)
Voice-dialer is pretty darned good. It is simple (press and hold the green call button to activate it), but a great exception to the phone's general fault which is that most things you want to make it do seem to require a lot of clicking around to get there.
Sadly, voice messaging is done in the old school, non-visual style (you call a voicemail back-end).
I find the overall software impression off-putting. The phone is a mix of widgets presented in outlandishly oversize dimensions (editing a contact is exceedingly difficult, as so few fields are visible at once) and others in exquisitely minute dimensions (people over 40 will find reading an email in Gmail a challenge, and there is no way to magnify the view that I've found).
Touch screen is a bit of a problem at times, as it is used. For instance, when composing a message in Gmail, there is a "send" button on the scrollable form, at the bottom. I have often sent out half-completed emails by accidental touches of this button as I looked up to get onto a bus or similar real-world situations where you'd like to use a phone for computery things. This should just be in the options menu, perhaps.
Network? related views
The 3G stuff is not very fast here in Boston.
Wifi is nice, and fairly well offered. It connects easily to my secured WRT54G, and to open networks.
GPS either works or it doesn't. It doesn't seem to work very quickly when it does. Like Wifi, it can be turned on or off via a system settings menu that is not easily so accessible (I'm sure there is a shortcut somewhere ... I have no documentation whatsoever).