I saw people with both locked and unlocked G1s (I think technically the unlocked phone isn't a G1 but whatever) using an application which deliberately imitates the tricorder, including probably unauthorised use of real Star Trek noises. It mostly does random useless stuff, but a few of the things it measures are based on the sensors in the device, like orientation and position.
The actual battery included in the device is just physically too small to get the job done IMO. I was very surprised when I saw how tiny it was. Obviously there's a lot of electronics packed inside the case, but it seems like they need to find more room to store power, urgently. I'm used to my ancient Nokia, which goes for about a week between charges, and that's on a battery which is now almost ten years old, but it's physically twice as large as the one inside a G1.