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September 23, 2008

Android Makes its Debut in T-Mobile G1

After less than a year since the initial Android announcement, T-Mobile USA launches today the first handset that uses Android's software stack: a smartphone built by HTC, which is known for manufacturing Windows Mobile portable devices.

T-Mobile G1 showcases some of the most advanced capabilities of Android, by including a touchscreen, QWERTY keyboard, accelerated 3D graphics, Wi-Fi and 3G support, GPS and accelerometer. The device won't have an impressive design and it won't be as easy to use as an iPhone, but it will certainly be able to run a lot of interesting applications.

Android's marketplace will accept any applications without a preliminary review, so that users decide whether they're useful. That means Angelo DiNardi's MailWrangler application won't be rejected because it duplicates the functionality from a built-in application. "Developers will be able to make their content available on an open service hosted by Google that features a feedback and rating system similar to YouTube. (...) Content can debut in the marketplace after only three simple steps: register as a merchant, upload and describe your content and publish it," explains Android's blog.


Even if the first device fails to impress, it will still be a success because Android pushes the boundaries further. "Consumers will see cheaper and more innovative mobile devices and services, which will inevitably feature more engaging, easier-to-use interfaces - as well as a rich portfolio of applications," envisions Open Handset Alliance's FAQ.

We will find more at 10:30 a.m. EDT, when T-Mobile and Google will announce the device in a press conference webcasted live.


Update. HTC has more information about the device:

Processor: Qualcomm MSM7201A, 528 MHz
Size: 117.7 mm x 55.7 mm x 17.1 mm (4.60 in x 2.16 in x 0.62 in)
Weight: 158 grams (5.57 ounces)
Display: 3.2-inch TFT-LCD flat touch-sensitive screen with 320 x 480 (HVGA) resolution
Camera: 3.2 megapixel color camera with fixed focus
Battery: Rechargeable Lithium-ion battery, 1150 mAh
Talk Time: 406 minutes
Standby Time: 319 hours
Memory: microSD memory card, 1 GB included
Special features: Digital Compass, Motion Sensor

Update 2: CrunchGear informs that Amazon's MP3 music store will be preloaded on the device. "T-Mobile G1 users can search, download, buy and play music from Amazon MP3, which offers over 6 million DRM-free MP3 songs. (...) Downloading music from Amazon MP3 using the T-Mobile G1 requires a Wi-Fi connection but searching, browsing, listening to samples and buying MP3s can be done wherever customers are connected to the T-Mobile network."

Update 3. More details from T-Mobile's press release: three color options (white, brown and black); music player that supports MP3, M4A (iTunes AAC, DRM-free), AMR, WMA, MIDI, WAV, OGG Vorbis; pre-installed 1 GB Micro SD memory card; built-in instant messaging client with support for Google Talk, AOL, Windows Live Messenger and Yahoo! Messenger.

Update 4: The phone costs from $179.99 to $399.99, it's locked in the T-Mobile network and it requires a 2-year subscription and a data plan that costs $25 or $35, depending on the number of messages included. T-Mobile customers from the US can pre-order the phone starting from today, but the phone will be available in stores from October 22. T-Mobile promises to launch G1 in the UK one month later and in the first quarter of 2009, for the rest of Europe.

Update 5: The entire press conference showed a surprising lack of enthusiasm until Larry Page and Sergey Brin came on stage. There were very few interesting questions about the device: we found that G1 is targeted to consumers, it doesn't support Exchange and there's no way to buy it unlocked.

Update 6. T-Mobile G1 tour (the most exciting phone in the history of phones?):



Update 7. An overview of Google's services connected to G1: search, Google Maps, Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Talk, Contacts, YouTube. There's too much Google integration: the phone even has a Google logo on the back.



Update 8: android.com is now live and it shows an interesting video about running multiple applications in Android:



This playlist highlights some cool G1 features, including the not-yet-available-in-iPhone copy & paste.



{ T-Mobile G1 image courtesy of Mark "Rizzn" Hopkins. }

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