On Oct. 22, T-Mobile and Google bring out the G1, the first hand-held computer that’s in the same class as Apple’s iPhone. Just days after going on pre-sale the G1 sold out, which sent T-Mobile scrambling to place more orders.
The amount of units pre-sold is reported to be around 1.5 million. It took 74 days for Apple to hit a million iPhones. But Engadget says T-Mobile’s G1 presales aren’t “even close” to 1.5M, a figure Motley Fool came up with.
The G1 has a removable battery and memory cards. And it’s even a bit cheaper than the iPhone: $179 versus $199. Its data plan also costs less — $25 a month versus $30 — and includes 400 free text messages, which cost extra on the iPhone. There’s also a $35 plan that includes unlimited text messages. And both plans include free use of T-Mobile’s Wi-Fi hotspots.
The G1 has a slick, clever touch interface to go along with its keyboard, and it includes a powerful new operating system. The operating system, called Android, was built by Google (GOOG). It is slated to appear on other phones over time, though it likely will look different on other devices because it is fully open to modification by other companies.
On the G1, the touch interface is fast and smooth. Programs appear when you drag up a tab at the bottom of the screen, and notifications of new messages can be read by simply dragging down the top bar of the screen.
The G1’s biggest differentiator is that it has a physical keyboard, which is revealed by sliding open the screen. The keyboard proved only fair in my tests.
The G1’s Web browser, built on the same technology as the iPhone’s, worked well at rendering scores of common sites in my tests. You can either pan around pages with your finger, or choose to view the whole page at once and zero-in on a section by moving a small rectangle around.
This first Android phone, which was largely designed by Google and built by Taiwan-based HTC, also includes some key features Apple omitted. These include a limited ability to copy and paste text, and the ability to send photos directly to other phones without relying on email, a common phone feature called MMS, or Multimedia Messaging Service. And, unlike AT&T (T), T-Mobile (DT) will even allow users to legally unlock the phone after 90 days and start using it on another carrier, provided you pay a hefty early-termination fee.
- Google Android operating system
- 528MHz Qualcomm 7210 processor
- Quad-band GSM (850/1800/1900 MHz)
- Dual-band UMTS/HSDPA (1700/2100 MHz)
- 256MB ROM and 192MB RAM
- 3.17 inch 480×320 high resolution display
- 1150 mAh battery
- 3.2 megapixel camera with geo-tagging functionality
- Integrated GPS receiver
- Integrated 802.11 b/g WiFi radio
- Integrated Bluetooth 2.0 radio with EDR
- microSD card slot with support for SDHC cards (1GB microSD card pre-installed)
- Dedicated 5-row QWERTY keyboard
- Weight: 5.6 ounces
- Dimensions:: 4.60 inches x 2.16 inches x 0.62 inches
Google’s Android Developer Challenge awarded cash prizes to the most innovative and promising applications. The ten top teams received $275,000 and 10 other teams received $100,000.