Here at last are leaked pictures of the world’s first Google Android phone, the T-Mobile G1. Actually, it’s an HTC Dream rebadged as the G1, but T-Mobile will be the network offering it first, so the G1 it is.
Being a smartphone, it could either be pure touchscreen, like the iPhone, or come complete with a physical keyboard like the majority of Windows Mobile and Symbian S60 smartphones. Thankfully, it chose the latter, and has a slide out keyboard that will be familiar to many users of other HTC devices.
Better still, the keyboard isn’t just a full QWERTY keyboard, it’s also got dedicated number keys as well as two ALT buttons for selecting the punctuation symbols that are doubled up on some character keys. As I found out with my MWg Zinc II review, you need two ALT buttons, as just having one leaves you trying to do finger contortions that nobody over the age of 14 can manage!
More details and pics after the jump
I have high hopes for this phone. I love my Nokia E90, but there aren’t many Symbian applications you can download for it, and it has nowhere near the web/mobile application integration that the iPhone does (for example, there’s no dedicated FaceBook app for the Symbian S60 platform on which it’s built).
Equally, the applications on the iPhone look fantastic, but the phone itself is no good for me. Sure it has 3G now, but that’s still ten times slower than my E90, and I hate the Apple store, which locks the development process and restricts innovation by ensuring Apple get the final say over which apps are developed and which aren’t.
Google Android, by contrast, is entirely open, and the Android Market will be a place where any developed can upload their applications for people to use, without Google saying what can and cannot be sold.
As such, if they can get the hardware and features right, Android phones should eventually blow the iPhone out the water, as the pace of innovation within the Android market should be much faster than that of the iPhone’s. Just witness how fast the Web has evolved, and Android phones are based on exactly the same open model.
The T-Mobile G1 is still scheduled for a release sometime in September,and as these pics show, it’s looking pretty close to being finalized, so even if it misses its September deadline, it shouldn’t be by much.
The battle for the smartphone market is shaping up nicely, something which Nokia has itself recognized in a post I’ll cover tomorrow. With the market soon to have Symbian, Windows Mobile, Apple iPhone and now Google Android platforms to work with, the mobile Web is about to become a much bigger part of our lives than it is now, and feature much tighter integration with the Web applications and services we’ve come to rely on on our desktop.