For the past few months, much of the talk in the cell phone world has centered around Apple’s latest version of the iPhone and its hot new features. Established cell phone manufacturers have been doing their best to build their own versions to take on the iPhone, but now Google, that insatiable monster of the Internet, has entered the ring with its own creation.
Powered by Google’s Android software, the T-Mobile G1 features a 3-megapixel camera and a large color touchscreen that slides out to reveal a full keyboard, a feature missing on the iPhone. The huge benefit of the Android software is that it will give users easy access to a host of Google’s services, including Search, YouTube, and Gmail. Like the iPhone, the G1 also will run programs created by third-party developers, which will be offered at the Android Market store. Amazon’s MP3 store will be preloaded on the phone.
The T-Mobile G1 also features Wi-Fi access, Bluetooth, and GPS navigation, and will run on high-speed 3G networks as well as older networks. It will be available at Abt on October 21 in black, white, and brown versions for $179 ($20 less than the iPhone) with a two-year T-Mobile contract. According to T-Mobile CTO Cole Brodman, there will also be a contract-free G1 available for $399, with buyers able to unlock the phone after 90 days.
Google’s co-founder Larry Page and Sergey Brin skated onstage wearing roller blades at the news conference in New York announcing the arrival of the G1. Whether they can skate off with huge profits from this iPhone adversary probably doesn’t worry Larry and Sergey too much, since they already have about a gazillion dollars to play with in their Mountain View, California fortress. —by Graham W.