T-Mobile USA revealed today the HTC G1, the first phone to use Android, Google's software platform, at a New York news conference.
The new phone, called the G1 is a design from HTC Corp. of Taiwan, which has made a name for itself by making smart phones that use Windows Mobile software. The device has a touch screen and a slide-out, full-alphabet keyboard. It measures 4.60" x 2.16" x 0.62" and weighs in at 5.6 ounces. The device features a 3.17" touchscreen with a 480x320 resolution and a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, a feature lacking on the iPhone. It is based on Qualcomm MSM7201A processor at 528MHz and sports 128MB of memory, 1GB of flash memory and microSD slot for memory cards. It also has a 3.0-megapixel camera with photo-sharing capability. Unlike the iPhone, however, the G1 cannot shoot video.
The phone will feature 5 hours talk time and 130 hours standby time.
The 3G-enabled device comes with a web browser installed, based on Google's Chrome application. It allows consumers to navigate across the net and features onscreen controls that allow users to zoom on a specific segment of the displayed page with a single touch. In addition, the interface allows for drag and drop functions of different applications/icons or pull windows down providing a multi-tasking experience. Simple access to Google applications including Google Maps, Gmail, and YouTube, and access to Android Market, where users can get games, music, and also shop.
In cooperation with internet retail giant Amazon.com - in a direct challenge to Apple's iTunes - the entire catalogue of the Amazon MP3 music store would be available on the new phone. The DRM free songs start at just $0.89 each.
Instant messenger, music player capable of playing AAC, WMA and MP3 files and games are also included in the phone.
What is also interesting is the connection of the phone's contact page with Google map, in cases where the user has added the contact's address in the phone's memory. Google map will immediately provide directions and traffic details related to the address of the contact.
BlueTooth, Wifi connectivity and of course GPS, are also supported.
The open source nature of the Android platform allows for almost unlimited applications and services to be developed for the G1, according to Google's executives. Google announced such an interesting application today. The application will allow G1 users to "scan" the bar code placed on almost any product found in stores using G1's built-in camera. Then, the device will access the internet and will be able to find the best price of the specific product.
As in the case of Apple's iPhone, which seems to be a direct competitor of the new Android phone, the G1 will be SIM-locked to T-Mobile network.
The GSM/GPRS/EDGE/UMTS/HSDPA phone would sell for $179 in the U.S. on Oct 22 with a two-year contract and it will be exclusively available by T-Mobile. Existing T-Mobile customers will be able to order the G1 over the internet staring from today. Data plans will start at $25 for unlimited data and limited messaging; while unlimited data and messaging will set you back $35. European availability is scheduled for November for the U.K. and in the 1Q of 2009 for the rest of Europe.