On Wednesday, the HTC G1 smartphone will become available. This phone is probably better known as Google Phone but, it really isn’t because Google only designed the phone’s operating system called Android, which will be availible on many other phones in the future. This new phone is probably one of the first smartphones that is a true challenger to Apple’s iPhone in both software and hardware. The HTC G1 has some features that the iPhone does not have built in like a hardware keyboard. The Android OS is also more open and has more features like Google applications built-in to the operating system like Gmail, Google Contacts and Google calendar. Being the Googleholic that I am I think that if they made Google Docs and Spreadsheets and Google Reader a feature of the phone that I would definitly get it.
In hardware, the G1 has a lot more buttons than the iPhone which I originally thought wasn’t much of an issue but, the plastic buttons get in the way if you don’t need to use that phone for that specific use. For example: the pickup button and call hangup buttons should be on the touchscreen because, they are only used for when making and ending phone calls and usually just gets in the way otherwise. The G1 also has a trackball which I do not see the point of because the G1 has a touchscreen as far as I can tell there is no point of using the trackball. The touchscreen does have a multi-touch interface like the iPhone but, it is really not a necessity and it will not appear on any non-iphones because Apple owns the patents to the technology and I truly doubt that they will share it. Multitouch makes zooming in and out and other things easier but it is not really a killer function. The G1 has a lot of hardware that the iPhone has built in: GPS, Wifi,, Bluetooth (not stereo), 3G support, and much more. But, don’t forget that the G1 has a full hardware QWERTY keyboard which is one thing Apple sworn never to add and makes typing much easier of email, text messaging and SMS. Unfortunatly, it also has the enbeded headphone jack like the original iPhone which forces users to buy the proprietory HTC headphones. This is rediculous stupid because Apple switched to a flush headphone jack and I think it is a total mistake to make you get a HTC headphones instead of just using your own favorite pair of headphones.
Now as far as software, the Android operating system has built-in Google applications, Amazon Mp3 store, an alarm clock, a web browser,based on Chrome browser , Google calendar, a camera application for taking pictures, your Gmail contacts, a phone dialer (it is a phone remember), an email application, which I don’t understand why they build that in inaddition to Gmail which you can just use Gmail for all your email accounts! Other applications included is an Instant messaging based on Google Talk, Google Maps, text messaging and a music player. The G1 also has a marketplace which is a store to download new applications allows you to post applications and get them without the limitations like the iPhone’s app store which only allows applications that do not compete with services that Apple provides and does not do anything Apple does not want to allow to run on their phone. Google does developer contact information so if the application is breaking laws or causing problems T-mobile can contact the programmer andfix the problem.
Things I do not like is the G1 does not support Google Docs or Google Reader as of yet which would really make it a killer phone. The interface is not nearly as slick and elegant as the iPhone but, is more open to developers and better for users because they can install any Application they want on their phone. The G1 also does not have a video player which is a major part of the media player function but, it is nice that you can buy your music through Amazon’s DRM-free store.
On the bright side, you get google street view and most of your google applications anywhere and you have a lot more freedom than the iphone as far as customization and applications. In the future, I think the Android OS will become even more advanced and can be a full blown iphone killer if the UI is developed better and made more slick and adds Docs and Google Reader I think the G1 may be a better option for a phone.
The HTC G1 will be $179 with a 2-year Tmobile contract, which I am not fond of but, if you have a contract with another provider and you want a Google phone then, you can just wait for an Android phone to come to your provider, that is if you are happy with your provider or you can just wait till your contract expires and switch to a cell phone service who has the phone. Personally in writing this I have become interested and might consider getting on of these phones especially if they add Google Docs and Reader. This is perfect for nerds but, not really for average users because the OS is still a little too complicated for the mainstream.