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Android arrives with the T-Mobile G1

There’s a couple of big launches today, and the first is the T-Mobile G1. This is the debut device based on Google’s Android software platform, an open platform that aims to be offered by a range of manufacturers and networks. There are lots of positive comments about the device at the moment so I’m looking forward to having a try at some point. The main competition for the G1 appears to be the iPhone, in light of this there’s a lot of things about the phone that don’t make much sense.

  • The applications the phone offers work best on a 3G network, and from the T-Mobile G1 site that’s not a huge amount of America. The UK has pretty patchy coverage outside of major cities so how well will a device that needs 3G work?
  • The G1 will offer Amazon’s DRM free music store with 6 million songs, but it doesn’t have a standard 3.5mm headphone jack. You have to use an adaptor in the proprietary USB socket.
  • The Phone misses a major opportunity to better the iPhone by not offering Video Recording, stereo bluetooth or a multi-touch screen.
  • For a new device that’s competing with the iPhone, the G1 is just ugly. Apple have a knack of making their products look and feel good. The G1 looks like a 10 year old lump of plastic.
  • T-Mobile are allowing 1Gb of data usage per billing cycle (I take it that’s a month) after which the data rate drops to 50Kbps. That’s unusable for a device that needs 3G to work well.

The ultimate test of the Android platform will be the sales figures. Despite the flaws of the iPhone 3G it’s still sold very well so this could be an interesting battle.

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