Print 12 comment(s) - last by tdawg.. on Dec 8 at 8:39 PM

Google's unlocked Android smart phone is available for $399 plus a $25 developer registration fee and comes in this slick black design.  (Source: Google)
Google's is making life a bit easier for its developers

Want to develop applications for Google's Android Market, but don't want to get stuck with having to enter a T-Mobile contract to get a phone to test on?  Just buy the new unlocked Google Android-OS based smart phone.

Google released last Friday the Android Dev Phone 1, a SIM-unlocked and hardware-unlocked G1 phone, which will run the Android OS and allow developers to test new applications.  The phone is available for $399, plus the $25 to register as an Android developer on the Android Market site, raising the cost to $424. 

Appearance-wise, the unlocked G1 looks pretty slick with a new dark steel gray case design, with a pattern in the back.  The phone is available in United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, India, Canada, France, Taiwan, Spain, Australia, Singapore, Switzerland, Netherlands, Austria, Sweden, Finland, Poland and Hungary.

For now, Google's developers can only get one phone per account, to prevent hogging of the unlocked hardware.  The phone marks a departure from Google's first smart phone, the G1 on the T-Mobile network which debuted September 23 and was not unlocked.  The G1, however, is still the significantly cheaper phone, available for only $179 with a T-Mobile contract.

The G1 also appears to be picking up steam and is expected to possibly announce sales of over a million G1 phones by January 1.  While short of the 74 days needed to sell the first million iPhones, the G1 would come very close to the iPhone's initial pace, reaching the million mark at 99 days, if it hits it at exactly the year's end.  This raises the stakes for developers, who are looking to cash in on the growing user base, much as Apple's developers have.

Google warns that non-developers buying the unlocked Android phone for personal use may experience issues.  It states, "Since the devices can be configured with system software not provided by or supported by Google or any other company, end users operate these devices at their own risk."

To wrap up the spate of Android-related happenings, Google has also released Android 1.0 SDK Release 2, the second version of its software development kit.  The kit allows developers to write applications for 1.0 Android phones, like the G1, as well as fixing some crucial bugs.  Among the bugs fixed was a particularly nasty hole that allowed Java Reflection APIs to access private or protected fields and methods, a serious security risk.

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My only complaint.
By bhieb on 12/8/2008 10:11:54 AM , Rating: 5
Please don't make the mistakes that Apple did. Get an ActiveSync license so it will work seamlessly with Exchange. The business sector is still huge, and without exchange integration I fear this otherwise good mobile OS is destine to be just another consumer device with a geek following but not much more.

RE: My only complaint.
By austinag on 12/8/2008 10:25:12 AM , Rating: 3
They named the OS Android and have released a developers phone. The geek market has already been embraced.

Now the only hope for the phone is if those geeks come up with some really appealling apps, rahter then just developing apps to count down to the next Star Trek film.

RE: My only complaint.
By Sunrise089 on 12/8/08, Rating: -1
RE: My only complaint.
By Mojo the Monkey on 12/8/2008 12:28:11 PM , Rating: 2
Agree on this point, the original poster may have overlooked the fact that iPhone already does have exchange and I'm not quite sure what mistake they'd be following.

That being said, I like the direction that the G1 is taking. If you want exchange support, show interest in the dev blogs and maybe someone will make an app for 5 bucks so you can have it. My understanding is that all apps must be free in 2008, so many people are waiting to release their primo apps in 2009 so they can be compensated.

As a G1 owner and iPhone/ipod touch frequent user, I can tell you that the apps running on the G1 have a lot more potential, in part because of their access to core phone functions. I'm sure full exchange support is less than 5 months away.

RE: My only complaint.
By Gzus666 on 12/8/2008 12:59:25 PM , Rating: 2
Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't the iPhone lack this exchange support for some time before finally getting it?

RE: My only complaint.
By Mojo the Monkey on 12/8/2008 1:14:34 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, but in the end they DID get it. Better than never, I suppose.

I'm just curious to see how they handle it on the G1. Right now, only my gmail is pushed, with instant notification and status notification in the upper bar. My secondary accounts are manual check/update. It would be nice to see exchange with push support to bring it on par with the attention gmail gets. Hopefully they'll be able to do this when they start allowing people have access to the "desktop" icons. Right now, I believe that part of the OS source code is either not released or are locked. It would be nice to have an applet that changed the icon to show new mail or other phone changes.

if they offered paid apps
By TMV192 on 12/8/2008 10:33:20 AM , Rating: 2
I'm sure their android market would becoming significantly more interesting

RE: if they offered paid apps
By Gzus666 on 12/8/2008 10:54:04 AM , Rating: 2
And in less than a month they will. Google made it clear while they setup a payment system for the market, it will be free. They are opening the pay market in January.

Once again...
By fibreoptik on 12/8/2008 12:10:47 PM , Rating: 2
Google stock is on the rise and I have no money to invest... %#^@%^$

RE: Once again...
By Mojo the Monkey on 12/8/2008 12:29:12 PM , Rating: 2
did you see when it was at ~$250 a week ago?

chomp chomp chomp

By threepac3 on 12/8/2008 10:59:59 AM , Rating: 2
I love good competition...

By tdawg on 12/8/2008 8:39:42 PM , Rating: 2
I've been tempted to buy a new phone at market price because I'm still currently locked into my recently-renewed ATT contract and am supremely bored with my Pearl and this deal looked quite promising. It's kinda disappointing that the camera is not present in these dev phones (at least by the looks of it), which makes this less appealing for me as a simple consumer (I know it's for devs, not everyday consumers).

I guess I'll just wait until Android starts appearing on different style phones, hopefully some that are completely touch screen based (no physical keyboard for me). I really like the keyboard on the Samsung Eternity and would love to see something like that on an Android based phone. Actually, Android installed on a device like the Eternity, or better yet, the Behold, would be something I'd probably jump all over. :)

"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs
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