It's been nearly a year since Google first officially announced its plans to develop an operating system for mobile phones and today we see the launch of the first phone using Android. The T-Mobile G1 was launched today at a press event in New York City.
Starting with the hardware, the phone itself 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. The G1 supports GSM/GPRS/EDGE/UMTS/HSDPA and of course GPS, Bluetooth, and WiFi.
For those that aren't quite sold on the Apple iPhone's touchscreen-based "soft" keyboard, the T-Mobile G1 features a qwerty keyboard which is revealed by turning the device on its side and sliding the keyboard upward. Other niceties include a built-in 3.1MP camera and a microSD slot (a 1GB microSD comes pre-installed).
The T-Mobile G1 will be available at launch in black, brown, and white.
Microsoft has already announced that it is developing an applications store similar in concept to Apple's iTunes App Store called "Skymarket". Google will launch what it calls Android Market. Given that the T-Mobile G1 uses a Google-based operating system, Google Maps (complete with Street View and Traffic View) and YouTube applications are pre-installed on the device. Google’s newly launched Chrome web browser will also make an appearance on the G1 in the form of “Chrome Lite”.
Another direct shot is taken at Apple in the form of a dedicated Amazon MP3 Music Store application designed for Android. Customers will have access to over six million DRM free songs starting at just $0.89 each. Customers will be able to download the songs directly to the G1, but a WiFi connection is required for over the air downloads.
"Amazon wants to make it easy for customers to discover, buy, and play their music wherever they happen to be--whether sitting at their computer or on the go," said Bill Carr, Amazon.com Vice President for Digital Music and Video. "We look forward to the release of the T-Mobile G1, which will put Amazon MP3's vast selection of low-priced DRM-free music at the fingertips of even more customers in more places."
The T-Mobile G1 will be available October 22 for $179 with a two-year contract. Data plans will start at $25 for unlimited data and limited messaging; while unlimited data and messaging will set you back $35.
According to BusinessWeek, T-Mobile is expected to sell 200,000 to 400,000 of the phones before the end of 2008. Analysts for iSuppli expect that figure to grow to as many as 9 million units globally for all of 2009.
You can catch Walt Mossberg's first impressions of the device here.