Tuesday, September 23, 2008

First Android Phone Unveiled by T-Mobile, Google, and HTC

The waiting, rumors, and anticipation are finally over. In a 45 minute press conference streamed online and now available on demand the heads of the 3 companies unveiled the great G!. With a lot of hype and many flashy videos they did a nice job. Now that the details are out some may feel a little let down.

This is a great first step to having an open operating system be successful on a phone. I am sure Android will be around for a long time and many great apps will be built as a result of the open source development. This phone will not be a major competitor to the iPhone though.
The portion of T-Mobile's Web site for current customers to upgrade or to find out more about the G1 was down for hours after the press conference due to overwhelming requests. Obviously, other companies have had trouble like this during new product launches. Don't you think they would have been ready for this?

How could they screw this up? T-Mobile forgot about the "Open" part.
  • Current T-Mobile customers who are under a current contract do not get the phone for the $179 price. It is $299 in most cases. Even if you have been a customer for over 5 years and your current contract expires in 3-4 months, then you don't qualify for the "Special" price. How about rewarding the customers who have been loyal and suffered through the spotty coverage for all these years?
  • Data plan required. You can't get the phone without a $25 or $35 "Unlimited" Data plan. (400 messages included with the $25 plan, unlimited messages with the $35) Some people might want to use the G1 only in WiFi hot spots, and don't need internet everywhere. Give people the choice.
  • Speaking of WiFi, the phone has it, but does not take advantage of the T-Mobile @Home WiFi service where you can make calls over your broadband internet network when you can't get a signal in your own basement.
  • Data Plan is not Unlimited. If you read the fine print it says that if you use over 1 GB of usage in one month then they can slow your speed down to Dial up rates, suspend, or terminate your Data service. (Read fine print here)
  • Earphones don't use standard plug. It uses a weird USB combo jack for that. Apple learned their lesson on that one.
  • No Video recording or Stereo Bluetooth. Not a big deal, but would have been nice.
  • No FM Radio. Would be a nice feature to set the phone apart from others.
  • Web browsing is reported to be slow and choppy.
  • No Tethering. They want this to be an "all in one" device so you can chuck you laptop right? Some people still like the big screen and keyboard sometimes. Would have been nice to use some of the pricey data plan to share with my laptop while on the go.
Just a few points that may have gotten lost in the hype. This is a great first step in the evolution of Android. Other handsets are already in development from the other cartriers. Competition will force them to make this a truly "Open" experience.
This T-Mobile customer will wait for the G2.

Resources: Visit: AndroidGuys for more on Android and the G!.

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