Happy Birthday Google Android! Welcome to Planet Earth!
It’s September 23, 2008 and that means the birth of the platform known as Google Android. Welcome to the world. You have survived childbirth, now let’s see what you do with your life. You have been hyped as much as anything in recent history, so we shall soon see what the people really think of you. It’s hard to be judged before you’re even born, huh?
Gizmodo has full details of the gPhone:
The long-awaited HTC Dream, the first commercial handset running Google’s Android operating system, will be coming to T-Mobile as the G1 for $179 on October 22nd. Featuring a 3-inch touchscreen, internet navigation buttons and a full QWERTY keypad, the smartphone market has finally broken free of Symbian, Windows Mobile and the sweet clutches of fruit companies. Read on for the details, and you can decide whether or not the competition is a good thing.
Date and Pricing
$179 on October 22nd. (That’s with a two year contract.) Unlimited internet with “some messaging” will run $25/month. Unlimited internet and messaging is $35/month. Data plans will require voice plans.
The G1 sports a 3.17″ 65K color touchscreen that runs in HVGA (480×320) resolution.
You can talk for 5 hours, or keep the phone in standby for 130 hours.
3.1MP, or right around 35mm quality.
GSM/GPRS/EDGE/Wi-Fi and UMTS/HSDPA
4.60” x 2.16” x 0.62”; Weight: 5.6 ounces. And available in white, black and brown.
1GB MicroSD card preinstalled. Supports 8GB MicroSD.
Of course, what would Google Maps be without it?
As we’ve seen in a recent update, the G1’s Maps application will integrate Street View so you can see where you are going. But in an industry first, a built-in compass orients the map to your position. North is always up!
Similar to the iPhone’s mobile App Store, the Android Market will allow downloading of various Android apps from the phone, to the phone.
Amazon MP3 Store
Amazon’s MP3 store will be preloaded on every G1, allowing the download of 6 million DRM-free tracks with singles starting at 89 cents. Downloading music requires a Wi-Fi connection, previewing can be done over T-Mobile’s network.
Yup, it’s on there.
ShopSavvy: designed to help people do comparative shopping
Ecorio: developed to help people keep track of their daily travels and view what their carbon footprint looks like BreadCrumbz: enables people to create a step-by-step visual map using photos; customers can create their own routes, share them with friends or with the world
Dan Frommer at Silicon Alley Insider has live coverage from the Google press conference:
We’re here at Guastavino’s under the Queensboro Bridge, where Google (GOOG) and T-Mobile will unveil the first Android-powered ‘GPhone’ in a few minutes. We’ll be covering the announcement live; please refresh this page for live updates. (It looks like T-Mobile is offering live video of the press conference here, too.)
LIVE notes; refresh for the latest.
10:28 Lights dimming, latecomers taking their seats. On today’s agenda: Chats from Cole Brodman, CTO for T-Mobile; Christopher Schläffer, Deutsche Telekom (DT); Andy Rubin, Google’s Android guy; and Peter Chou, CEO of HTC, the company that’s making the G1.
10:30 Eurofunk music. Video showing scenes across Europe and the rest of the world.
10:30 Brodman takes the stage. Welcome, thanks for joining us! “That video cptures the human essence in our need to connect with one another.” Can’t be face to face anymore. Technology has bridged that gap via mobile phone and Internet. Haven’t been able to rely on integration of those two in the past. Here today to change that: New platform, new device, new system, new set of services.
10:31 Introducing the others, who are sitting in the front row. Andy Rubin wearing a suit! Very nice.
10:32 Chris from DT here. Austrian! Not German! Continuing strong tradition of being pioneers of open mobile Internet. Launching the world’s first Android-based phone ,T-Mobile G1, in an exclusive partnership between Google and T-Mobile. For us, this is first because we’re launching the same device on both sides of the Atlantic.
10:33 Come along way with partners and friends at Google in pioneering approach to open up the wireless Internet. Since 2005 first telecom operator to open up, move away from walled gardens/closed portals. Really? We’ll take his word for it. Dress code appears to be suit, no tie today, btw. Think mobile Internet is huge growth opportunity going forward. In Europe, grown mobile data revs without SMS by 43%. Also traffic has grown 250% or so. Needto capitalize further on that opportunitiy.
10:35 Going through history with HTC. Ladies and gentlemen, Deutsche Telekom, T-Mobile is committed to open platforms. T-Mobile G1 is a milestone in bringing the open mobile Internet to the mass market. Thank you. Here comes Andy Rubin.
10:36 Rubin takes the stage. On G1, a dev will be able to use as a platform. Dev will also be able to modify the platform and make it better. Somewhat future proof because it has openness built in. So far this is NOT like a Steve Jobs keynote at all. Lots of “open” …
10:37 Peter Chou, CEO of HTC congratulating team on strategy, execution, etc. Tremendous effort to make this Android Open Handset Alliance happen. Good job!
10:38 A variety of Google services, content, etc. for people to use and enjoy. HTC has worked closely with Google and T-Mobile to develop a unique iconic design unlike anything else in the market that will maximize mobile Internet experience with impressive touch experience and a cool keyboard. Will appeal to a broad variety of people.
10:40 Android is nimble, flexible, and powerful. Contributing to a fundamental shift of how people will use the mobile Internet. Lots of hype, we’ll see…
10:40 Cole back on. Started about three years ago, thanking people for their contribution. Why did we invest in the Android platform with HTC and Google? Mobile broadband networks have been around, but what’s been missing is compelling set of devices and services. US Consumers overconsume everything! Yet mobile Internet penetration lags at dismal 16%. Why? Haven’t been that many compelling experiences.
10:41 Open, open, open! Embrace third parties that have driven the creation of the Internet to create new services for mobile Internet.
10:42 No more fuzzy pictures, no more unsubstantiated blog posts, no more rumors! Here it is.
10:43 Video showing lots of iPhone-like features — touch gestures, video, Amazon MP3 store, etc. Now the four guys are on stage posing with the phones like it’s some sort of Olympics medal ceremony. Wow.
10:44 Photo shoot still going on. Guys posing for at least 20 cameras. And counting…
10:45 We’ll all get to photograph it LIVE! later. And use it.
10:45 Another video — the services. Great touch screen. Swiping gestures. Also “long press” to open options and features. Drop picture on your home screen. Drag and drop any application. Amazon MP3 store.
10:46 “Terrific” music player. Music recommendations? “Powerful communicator” with IM.
10:48 Google maps with Street View. Wonder how fast it’ll load over 3G. Compass mode. Pretty cool.
10:48 Zooming in Web browser doesn’t look as elegant as on iPhone. Lags while dragging on video. Search button on keyboard.
10:49 “Copy Link URL!” COPY AND PASTE!!! Get on it, Apple!
10:50 “Always something new to discover.” So whaddya think? Woo! says the audience. “Trust me, it’s a lot of fun.” Cole says he played Pacman for 30 minutes instead of preparing speech notes. But where is SPORE?
10:51 The beauty and magic of android platform is rich toolkit. One thing as humans we can always count on is change. This platform is going to embrace that change by allowing third parties to write whatever they want. From garages to graduate schools, from small towns to big cities, think third parties will drive innovation. SAPPY!
10:52 Another video. Nerds sitting in a room talking about open source. WHAT IS THIS FOR?! MORE PHONE!
10:53 This video is a little ridiculous. Lots of dudes talking about open source. You’re not missing anything. These guys appear to be sitting on an orange/red leather IKEA Klippan couch talking about open source.
10:54 Applause. Cole back on stage.
10:55 Carbon footprint tracking people here. Shopsavvy people too. I think these are Android developer challenge winners. Yes, these are the barcode scanning people. Not sure they they’re not giving demos.
10:56 15-minute Q&A period led by T-Mobile Flack. $179, existing T-Mobile customers can buy. Can order and have it shipped to their phone. October 22. Two very compelling data and messaging plan options. $25 option with limited messaging, web, etc. $35 with unlimited.
10:58 27 3G markets by mid-November. Europe? Keen to launch in Europe? Is that what he said? UK in November, across europe in Q1 of 2009.
10:59 Rubin: Open sourcing platform. Beyond that, pretty focused road map. Going broader with more features and functionality. LONG TAIL!
11:00 HTC guy talking about mobile Internet innovation. Very proud of it.
11:00 Now Q&A opening up. Tethered modem? On top of voice plan or just data plan? All in one device; mobile device, not a tethered modem. Data plan will require a voice plan on T-Mobile’s network as well.
11:00 Gartenberg: Any support for Office or Exchange? Can read Word docs and PDF docs; Excel docs. Currently no Exchange compatibility but perfect opportunity for third-party developer. SIM Locked to T-Mobile.
11:02 GMAIL IS PUSH, other IMAP is not.
11:02 Missed this one. Something about syncing. Will be available in markets without 3G. Device also includes wifi.
11:03 Digging a little bit deeper into SIM lock question. How locked is it going to be? With iPhone, space race to unlock, etc. Any comments to that? No guarantees in technology, seen a lot happen in the last year and a half “with the device you mentioned”… $179 is cheap compared to T-Mobile’s full cost; hence is reason we’ve locked it to T-Mobile.
11:04 Google will help marketing starting in October, the biggest marketing campaign T-Mobile has ever launched. Very unique business relationship with Google; not worth commenting on at this point.
11:05 No desktop application; what Bluetooth profiles supported? Device syncs to Google services, also Yahoo, Microsoft and AIM, as far as Bluetooth profiles: headsets, handsfree, others coming later.
11:06 Who device aimed at? Business users? Consumers? Corporate market? How broad? This device going to have “mass appeal.” Something for everybody. Set off in beginning to build a device that appeals to young and social segment. Consumer device, not necessarily enterprise device. But you’ll see enterprise workers use it for that as well.
11:07 More about GMail? Rubin: As far as GMail goes, pretty robust Gmail experience. Same threading; ALLOWS YOU TO SEARCH EMAIL. A lot of email services will be integrated via Gmail powered front-end. IM: First implementation of online presence inside the phone book. More powerful communications services built into phone book.
11:08 Will it work with iTunes? Supports AAC, WMA, MP3, etc, but not iTunes-DRM compatible. Content would have to be DRM-unlocked. No Skype. Will work with any GSM network in the world, then bands that Tmobile will operate on in US, other bands around the world.
11:09 LARRY AND SERGEY! Rushed here from Google Transit launch; very exciting to be here today, says Sergey. What really gives me pleasure: I’m a bit of a geek. The way I grew up playing in college and grad school with computers, mess around with Linux, touch all the parts of the system. Get the same pleasure playing with the G1 here. Have been using it for a while now.
11:11 Sergey wrote an app that lets you throw phone up in the air, measure how many seconds until you catch it or it hits the floor. Exciting to me as a computer geek that I can have a phone I can innovate on as I have with computers in the past. Larry page talking about enjoying using it for email, been giving Andy lots and lots of feedback. Excited about possibilities it means.
11:12 As good a computer as we had a few years ago is in this phone. If asked you guys to do a Web search, coudl see how long it takes. Hard to carry your laptop “especially if you’re rollerblading.”
11:14 We now pause for a very special photo session with everyone holding their phones.
11:15 Press conference over, people filing out and heading down to demo stations.
Live blogging also from TechCrunch:
What’s known so far:
- In-store, immediate sales only available in locations within 5 miles of a 3G covered area. If a store is beyond that range, representatives will walk customers through a T-mobile.com purchase
- One touch access to: Search, Maps, Gmail, Youtube, Calendar, and Google Talk
- Gmail account and data plan required
- 3.1 mp camera, no video recording
- No stereo bluetooth (A2DP)
- Dimensions: 4.6 x 2.16 x 0.63 in
- Weighs 5.6 ounces
- 480×320 65K color screen
- 5 hour talk time, 130 hour standby time
- Expandable up to 8GB
If Google plays its cards right, its unveiling of the first Android-powered phone on Tuesday will prove to be more than a distraction from iPhone-mania – it will be the moment the search giant capitalizes on Apple’s control issues.
The feverish readers of TmoNews.com have discovered some images and specifications of the G1 phone from HTC, set to be announced later this morning. What’s surprising is what isn’t included.
It appears that the G1 will only be available in regions covered by T-Mobile’s 3G network. Given that there are only a dozen or so active 3G markets across the U.S., that’s a pretty limiting factor. T-Mobile is set to expand its 3G footprint in the coming months, but to limit the availability of a phone people have a lot of interest in is a weird move.
TmoNews quotes a source as saying, “Available in all stores within 3G boundary area, regardless of whether or not store is in a 3G dead spot. Available in some locations directly outside of the 3G boundary area due to the fact that some customers who live in the 3G boundary area shop within a 2 – 5 mile radius and the store they would go to is outside of the 3G boundary area. For those stores not in 3G markets, a demo unit and merchandising will be in store so rep can show customer what the experience on G1 is like on the 2G network. If customer is ok with experience, Rep can help them purchase a device on T-Mobile.com.”
Other specs that TmoNews was able to snag show that the device will have one-touch access to the Internet, Maps Gmail, YouTube, Calendar andGoogle (NSDQ: GOOG) Talk (Google’s chat program). A Google account is required. You have to have a Google account in order to use the phone. This isn’t overly surprising. Being that the Google faithful are the ones likely to be most interested in this device, that isn’t going to put too many people off.
It will have a 3.1 megapixel camera, but the camera won’t be able to shot video, just as with the iPhone. This makes it a non-starter for me. I really like to be able to shot video. The phone also doesn’t include support for stereo Bluetooth, which is another feature lacking on the iPhone and another disappointment.It will, however, include GPS.
There’s a feeling of excitement around today’s expected launch of Android, Google’s long-anticipated mobile operating system. But when I drove past a few electronics stores last night, I didn’t see anyone camping out the way people were lined up for Apple’s iPhone.
I suspect there’s some confusion about what Android is, exactly. Early on, it was dubbed the gPhone – but that’s somewhat misleading if you try to do an Apples-to-apples comparison with the iPhone. In the case of Apple’s iPhone, it was an operating system, too, but for one phone only – Apple’s. Google’s operating system, which also encourages the development of mobile applications, is eventually expected to land on a variety of devices. And now, there’s some buzz that the Google’s open-source operating system might eventually reach beyond phones and land on other products – maybe set-top boxes, TVs or even cars.
For now, the emphasis is on mobile phones. A growing number of mobile phones – beyond the iPhone – are already Web-capable. Google wants to supply those mobile surfers with the information they’re seeking from a mobile Web connection.
To a certain extent, Google is already doing that by enhancing its mobile offerings. Applications like Gmail, Reader and, of course, search are already available through a mobile Web browser. In addition, a number of other operating systems – iPhone, Blackberry, Windows Mobile and others – are supporting Google Apps for Mobile, a much more attractive and user-friendly version of Google’s most popular services. Last week, Google Maps for Mobile was upgraded to include Street View images. In addition, Google has been offering for some time now an SMS version of its search functionality. Send a SMS text message to GOOGL (46645) with a simple search such as “pizza, 94105″ and you’ll receive a text listing of pizza joints in the San Francisco zip code.
I’ve been running Google services on my phone (a Blackberry) for some time now so the excitement around a gPhone – err, Android – just isn’t all that exciting to me. I’ll certainly check out an Android phone as soon as I can – but I don’t think I’ll consider a switch to T-Mobile the way I considered a switch to AT&T for the iPhone.
Why would I? In many ways, I feel like my phone is already a Google phone.
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