So, the Google Phone is finally here.
I think you can say everything about the HTC G1 (that's the name of the gizmo) powered by Android OS but that it's nice looking. The device seems somehow like a pre-series unit but, unfortunately, it is not: this is really the first device powered by the Google phone platform.
I think the great opportunity of Android is in the open-ness of the platform but honestly I expected something cool and not a Windows Mobile like device.
Some thoughts, links and videos after the jump; and yes... if you read further you'll eventually get the point of the post's title. :)
Let's begin with the Gizmodo's hands-on video.
Then here below the key features (by the end of the post I'll collect the links I used):
- Touchscreen - You can swipe across the screen, use a long press to access more features, drag-and-drop. The device doesn't have a multitouch screen. There will be support in the future but the G1 doesn't have such capability.
- Music - one-click ordering from Amazon confirmed
- Music player is built in - one long press lets you access more features, like song options
- Gtalk IM included
- Address book can take you right into Google Maps
- Google Maps: Directions/Traffic View/Street View; can do panning in Street View thanks to the touch screen
- In "Compass Mode" the scene moves as you do
- In the web browser, there are onscreen controls to zoom in
- You can open multiple web pages in Google's browser
- There's a search button on keyboard
- A long press lets you share a link (URL) from within the web browser
- For apps, there's the Android Market, complete with user ratings and OTA downloads
- Gmail app supports PUSH mail and IMAP
- by far it permits the best Google apps experience (Gmail, Gcalendar, Greader, ...)
Here below the features the G1 is missing:
- No Exchange support
- as stated above, the G1 doesn't have a multitouch screen
- no tethering capabilities (you can't use your G1 as a modem for your laptop)
- the phone is sim-locked to T-Mobile
- there is no desktop application: your calendar, email, contacts and so will live in Google's cloud
- the device is ugly :)
As you see above, there are some "serious" features missing but I really think the worst is the lack of a multitouch screen. You wonder why? It's an
hardware lackness: and it's the only (alright, the other is that the G1 is ugly :).
Everything but the screen is software related: simlock, no tethering, no desktop app...
And now is where opensource will play its role. People will write applications to solve the issues. Would you bet how long will it take to have the first MAME app? :)
As Fabrizio points out, Mossberg argues also that the G1 is deeply-tied with Google platform: there is no support for different calendar application for example. I get the point but I don't think this is something to worry about: this means just that Google and the main Android developers spent their time to give support to the Google's world and not for Hotmail, just to pick one. The IM feature could have a quite similar scenario: Google developed a GTalk application.
I don't really know if I'm missing something but I think Mossberg miss the biggest point about being an opensource platform: the lackness he highlights are only software related.
In some weeks someone will develop desktop-sync applications, tethering app, sim-unlock workaround and a pidgin version for Android.
So... Will the Android protect our rights?
I can't really say yet but, as an absolute open-source supporter, I think Android could be one of the biggest revolution in the mobile business.
And just to highlight what does it really mean being open and free, read this news about another iPhone (good) application rejected by Apple. This time was an email application - MailWrangler- that could compete with Apple's Mail for iPhone. They just rejected the app and, since the author published the reasons Apple gave him, Cupertino is also adding an NDA agreement to the comunications between them and the developers.
Think about it.