Earth, Meet Google Android

Today is the day that many smartphone enthusiasts have been nerdily anticipating: the release date of the first Google [GOOG] Android phone, otherwise known as an HTC [HTCKF] Dream running an open-source platform developed by Google. The platform will be open to what will someday be hundreds or even thousands of free applications, perhaps rivaling Apple's [AAPL] iPhone for its breadth and depth of software offerings.

While T-Mobile [DT] — the carrier servicing the first Google phones — hasn't released any word officially, plenty of leaks have sprung up around the event. Here's what we (think we) know:

The phone will be on sale in all stores within a 3G boundary area, even if that store is in a 3G dead spot (like the bottom concourse of a mall, or a batcave, for example.) For most people, that will mean heading to the nearest metropolitan area. You can find out the nearest 3G-covered area in your state by using T-Mo's coverage map. Make sure to check the "data coverage" box below the map to show which areas are 3G and which are lowly GPRS/EDGE. T-Mobile has been working hard to expand its 3G coverage, but it's still relatively limited nationwide.

Functionality will include baked-in access to all of Google's apps, including web search, Maps (with satellite, traffic and street views), Gmail, YouTube, Calendar and GTalk. All that will come wrapped in a 4.6x 2.16-inch sliding keyboard form-factor, running 0.6 inches thick. It will weigh in at 5.6 ounces, and sport a 4-inch HVGA screen, with standby time of 130 hours and actual talk time of about 5 hours. There isn't stereo Bluetooth support, but the device is expandable to 8GB of memory, giving it some music-player potential. The Android-equipped Dream will also have GPS and a 3.1MP camera, though no video recording.

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  • Dr. Jim Anderson

    So clearly Chris is excited about the release of the G1. There are a couple of points to keep in mind as the reviews start to trickle out over the next few days. The G1 is a 1.0 product, the iPhone is at least a 2.0 and probably really a 3.0/4.0 product. I agree that the iPhone has a slicker look & feel to it; however, since the G1 has an open interface, there is a good chance that it's going to generate more developer "buzz" since there is no Apple approval cycle.
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    One final point, the G1 is really just a proof of concept for the Android software. Since Google really is not in the business of selling phones, how long until some clever person loads Android onto something that we don't currently realize would make a good phone - car keys, a paperback book, a purse? Watch out - this is just the beginning!
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    - Dr. Jim Anderson
    The Business of IT Blog