First posted on 'tech.yahoo.com' in Ben Patterson's blog:
Multiple news outlets are reporting that T-Mobile will launch the touchscreen G1—the first, and only, Google Android expected this year for the U.S.—as early as next month, with current T-Mobile subscribers getting first dibs. iPhone killer, anyone?
Wired News has one of the more detailed stories about the G1, described as a touchscreen handset with a slide-out, full-QWERTY keypbad, a roomy five- by three-inch display, a 3MP camera, and access to T-Mobile's nascent 3G network (which, for now, is only live in New York and Las Vegas).
Backing up that report is the New York Times, which says the "high-end" phone will be built by smartphone maker HTC (the outfit that brought us the Tilt, the T-Mobile Wing, and the Dash), and that the handset will come with features that'll "match the capabilities of the iPhone." The Gray Lady also has a source who confirms that this shaky YouTube clip of the HTC Dream (which has been floating around for about a week or so) will, indeed, the G1.
According to Wired, the G1 will hit stores on September 17 for $150—but only for current T-Mobile subscribers. After the one-week exclusive, you'll have to pony up anywhere from $250 for $400 for the Android-powered handset. For now, no word on whether an unlocked version of the G1 will go on sale. (It's also worth noting that the NYT story hedges on the September 17 release date, committing only to "as early as October.")
Wired also passed along another rumor—that you'll need a Gmail account to use the G1. Makes sense, given that the purported G1 will be powered by Google's new mobile platform. I'm sure the handet will also be able to tap into other POP/IMAP accounts, although there's still no word about Exchange e-mail.
Of course, these are all still rumors for now—there hasn't been any official word from Google, T-Mobile, or HTC, although it's been widely reported that T-Mobile would release an Android phone before the year is out.
If the rumors are true, the G1 will doubtless be one of the biggest smartphone releases of the year, right behind the iPhone. We've already been hearing raves about the sleek Android interface, and the jumbo touchscreen display and slide-out keypad will be big plusses.
But here's the thing: The G1 (or whatever T-Mobile ends up calling its Android phone) will get slammed for T-Mob's nearly non-existent 3G coverage—just two markets, versus hundreds for AT&T (which is still catching flak for flaky high-speed service), Sprint, and Verizon. I'm betting that the G1 will come with Wi-Fi (most HTC-made smartphones do), but still, T-Mobile's sparse 3G coverage will be a serious drawback.
So, what do you think—looking forward to the (rumored) G1?
Anyone know any more about the Google / HTC / T-Mobile venture? Much of the US is without 3G and such a device seems wasted over there at the moment (no wonder the original iPhone didn't have 3G!) and seems much better suited to the UK market