After months of anticipation, Google’s Android operating system for mobile phones has been released on its first handset, the T-Mobile G1, with touchscreen interface and packed with Google apps such as Street View, as well as the Amazon MP3 store on demand.
The T-Mobile G1 will go on sale in the US on 22 October, reaching the UK in the beginning of November. The rest of Europe will have to wait until early next year, but Ireland is obviously not on T-Mobile’s radar, so we will be looking to our own operators to announce their partnership with Google.
The operating system really aims to capture the growing popularity for instant messaging on the go, with support for Google Talk, Windows Live Messenger, Yahoo! and AIM.
From all appearances, T-Mobile’s handset looks set to give the iPhone a run for its money: where Apple has the iTunes store on demand, Android has Amazon’s MP3 Store at its fingertips, with the ability to search, sample and purchase.
If we look at the strength of Apple’s immensely popular App Store, which houses all manner of widgets that span productivity and fun, Android also has the Android Market with some fairly unique applications including ShopSavvy for mobile comparative shopping and Ecorio which helps people track their carbon footprint.
And what makes it even more of an iPhone killer? Full HTML webpage browsing and one click contextual search! Maybe we’ll fall in love with Android like we did with Apple’s iPhone.
The strength of the mobile phone nowadays lies not with its ability to make calls or even offer compelling voice or texts bundles, but rather in its unique or strong offering when it comes to information streaming and consumption – in other words, the web, where Google is king.
“Increasingly, connectivity does not just mean a phone call but rather access to the world’s information,” said Andy Rubin, senior director of mobile platforms for Google.
“Today’s news signifies an important first step for the Open Handset Alliance: with Android, we’ve opened the mobile web not only for millions of users, but also to mobilise the developer community that understands the next most important platform in the world rests in the palm of our hand.”
Cole Brodman, chief technology and innovation officer for T-Mobile in the US has high hopes: “The T-Mobile G1 is our opportunity in the US to accelerate the mass adoption of the mobile web.”
By Marie Boran
Pictured: the T-Mobile G1, which houses Google’s Android operating system