Welcome to day one of the first cell phone to support Google's Open Source Operating System, Android. With the age of the iPhone well under way, one is moved to wonder what a single-touch screen and a community-based application network have in store for us. TechCrunch let loose some specifications yesterday: In-store, immediate sales only available in stores 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 GPS 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
GIZMODO's reaction to the interface this morning was glowing yet critical: "Control wise, it suffers from a bit of schizophrenia—with a trackball, touchscreen, candybar mode and flip-out QWERTY, there's a lot going on at once. What's nice is that it seems to not lock you in to anyone type of control interface—scrolling with trackball and touching work at the same time in many apps." They loved the Google Apps performance, as well as the beautiful screen and Google Maps. Shockingly enough, there is no headphone jack: a USB set is necessary.
So what are the real differences to the Iron Chef of mobile handsets? Much more than a QWERTY.
The real heavy hitters get their heft from the heart of Android : Open Source. Android Market has potential for enormous scale and scope. With no vetting process, developers can get their applications up with no waiting time. The distribution will be hosted on a Google service featuring a feedback and rating system similar to YouTube. Developers simply register, upload and publish. In the Amazon mp3 store, which will come installed on the handset, only DRM-free music will be sold, since that is the only type of music Android will play.