T-Mobile’s G1 phone was officially announced today. It’s going to be the first mobile phone based on Android, the Google-and-partners powered (and supposedly soon to be open source released) mobile operating system. T-Mobile says the phone has a touch screen, a keyboard, and includes different Google apps, like Google Maps or Gmail, with data synchronization features to Google’s tools. The HTC-built G1 comes with a 3-megapixel camera and is wi-fi enabled. It’s also connected to Amazon’s DRM-free MP3 music store, and an Android applications directory. The back of the phone has the Google logo on it.
According to T-Mobile, the phone will be available in the US on October 22 for a price of $179 with a two-year contract. It will then be available in the UK in November, and across Europe in the first quarter of 2009, T-Mobile says.
There’s an introductory promotional video tour available, and several other videos at YouTube show off some of the features of the G1. Walt Mossberg reviews this iPhone competitor with further details. Walt writes, “Most importantly, the G1 complements its touch screen with a physical keyboard, the lack of which has made the iPhone a non-starter for some users. The G1’s keyboard is revealed when you slide open its screen. The keys are a bit flat, and you have to reach your right thumb around a bulging portion of the phone’s body to type, but it’s a real keyboard. (…) A second big feature, or limitation, of the G1 – depending on your point of view – is that it is tightly tied to Google’s web-based email, contacts and calendar programs. In fact, you must have a Google … account to use the phone, and can only synchronize the phone’s calendar and address book with Google online services. Unlike the iPhone, it doesn’t work with Microsoft Exchange, and it can’t physically be synced with a PC-based calendar or contacts program, like Microsoft Outlook.”