Monday, September 22, 2008

G1 arrives

There's loads of reviews on the web already of the G1 versus the iPhone and other phones, so I won't repeat an in-depth review here. The conclusion is ... you're going to need to try one for yourself ... whether you like the G1 will be dependent on your main mobile usage (messaging/email/texting/voice vs. data-usage/browsing, content consumption etc..).

Personally I'm not a huge of the form factor of this first HTC Android device but can understand the appeal of a Sidekick+iPhone hybrid (including the Blackberry-like navigation ball). Lots of folk who wanted a physical QWERTY keyboard on the 2nd gen iPhone have a new choice (other full touch screen + QWERTY keyboard devices eg. Prada II are coming later in the year).

There's no soft keyboard option on the G1 which prevents any chance of single-handed in-line text entry (eg. in the browser or messaging apps). The HVGA capacitive display screen is responsive and the webkit based browser is speedy (not quite as polished or smooth as iPhone Safari with multi-touch support).

The Google mobile apps are very well integrated, as you'd expect... (but, what if you don't have a Google account ?)Like the iPhone 1st generation there are missing features both hardware and software based in this first implementation: no camera flash, video capture etc... but they did include copy and paste.

A quick note on my current view of Google's impact in the mobile marketplace a year on since announcing their intentions. The G1 device launch, is a necessity from a consumer perspective to get people thinking "Google do phones" and they can run the same Google applications as on the web (so another consumer choice for mobile-web-based integration a-la Ovi, Mobile Me.. Google have a headstart here because so many normobs use their web based services).

Google have proved they can develop and integrate a mobile OS ('Open' with constraints).
The main question I have now, is whether /how Android will be adopted and taken forward by the OHA to be integrated and deployed across future multiple device platforms ?

Collectively at any one time, the main handset manufacturers are working on hundreds of new devices for release globally over the next 18 months. The OS platform choice the handset manufacturers choose to deploy in these devices (and Operators influence) will be a crucial factor in Android's progress. This question also impacts the developer ecosystem uptake of the Android SDK and Marketplace distribution for free/paid applicatons. Reach is impacted by volume.

Back to the G1....Google's choosing to launch their first Android based device on the current form-factor (rather than a Blackberry-like/Candybar or Clamshell form-factor) has reaffirmed the large, touch-screen phone device is here to stay (with or without QWERTY), implying the continued shift towards doing much more on your mobile device than voice and texting...