T-Mobile G1 Brings Google Android To The Mobile Masses

T-Mobile, HTC and Google converged on New York City on Tuesday to unveil the first publicly-available mobile phone based on the Google Android open source Linux mobile operating system.

The 3G touch screen device, which somewhat resembles T-Mobile's popular line of Sidekick devices, comes with a host of features and functions, and is based on open standards to enable the device to be "future proofed" as the mobile application ecosystem continues to grow.

Here are some additional photos and details of the T-Mobile G1, a suitable rival to potentially unseat the Apple iPhone for a shot at touch screen mobile device dominance.

One of the major features of the G1 is the openness of the Google Android platform, which will enable application developers to build and distribute applications for the handheld. Users can find and download unique applications to expand and personalize their phone to fit their lifestyle.

At a press conference announcing the device, Christopher Schlaffer of Deutsch Telecom, said the G1 and the Google Android platform were designed to "open up the wireless mobile Internet" and "move away from walled gardens and closed portals."

The G1 features a hinged touch screen that slides open to reveal a full QWERTY keyboard. It also features a trackball for one-handed navigation; one-click contextual search to instantly find relevant information with the touch of a finger; and a full HTML Web browser and zoom function that can expand any Web page section by tapping the screen.

The handset supports GSM/GPRS/EDGE/Wi-Fi and UMTS/HSDPA. It measures 4.6 inches by 2.16 inches by .62 inches and weighs in at 5.6 ounces. The display measures 3.17 inches and the device can offer up to 130 hours of standby time and up to 5 hours of talk time.

In the U.S., the T-Mobile G1 will be available in white, brown and black.

It will offer one touch access to a host of popular Google applications like Google Maps, Street View, Gmail, YouTube and others. Google Maps provides map information, satellite imagery, local business info and driving directions as well as MyLocation to let users know where they are; Google Maps Street View, which enables virtual street-level exploration, syncs with the built-in compass on the phone to allow users to view locations and navigate 360 degrees by simply moving the phone with their hand.

The device offers a rich HTML e-mail client, which seamlessly syncs e-mail from most other POP3 and IMAP mail services such as Gmail; and displays photos and graphics right along with the text.

Along with launching the device, a beta version of the Android Market was also released Tuesday. The Market gives users access to new software applications, including games, music and mobile shopping.

Applications available at launch include ShopSavvy, which is designed to let users do comparative shopping on the G1; Ecorio, an application that enables users to keep track of their travels and view their carbon footprint; BreadCrumbz, which enables consumers to create a step-by-step visual map using photos, while also creating routes to share; and the Amazon MP3 store, which comes preinstalled and lets users search DRM-free, full-track MP3 music and download it from Amazing directly to the device using a Wi-Fi connection.

The G1 has built-in support for T-Mobile's 3G (HSDPA) and EDGE network as well as Wi-Fi. The G1 can transfer between 3G and accessible Wi-Fi networks, including T-Mobile HotSpot locations.

The device also features a built in instant messaging client with support for Google Talk, AOL, Windows Live Messenger and Yahoo Messenger. It also supports advanced text messaging features to flag, delete or move groups of messages and keep track of group conversations through threaded text messaging.

Additional features of the G1 include a 3 megapixel camera with photo sharing capabilities; a music player that supports MP3, M4A, AMR, WMA, MIDI, WAV and OGG Vorbis; a pre-installed 1 GB microSD memory card that can hold roughly 500 songs; Bluetooth; myFaves; GPS; voice recognition, voice dialing and speakerphone.

The T-Mobile G1 will be available in the U.S. on Oct. 22 for $179 with a two-year T-Mobile contract. T-Mobile customers can pre-order it now. Additionally, T-Mobile launched new data plans for the device. A $25 plan offers unlimited Web browsing and some messaging, while a $35 plan offers unlimited Web and messaging.