September 24, 2008

First Android handset, G1 launches

G1 is here.

It ticks all (well most) boxes and is being wildly revered as the first 'true' iPhone killer. But a few things strike me as being odd about this initial play - and it smells a little like the Zune. Android and Google were aiming at where the iPhone was at launch, not where it is now.

Critics panned the iPhone for being locked to AT&T - but G1 is locked to T-Mobile (for the first 90 days, at least).

G1 is bigger than the iPhone, has less memory, and doesn't do multi-touch. It also costs about the same as the iPhone, and is available from far fewer outlets than iPhone (now available globally).

So, if you're a consumer, not a high end geek which will you choose? Do consumers care about 'open-source'? My parents certainly don't and I think they are a good representation of the 'average' consumer. What about your wife? Does she care about 'open-source'? Doubtful. She wants her email to work, and to access her address book.

Don't get me wrong, I think G1 and Android are great for the future - the industry needs competition to keep moving forward. But a feature set that is barely better than the iPhone from 18 months ago, a bigger device, expensive plans and a limited distribution network will mean the G1 will be a niche product for the short term, at least.