The Google Phone Isn’t

Yes, it is a phone…

…and Google is involved.

But technically speaking, it is not a “Google Phone”. Let me explain…

With the iPhone, Apple manufactures the phone itself as well as the software on the phone that makes it go. With the phone released today, Google has only created the software (called Android) and then third party companies build phones around it. This first release is built by a company called HTC and sold by T-Mobile using their cellular network. The folks at T-Mobile have named it the G1. More models will follow in the coming months from different manufacturers.

Now that I have cleared that up, how ‘bout some thoughts on the T-Mobile G1..?

Google has clearly targeted the iPhone with the Android phone software, and for a first release, it does an excellent job. While arguably not quite as elegant as the iPhone software, Android does work and feel similar. The main improvement over the iPhone that we like, along with the full keyboard, is the Menu button. When pressed, this brings up a panel of buttons related to the task at hand. For example: if you are on a call and press Menu, you will get buttons for Speaker, Hold and Mute. It’s comparable to right-clicking with your mouse on the computer.

Android comes with the expected slate of built-ins, such as Contacts, Calendar, Google Maps, Calculator, Music, and even a YouTube module. There will also be an online Android Market for downloading other programs, many of which will be freeware from third party vendors.

Overall we like where Google’s foray into cell phones is headed. There are a few glitches of course, but we expect them to be eradicated with updates in the near future. The G1 is definitely a viable alternative to the iPhone – take a look and let us know what you think…