The device won’t have an impressive design and it won’t be as easy to use as an iPhone, but it will certainly be able to run a lot of interesting applications.
Android’s first iteration, released last week, is certainly less of a watershed than Apple’s iPhone debut, but then again Google has been very open about their project. While Apple has built a reputation on carefully constructed excitement about the unveiling of their new projects, Google was very upfront about Android and the Open Handset Alliance—to the point of attracting doubts of the project’s fruition.
You can read the reviews of T‑Mobile’s/HTC’s G1 elsewhere; after a week there are plenty of good ones (and I haven’t held one myself). But here are a few of my initial impressions of Google’s Android project itself.
I mentioned that Android’s default synchronization with Google applications is pretty slick, and definitely a way to get out of the gate quickly. However, I’m not sure if that’s only for the G1 or if Android will include that in every iteration. (I only really wonder because it’s not available in the emulator yet.)
It will be interesting to see how the Applications fare; Apple has proved that there is a business here, and they have a jump start on their App Store. While Apple has attracted a lot of developers, they have their own problems keeping their trust at the moment, and certainly for myself I’m more motivated to write for a multi-process, open-source operating system where my application will definitely be available for users. I’m encouraged that there have already been some interesting applications rolling out.
Speaking of development, it is very promising to see that the Android team has released an emulator for all major operating systems. Apple’s developer program seems robust, but I don’t plan on switching to OS X anytime soon. (Then again, I’d rather avoid Java, but that’s not a dealbreaker for me.)
The Android is certainly the biggest competitor to the iPhone thus far, but it’s certainly not just trying to imitate the superficial qualities (like, say, the LG Dare); it seems to have slightly different motivations that have shaped the project thus far. Either way, competition is a good thing.
It seems likely that AT&T will be producing Android phones but even if so, the question is when. I’m imminently looking for a new phone, so the sooner the better; I have no plans to switch to T‑Mobile and I would really appreciate the ability to give each one of these platforms an even chance.