According to The New York Times, you can’t buy "the Google phone," any more than you can buy "the Windows PC." Google makes the software (called Android), and it’s up to the phone manufacturers to build cellphones around it. What has its debut on Oct. 22, therefore, is a Google phone, the very first one: the T-Mobile G1 ($180 with two-year contract). Others will follow in the coming months.
The G1 is quite obviously intended to be an iPhone killer. Assessing its success, however, is tricky, because it’s the sum of three parts. Google wrote the software, HTC made the phone and T-Mobile provides the network. What you really need is separate reviews of each.
The software. The Android software looks, feels and works a lot like the iPhone’s. Not as consistent or as attractive, but smartly designed and, for version 1.0, surprisingly complete. In any case, it’s polished enough to give Windows Mobile an inferiority complex the size of Australia; let’s hope Microsoft has a good therapist…
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