Our student’s reaction to the Android handset

Dan Pullen, our resident new student (lots coming from him over the next few days, by the way) has been peering closely at the Android launch and has this good summary to report:

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Yesterday T-Mobile, Google and HTC officially realised their first mobile device to hit the world market. The HTC Dream or the T Mobile G1 as it is otherwise known is heralded by Google, as the first mobile phone with an open ended high performance operating system.

The device features a large touch screen display similar in size to the iPhone, but adds features such as haptic feedback — a feature present on most Samsung touch screen phones (Where the phone vibrates whenever an icon is selected in order to give a more tactile feel).

The most noticeable feature of the new handset is the large slide out keypad, intended to make Google’s mobile platform as easy to use as possible. 3G, WiFi, email clients and the ability to read Word Documents are also included.

Many people have been excited about the realise of this product due to the fact that the Google software is very open in terms of applications which can be run on the device, imposing next to no restrictions, which is something Apple has been heavily criticized for not allowing on the iPhone.

Another comparison to the iPhone can also be made, as the G1 comes loaded with Amazon’s mp3 WI-FI store which will enable you to purchase music through any wireless connection in the same way that iTunes does for the iPhone. Enough to sway some iPhone/iTunes aficionados?

However unlike many other modern mobile devices a video player does not come pre-loaded and must be downloaded from the applications store (no cost to do this). Also the G1’s multimedia capabilities may be compromised somewhat due to the 1GB of internal memory, which will most likely limit you to around 250MP3s as well as the lack of 3.5mm headphone jack.

In terms of appearance, the G1’s design reflects an iPhone crossed with a T-Mobile sidekick, the device is slightly shorter and less wide than the iPhone, despite being slightly thicker due to the inclusion of a slide out physical keyboard.

According to reviewers at the launch of the product the overall performance of the phone was very pleasing, however the phone was reported often act very ‘1st generation like’ i.e. both the touch screen and web browser were reported to have been ‘choppy’ compared with the iPhone 3G and the lack of multi-touch meant that tasks such as zooming in on an image could become frustrating.

The handset should appeal to a huge amount of individuals and developers, mainly because of its ability to upload applications without any penalty costs or the need for them to be pre approval by Google.

Overall the device appears very impressive, with the slide out keyboard and open ended software, however what is holding the device back is its slightly cheap looking design often seen on T-Mobile products i.e. Sidekick as well as its rather limited multimedia capabilities.

Current prices for the UK are unconfirmed, but for the US market it will retail for around $125 with a 2 year contract.

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Thanks for that Daniel. Who’s getting one then?

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