The colleagues in the American press who phone, send text messages and emails from New York are in high spirits: the Gphone is being revealed. The iPhone-killer is coming. And T-Mobile will bring it in October, at $ 179 for a two-year fixed contract, with monthly figures in the order of $ 25 a month (for "some internet and messages") and $ 35 for the no version -limits.
The device will also arrive in Great Britain in November-December and to follow in 2009 for the rest of Europe (and perhaps the world). In this particular case, Htc produces it, it is officially called Dream and colleagues are no longer in the skin. For once, we who are barricaded in Silicon Valley are "out of the game": the ball now passes through New York.
What is it coming out of Brin and Page's cylinder for? What did the two founders decide to treat themselves to celebrate 10 years of Google, the company of the New Economy 2.0? How is this blessed phone that should clean up everything?
The limitations are not in the hardware. Those who see it this way, show that they have not understood what they have in front of them (as probably for the managers of T-Mobile, who are now betting on the frankly transition device). Touch screen, full keyboard under the display that fleets, telephone keys in abundance also outside this, visible area size of 3 inches with 480 × 320 resolution. You can talk for 5 hours, stay in stand-by for 130, 3.1 Megapixel camera, Gsm hybrid and Umts (Hsdpa) dual quad band.
Space for pre-installed 1 Gb Micro Sd and support up to 8 Gb, standard Gps, Amazon Mp3 Store preloaded, all Google apps at a fingertip, some interesting programs for the American market (ShopSavy, to compare online purchases , Ecorio to measure your daily carbon footprint, BreadCumbz to make step-by-step maps with photos to share with the rest of the world).
How is this Gphone? Indeed, the G1, as those who have understood that in this case – as it was for Windows – to count not the hardware but the operating system? Because the hardware, let's face it, technologically limited and ugly. The operating system? Even worse, if possible …
Among the positive notes: Gmail becomes push, but only on Android terminals. The GPS also acts as a digital compass and acquires those features that make it potentially suitable to act as a navigator.
Among the news: if you keep your finger pressed for a few seconds on the screen, a contextual menu appears (like when you press the right button of the computer) and you can make additional choices that with iPhone for example do not exist (but Apple has been since the principle of supporting one-button mice: Microsoft who took up this idea of Engelbart).
The tapes? From the interface philosophy, similar but with less elegance, we arrive at the App store, called just like this, with the generic name used by Apple also because others usually call applications "programs", "software" and you could wait for chess, a "Soft Store" or a "Prog Store" and instead no: App Store and by pedaling.
See who manipulates the phone during Brin's presentation and Page a bit like seeing a demo of the iPhone prototype, the one that never came out of Apple's internal labs and that not even Steve Jobs has seen (otherwise he would have fired everyone). Some things work dramatically good, some work properly…. ugly! And above all, as you go on seeing the G1 Htc Dream, you think of one thing: how much it looks worse than the iPhone. But how is it possible?
Of course, you cannot judge a technology and a platform (including services and business models) based only on the interface. What is underneath a profound technological difference: Bsd against Linux, display technologies against X-Windows. Gphone admits multitasking, that is, the processes continue to "march" in the background, while the phone does something else. iPhone no, because it consumes the battery and little control over the loads risks sending fundamental functions such as telephony to the ball.
So, of the two one: there is a profound difference in technological philosophy, despite everything, which perhaps could pay in terms of usability and in the end also of system stability. Who will capitalize on it the most? Apple or Google? iPhone or Android?
One would almost say: Mac OS or Windows? Because then, in the end, this seems to have returned, with the difference that one of the terms of the equation has changed, but it has the same role (including the help to develop the iPhone platform as Microsoft did at the time to develop the applications of MacOs and then treasured Apple's privileged developer experience to launch its first Windows). We will see if history repeats itself.
For the full features of G-1, please refer to this page of the T-Mobile website.
To see a delayed presentation, please refer to this page on the same site.