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Mark Lennihan/AP

Can Google’s New Smartphone Take a Bite out of Apple?

September 25, 2008 04:30 PM
by Rachel Balik
Google’s long-anticipated phone, the T-Mobile G1, was introduced in a Sept. 23 press conference. What does it mean for iPhone and Blackberry?

Introducing the GPhone

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The co-creators of the HTC G1, or “GPhone,” debuted their new product in New York this week and the Silicon Alley Insider has declared that the “Apple-Google smartphone battle is officially on.” The phone will cost $20 less than the iPhone and looks “impressive.”

In addition to a touch screen, the phone offers a keyboard for easy email sending. Google also plans to make the phone’s Android software available to a broad group of companies. These companies will in turn develop phones, as the company HTC has done for T-Mobile, which will accommodate the software. This open policy marks a distinct difference between the G1 and the iPhone, as Apple only makes software for its own phones. Users of the G1 will also be able to choose applications to put on their devices.

Opinion and Analysis: iPhone Vs. GPhone

In August, the Alley Insider heard from someone who had seen the new device that the phone itself and the Android software suffered the same problem: neither are as “elegant” as the iPhone. The August model of T-Mobile’s phone was bulky, and Android had a “less user-friendly interface” than the iPhone’s software.

But the Good Morning Silicon Valley blog says people will make choices based on the kind of computing they like to do, and whether they prefer the open or closed philosophy. In other words, “what you buy depends on what you buy into.” The “Android Market” for content will be constantly evolving and, like all open-software systems, will be driven by user contributions, in addition to being available to a group of companies.

Meanwhile, some fear that buying a GPhone will allow Google to consolidate even more personal and financial information about an individual user.

Related Topic: iPhone vs. Blackberry

Key Players: The GPhone, the iPhone and Blackberry

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