However, the G1 has exciting potential on the software front. Naturally, the G1 works seamlessly with Google's long list of services including GMail, Google Talk, YouTube, and Google Maps. But the phone's most attractive aspect lies in its OS, which allows developers to create third-party apps for the phone. The apps will be made available via the Android Market, Google's answer to Apple's App Store, and unlike Apple, Google will make apps in the Android Market available for free. In addition, there will be no approval process. It's up to users to rate the good apps from the duds, giving Android customers a democratic way of choosing apps.
Other features include a built-in compass that, in conjunction with Google Maps' Street View, will let you navigate 360 degrees just by moving the phone around, and a mobile version of the Amazon MP3 Store that will come preloaded on the G1 (unfortunately, the G1 lacks a standard 3.5mm headphone jack and instead relies on a proprietary USB connector).
Although the G1 will be a T-Mobile exclusive when it launches on October 22, other mobile providers will soon offer Android phones of their own. In fact, Sprint is said to be prepping its Android-based phone for release later this year. So while this first-generation Android phone might not have met our full expectations, future phones are sure to give Apple, RIM, and Windows Mobile a run for their mobile money.
Louis Ramirez is dealnews' Features Editor.