The release of the Android-based G1 smartphone from T-Mobile, Google and HTC is something of a milestone in the evolution of mobility. This long review by InformationWeek gives it pretty good grades. The piece says the G1 primarily is aimed at consumers, though it will be used by many mobile workers. Said Martin Perez, who wrote the story:
For now, it appears that enterprise users who need their corporate e-mails and contacts would best to stick with a BlackBerry, Windows Mobile device, or possibly an iPhone 3G.
The G1 is more than a device, however. It is a sign that the future has arrived. This post points to looming competition with the iPhone and sets out an historical context that mentions Windows versus Mac and even Betamax versus VHS. The writer suggests that the similarity stems from Android's greater openness and flexibility. This is not the Apple way, of course. It's not a perfect historical comparison -- the writer acknowledges the presence of Symbian and Windows Mobile (he misses LiMo) -- but implies that the real battle will be between Google and Apple. The iPhone, he suggests, has made smartphones "cloud browsers," and no company is more at home in clouds than Google.
The G1 is important in setting a tone. ProPortal makes 10 observations about the phone and its environment. The writer suggests that it is strange Google only introduced one device with one network partner. He also wonders why it lacks VoIP functionality and wonders if Google may be better off on its own than within the Open Handset Alliance and thinks that the openness of the platform may be overrated.
The writer also suggests that competition from Research in Motion, Microsoft and Nokia could ultimately be more formidable than that from Apple, Google could be distracted by the cumbersome nature of the OHA, Android may become fragmented, the OS could become a commodity, and the platform may attract hackers.
The G1, as the name implies, is the first of what undoubtedly will be a great number of Android-bound products. Some may come from Sony Ericsson -- but not quite yet. This Reuters piece says that the company is studying Android but has not yet made a decision. Sony Ericsson is part of the Symbian Foundation.
The first product release is a good time to look both forward and backward. The Open Handset Consortium has accomplished a lot. The challenges moving forward, it seems, are daunting. This is true on both the hardware and application sides, as Google and its partners attempt -- and sometimes fail -- to keep everybody happy.