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T-Mobile, Google and HTC introduce first Android phone

Nancy Gohring | Sept. 24, 2008
T-Mobile, HTC and Google introduced the first Android phone on Tuesday at a launch event in New York.

Customers won't be able to attach the phone to a computer and use the phone like a modem to connect to the mobile network. It will come locked to T-Mobile, so users won't be able to connect the phone to another operator's mobile network.

T-Mobile is just rolling out its 3G (third-generation) network, with 16 markets live now and 27 markets expected to be live by the middle of November.

When the G1 hits the market, Google will open-source the Android platform. That means that any developer, in addition to being able to write applications for the software, can also modify the platform, "make it better," Rubin said.

The launch event featured a video interview with a few developers, some of whom won a contest Google sponsored for developers of Android applications. They talked up the importance of openness -- perhaps a jab at iPhone. They stressed that developing for Android is free and that any application can be added to the Android application store. By contrast, iPhone developers have to buy the SDK (software development kit), albeit for a low price, and Apple determines which applications will go into the App Store.

Android comes at a time when openness is taking center stage in the mobile market. Symbian, the smartphone platform with the largest market share around the world, recently announced it would open up and the LiMo mobile Linux group is gathering steam. But some experts have wondered if the extent of Android's openness, which allows anyone to change fundamental features, will lead to fragmentation. Without a basic set of features, some applications built for Android won't be able to work properly on all Android devices.

 

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