Google announces T-Mobile G1 Android phone

Debut handset will be made by HTC and carried by T-Mobile in the US and UK.

"The best experience will be on 3G and Wi-Fi, but it will work on GPRS," said Brodman.

Software-wise, it has the expected range of PDA features including an address book, calendar, music player and photo manager. It also integrates with Google services such as Google Maps, Gmail, YouTube and Google Talk. In terms of client/web integration, for example you can find the location of contacts in Google Maps based on their address in the address book. There is also support for IM services from Yahoo, AOL and Microsoft built-in.

"This will also be the first implementation of online Google Talk presence integrated into a mobile phone book," said Brodman.

An application download store called The Android Market will allow users to download and buy third party applications, games and utilities, with both free and paid-for software available. There is read-only support for Microsoft Office and PDF files, but there is no Microsoft Exchange integration support. All three companies are looking to third party developers to add this to the device.

"Because of its openness, a developer will be able to modify the platform and make it better," said Andy Rubin, senior director for mobile platforms at Google.

"It is future-proof because it is an open platform."

The G1 will be SIM-locked to T-Mobile, and supports quad-band GSM and Tri-Band 3G for international roaming. A range of price plans for the US have been announced, starting at $20 (11) per month, and include flat-rate data access.

Although the launch was in the US and hosted by T-Mobile's stateside network, the phone will also appear in the UK and mainland Europe, two markets which the company is keen to stress are significantly important for the success of the phone.

"It is key to launch this device across Europe, as there are 100 million customers in Europe," said Christopher Schlffer, group product and innovation officer at T-Mobile's parent company Deutsche Telekom.

"T-Mobile was one of the first operators to move away from the walled garden approach of mobile internet access. In the last year in Europe, we have grown mobile data revenue, excluding SMS, by 43 per cent, out performing the market."

The G1 will cost $179 (99) in the US on a two-year contract and will officially go on sale on 22 October. UK pricing has not yet been announced.

"It will be available across Europe in the first quarter of 2009, after a UK launch in November this year," he added.

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