G1: Openness Takes On Cool

Earlier this week Google and T-Moblie announced the first phone to run Google’s new Android OS, the G1 (a.k.a. HTC Dream). What I find most interesting about this device is the totally open source approach Google and, for their part, T-Mobile have taken with the G1. In stark contrast to the closed system of Apple’s iPhone, the G1 and Android platform will be an technology to watch in 2009.

But it’s not yet clear if Android will become the Chumby of smartphones or an open source alternative to iPhone. There are quite a few good signs that it might be the latter as the G1 seems to be a solid product. In addition to the on-screen keyboard they provide a slide out hardware keyboard. This was one of my own problems with the iPhone (along with price, which has recently been addressed). And since the G1 is on my current mobile carrier, upgrading is much less of a hassle than moving to the Apple/AT&T world.

So I’m going to keep watching this space and see what develops in coming months. My T-Moblie subsidy runs out next May, so we should have our answer by then. And I do believe openness can overtake cool if enough developers embrace Android. Let’s hope they do.

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