Finally !! The world’s first Android based phone has been launched by T-Mobile. Called the G1, the phone has apparently been made in collaboration with HTC.
Why am I so excited about it ?
The last bit about being based on an open platform might not be relevant to the vast majority of people using any phone, but for a techie like me and for the millions of other people who value their rights, it is a big deal. And I’ve realised it only after using the iPhone.
Let me make one thing clear. I LOVE my iPhone. But, I should also make clear the fact that I am not a big phone user. I am on the phone about 20 mins a day and the rest of the time, I use the iPhone more as a mobile internet and music device. And the iPhone doesn’t disappoint me in that capacity. I use it to read/reply to emails, catch up on my RSS feeds, browse and have even used it to remotely setup my brother’s Linux box.
I have jailbroken my iPhone and use it that way to install third-part applications which Apple would have never allowed otherwise. I hate the fact that the phone is so closely bound with iTunes. That I cannot use the application of my choice to control my data that is on the device.
I hate the fact that I have to go throught the Apple AppStore to get any applications I want to install on it. And the applications in the AppStore are also controlled by Apple, of course.
I still love the iPhone, the device. It’s the artificial iTunes ecosystem that Apple has created around the device, is what I don’t like. Because, it takes away from me the freedom to do what I want with a gadget I’ve paid money for.
And for that reason alone, I think Android is a big deal.
Android is an open source operating system for mobile devices. Sure, the carriers will be restricting the software when they sell the phone, but that’s ok. As long as the underlying OS is free, as long as the ability to put applications on it is free, as long as I can use it the way I want, I’m willing to put my money on it.
Google is not going to control the Android marketplace, which is the equivalent of the iTunes AppStore for Android devices. Any developer will be able to offer his/her applications for the Android platform without the fear of them being rejected on flimsy grounds.
The iPhone has managed to bring the focus on the mobile web and it is for platforms like the Android to take it further.