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Android G1 Smartphone Not Ready For Growing Businesses -- Yet

Google and T-Mobile today unveiled the long-awaited first Android-powered smartphone. Available October 22, the G1 sports a touch screen, QWERTY keyboard, Wi-Fi, GPS, and Google App integration, but no support for Microsoft Exchange e-mail. That omission alone will make it a non-starter for many small and midsize companies.
Google and T-Mobile today unveiled the long-awaited first Android-powered smartphone. Available October 22, the G1 sports a touch screen, QWERTY keyboard, Wi-Fi, GPS, and Google App integration, but no support for Microsoft Exchange e-mail. That omission alone will make it a non-starter for many small and midsize companies.It's unclear how long it will take for the G1 to support Exchange. Marin Perez at InformationWeek reports that "executives said there's plenty of opportunity for a third-party developer to create a product."

Let's hope so, 'cause otherwise the G1 seems pretty cool. I just can't wait to actually get my hands on one to see if it can match the appeal of Apple iPhone. (The G1 measures 4.6 x 2.1 x .6 inches, compared to 4.5 x 2.4 x .48 for the iPhone. Weight is 5.6 oz versus 4.7 oz for the iPhone. For a G1-iPhone comparison table, check out Harry McCracken's Technologizer)

G1phone_full

The specs certainly sound good. Built by Taiwan's HTC, it's got just about every gew-gaw you could ask for:

* Touch screen that flips out to reveal a full QWERTY keyboard * Integrated Wi-Fi * Support for T-Mobile's expanding 3G network * Built-in GPS chip * Bluetooth * 3 megapixel camera (no video) * Accelerometer and compass * Dedicated search button * Micro SD slot * Removable battery * Headphone jack (recessed)

On the software side, there's * Wireless syncing with Google calendar * Support for YouTube * Support for Google Talk instant messaging * Syncs with most POP3 or IMAP e-mails systems * Free push GMail * Full HTML browser based on Google's Chrome browser * Access to the Android Market for applications * Access to Amazon for music downloads

The G1 will cost $179 with a two-year contract, and an unlimited data adds $25/mo to your voice plan. (The cheapest iPhone plan costs $70/mo for 450 voice minutes and unlimited data.)

We shall see whether the G1 becomes a worthy competitor to the almighty iPhone -- for growing businesses as well as the tech-hungry hordes.

UPDATE: More on G1 as a business device from InformationWeek's Marin Perez