Google, T-Mobile Unveil Android-Powered G1 Smartphone

Available Oct. 22, the handset will include a touch screen, QWERTY keyboard, Wi-Fi, GPS, Google App integration, and support for Amazon's music download service.
The first salvo in the next generation of the mobile wars was fired Tuesday as T-Mobile, Google, and HTC unveiled the first Android-powered handset, the G1.

T-Mobile's HTC G1 is the first Android-powered handset. It features a touch screen, full QWERTY keyboard, 3G connectivity, GPS, and Wi-Fi.
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The handset, unveiled at an event in New York, has a touch screen that flips out to reveal a full QWERTY keyboard. Because Google was closely involved in the development of the G1, it's no surprise the handset has tight integration with many of the search giant's offerings.

G1 users will have free push GMail, wireless syncing with Google calendar, and support for YouTube. Additionally, the Google Maps feature has a built-in compass which enables users to view locations and navigate 360 degrees by moving the phone with their hands.

But non-Google app users can still use the G1 for communication as it syncs with most other POP3 or IMAP e-mails. There's no support for Microsoft Exchange at the moment, but executives said there's plenty of opportunity for a third-party developer to create a product.

Android Market is an open content distribution system for finding, purchasing, downloading, and installing content on Android-powered devices.
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The G1 will have integrated Wi-Fi for surfing and checking e-mail, and users also can hop onto T-Mobile's expanding 3G network for mobile Web access. There's also a GPS chip that can use cellular data for assisted GPS services such as location-based searches.

There's a full HTML browser on board that's built on the same underlying technology as the recently released Chrome desktop browser. The G1 version, or "Chrome Lite," uses the WebKit engine and has been tailored for the mobile screen.

The handset will have a multimedia player, and it comes preloaded with an Amazon application that enables users to search, download, and buy music from more than 6 million DRM-free tracks. The G1 also has Bluetooth capabilities, a dedicated search button, and users will be able to download applications from the Android Market.

The handset measures in at 4.6 by 2.1 by .6 inches, and it will be available in the United States on Oct. 22 for $179 with a two-year contract. The handset will be launched in the United Kingdom by November, and it will be sold throughout Europe in early 2009, executives said.

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