To say that Google has been a major success in the digital age is as much of a ludicrous understatement as saying that Hendrix knew his way around a guitar, or that Bill Shankly knew a thing or two about football. Google has now become synonymous with Internet usage, and you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who uses a computer online that’s unaware of the company.
Over the years Google has made it clear that it won’t be happy just dominating the Internet search business, so when rumours started to circulate about a Google mobile phone operating system, everyone sat up and listened – including yours truly. It was a couple of years ago that those Google phone rumours first emerged, and now I have the first, full production Google Android phone in my possession.
If you have even a passing interest in technology news, you’ll already know that the phone I’m reviewing today is the T-Mobile G1. We’ve known for a while now that this would be the first Android handset, and that T-Mobile would be the exclusive partner for the launch. I’m not generally a fan of handsets being exclusive to particular network operators, since it limits consumer choice.
OK, I understand why carriers do it – if the phone is popular enough, it could convince customers to desert their existing network operator in order to get said phone – I’m sure that many consumers have done exactly that in order to get their paws on an iPhone. But it would still be good to know that you could get any handset from any operator.
Anyway, my personal feelings about exclusivity aside, T-Mobile has the G1 and no other carrier can offer a Google powered phone – for the time being at least. T-Mobile is also offering the G1 free on its £40 per month Flext 40 contract, which gives you £250 worth of credit each month – that equates to around 1,250 minutes, but that allowance can also be spent on SMS, MMS or any other service. Of course you also get unlimited data thrown in, which you’ll definitely need with a handset like this.
There’s no doubt that T-Mobile has led the way with consumer tariffs over the past few years, so much so that I switched to T-Mobile myself last year. You do have to sign an 18-month contract to take advantage of this offer, but that’s hardly unusual if you want a high end handset. It comes as no surprise that the contract pricing for the G1 slightly undercuts O2’s pricing for the iPhone 3G, but will that be enough to sway consumers from Apple’s wonder-phone?