Ugly 'GPhone' Set For Release

Dennis Faas's picture

The first mobile phone based on Google's "Android" system will be available on the T-Mobile network in October. But insiders say the device, while functional, lacks the grace and style of its obvious market rival, Apple's iPhone.

As we reported back in November, Google opted against launching its own mobile phone, instead developing an open source software package with the idea that it could encourage manufacturers to develop cheaper handsets. The belief at the time was that Google might get back its investment by negotiating a cut of any advertising revenue network carriers would make through the phones.

The New York Times is now reporting that HTC, a Taiwan based manufacturer which has previously concentrated on Windows-based mobile devices, will launch an Android-powered phone in October. It will have an iPhone-style touchscreen but also a slide-out, five-row keyboard. (Source:

Those who've seen the phone (codenamed Dream) in action say it appears to work very well, but feels too large and heavy compared with the iPhone, and has a less user-friendly interface. (Source:

Reporters at the New York Times believe a Youtube video which has circulated recently does indeed portray a genuine Dream phone.

HTC can't officially announce the phone until the Federal Communications Commission gives formal backing to say both the phone and the software meet official standards. Marketers will no doubt want to start the hype as soon as possible to get a foothold in the Christmas sales, which might otherwise be dominated by the iPhone.

There's been some controversy among software developers who say Google has deliberately limited access to Android development tools to particular groups. However, Google should be making the tools publicly available in the next few weeks, which should give firms enough time to make workable applications by the time the public finally get their hands on the phone.

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