T-Mobile Attempts iPhone Killer, Underwhelms Techies

September 25, 2008

The T-Mobile G1 (a.k.a. the iPhone Killer, a.k.a. Dream, a.k.a. first-phone-with-Android) has been revealed, and the tech heads have had their way with each and every moving and unmoving part.  Hit the jump to see what’s wrong (and occasionally right) with the next (kinda) big thing, and the first G1 ad.

Being touted as an iPhone killer makes one think that the G1 will succeed in all the places that iPhone doesn’t and/or outstrip it on its strong points.  Not so much.

One of the best parts, from a user standpoint, about the iPhone is that it just looks cool.  And it makes you look cool to have it.  The Dream, on the other hand, looks like a whole swath of already-existing tactile keyboard phones out there.  Nobody who isn’t looking specifically for it will see it for what it is.  It’s like an Angelfish shark in that way.

So, that’s what most of us care about.  How cool it looks.  For developers, though, a much more complicated question arises concerning the iPhone/Android war.  Basically, it boils down to how easy it is to make and sell apps for it. 

The answer to how easy it is gets complicated.  It’s probably the most versatile mobile platform, so what that means is one potentially has a large audience to pull from when selling apps.  What it also means, though, is there will likely be compatibility issues.  While the light saber app may work on the G1, who knows which other Android-equipped phones it’ll work on?  Not me, certainly, but some people argue not even the people making the apps will know.

Further frustrating devos is the fact that the G1 isn't open source, at least not in the way they expected it to be.  They're restricting a number of things most prominently VOIPs which came as the most prominent disappointment to many. 

Gizmodo sums it up well, though, in an interview with former Google Mobile Product Manager, Ulf Waschbusch:

The reason many people see the G1 as ugly and old-fashioned is simply… because it IS! It’s a design unchanged for a while (it’s now available in Zune-brown along with white and black). The hardware itself though went through many iterations I am sure, as it’s top-notch (3G on AWS, GPS, 3MP autofocus camera etc.)...Where’s the cheap data plan? Where do I plug in my headphones? No video player? How do I get contacts in it?