G1 Impressions

T-Mobile just announced the G1 phone, an Android-powered phone scheduled for release on October 22 for $179 with a two year committment. Android is an open and free mobile platform from Google.

From the hardware perspective, the G1 is slightly bulkier than the iPhone at 5.6 ounces. The G1’s screen is a bit smaller at 3.17 inches compared to the iPhone’s at 3.5 inch. The difference is offset by the G1’s full QWERTY keyboard.

The G1 is capable of synchronizing to online applications automatically. The phone can be configured with instant messaging and pop or imap email. The Google Browser and Google Search works with a Wifi signal.

The other cool application that runs on the G1 is Google Maps. The G1 comes with GPS and is capable of running Google’s Street View. The phone comes with a built-in compass. Pointing the phone in any direction changes the vantage point of Street View. A very cool feature indeed.

In terms of music, the G1 music player is capable of playing MP3, WMA, AAC and Ogg Vorbis files. The OGG format is welcome addition to open-source fans since OGG format is open and patent-free.

Unfortunately, there is no video player for the G1. The other drawback is T-Mobile 3G service is only available in 21 markets, otherwise the G1 has to use an older EDGE network.