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Squawk Box September 23: Android launches, we weigh in.

Image representing Android as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

Today is Google Android day — the day that Google and T-Mobile unveiled the Android smartphone OS to the world.

We started off by talking about the device, the T-Mobile G1. With touchscreen, 3 megapixel camera, 3G, WiFi, and a slide out keyboard the specs make it look as if it’s targeted at iPhone AND Blackberry.  Jim Courtney points out that the most vulnerable target might be Windows Mobile.

One of the features touted in the T-Mobile offer was Free GMail.  my first thought was “isn’t Gmail already free?” T-Mobile is going to offer the GMail without any data plan, undercutting the $15 / month that is charged for Blackberry Mail.  We concluded it was a bit of a marketing gimmick, however, because email so often contains embedded HTML links.

Amazon Music Store will also be preloaded on the T-Mobile G1.  DRM free,128k rips sound good, but is this a real challenger to iTunes? With no desktop application, sideloading becomes the only option.  And what about the fact that Amazon Music is not offered anywhere outside the US.  It seemed to us as if the music store option was half baked.

And then there’s the issue of “open”.  Yes, Android is built on open source, but there are lots of non-Open elements.  Totally Google-centric, Android is built around GMail and Google contacts.  Apparently you have to really jump through hoops to make it synch with Outlook or the Mac address book.

At the other end of the spectrum, however, the Open Platform and Google Market are an applications marketplace with no App-Store style restrictions.  Google has just created a site where people can upload applications.  Is there a model for developers to monetize these apps?  Several people expressed strong opinions that Google ought to offer a service to bill customers for the application, as iTunes / Appstore does.

Priced at $180 with a 2 year contract and $35/month for unlimited data, we also felt that the pricing wasn’t aggressive enough to slow the Apple juggernaught.

On the Calliflower Conference Call:  Dan York, Hudson Barton, Jim Courtney, Ari Rabban, William Volk, Warren Bent, Jonathan Jensen, Dan Rockwell, Tom Orr, Sergio Meinardi, Michael Graves, Jeb Brilliant, Greg McQuay, Rob Nielsen, Andrew Hansen, Dan Lane

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{ 1 comment… add one }

  • Martyn Davies September 23, 2008, 2:00 pm

    Somewhat clumsily branded "T-Mobile G1 with Google". That was a good show today, Alec, notwithstanding your audio challenges. I'm sorry I couldn't join you.

    It will be interesting to see how much they charge for it in the UK; I'm sure that the subsidy won't be anywhere near so generous.

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