Since Apple launched the iPhone 15 months ago, it has defined, for many, what a smartphone experience should be. But now T-Mobile gives the iPhone a run for its money with the launch of the G1 smartphone, based on Google's Android platform. From the details that have emerged so far regarding the G1, Apple now has a reason to be looking over its shoulder.
Here is a look at how G1 and the iPhone compare to one another.
Platform and Device
In contrast to Apple, which built its own phone, operating system, and content ecosystem, the G1 is based on an open platform. That means any software publisher can design programs that run on the G1 and Google Android. The potential universe of T-Mobile G1 applications is huge. Yet, it's too early to know whether mobile application developers will flock to Android.
At least for now Apple has the upper hand when it comes to the device. The number of iPhone mobile applications (accessible via Apple's App Store) is growing every day. However, Apple's total control over the iPhone can also be bad because Apple can choose to exert too much control over what applications run on the iPhone and bar those that it doesn't like, upsetting users.
Hardware Specs G1 vs iPhone
Weight: T-Mobile G1 = 158g; Apple iPhone = 133g
Battery Life: T-Mobile G1 = 5 hours talk time, 130 hours standby; Apple iPhone = 5 hours talk time, 300 hours standby
Screen Size: T-Mobile G1 = 3.2in; Apple iPhone = 3.5in
Camera: T-Mobile G1 = 3Mp; Apple iPhone = 2Mp
Storage: T-Mobile G1 = 2GB (expandable to 8GB); Apple iPhone = 8GB or 16GB
The big difference between G1 and iPhone is how you put music, videos, games, and productivity applications on your phone. The iPhone has iTunes, mobile iTunes (for iPod Touch and iPhone) and the App Store.
Things work differently with T-Mobile's G1. The G1 doesn't require a desktop software program similar to iTunes to add content to your phone. Content can be added via a removeable storage card, but most content T-Mobile says will be downloaded using Wi-Fi connection.
Many Google applications will come pre-loaded onto the G1, for example push Gmail service, Google Maps functionality, Google Calendar, and YouTube. T-Mobile is only talking about a handful of third-party applications.
There are likely loads more to be announced leading up the G1's October 22 debut in the US. Some include a ShopSavvy, a program that turns your phone into a scanner able to read barcodes and deliver instant price comparisons and PedNav, and location-aware application that helps you find nearby public transit options and walking routes. These mobile applications will be available through Android Market - a competitor to Apple's App Store.
T-Mobile G1 versus Apple iPhone continued...
Music: Amazon MP3 vs. iTunes
The iPhone has iTunes and the G1 has an application preinstalled called Amazon MP3, Amazon.com's digital music download store.
Amazon many not have as big of a library of content to choose from compared to iTunes, yet. But the chief advantage Amazon has over iTunes in the US is music that's a bit less expensive and music tracks don't have digital rights management (DRM) on them. That means anything you download to you G1 you can play on your iPod or transfer to your PC.
There was no mention of it at launch, but one can only assume that video content, as with music content, will be also be accessible through Amazon's web-based download service. Amazon MP3 is expected to launch in the UK this autumn.
Features: G1 vs iPhone
G1: Touchscreen, qwerty keyboard, internet access via 3G and Wi-Fi, additional content via Android Market, music from Amazon, built-in GPS, and ‘compass' for easy navigation, instant messaging, push email, locked Sim card, web browsing.
iPhone: Touchscreen, virtual qwerty keyboard, multi-touch gesture support, internet access via 3G and Wi-Fi, additional music and applications via iTunes and App Store, built-in GPS (second-gen iPhone), Visual Voicemail, multi-touch gesture support, Microsoft Exchange support, push email, locked Sim card, Web browsing.
So far, the only official price details for T-Mobile's G1 are that it'll be available for free with £40-per-month contracts. Over two years, that would put the overall cost of owning a G1 at £960.
Apple's iPhone is available with a number of contracts, ranging from pay-as-you-go (PAYG) deals to a £75 18-month contract including a free iPhone, 3,000 minutes of call time, 500 texts, unlimited data and unlimited Wi-Fi access. The total cost of that deal is £1,350.
However, there's too much we don't know about the T-Mobile G1 to make any comprehensive comparisons. One big variable is 3G coverage and how comprehensive T-Mobile's network is. That was a big deal for people considering buying and upgrading to the second generation iPhone.
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