Review units aren’t available yet, but a few folks have had a chance to fondle the G1 phone introduced today by T-Mobile, Google and HTC.
Some of their first impressions:
The NYT’s David Pogue, who said it’s more complex than the iPhone but has more features:
The G1 with Android is clearly intended to be an iPhone knockoff — with all the chronic complaints addressed.
Walt Mossberg poked around a prototype and said it’s a “real alternative” to the iPhone. He liked the software but said the phone’s stubby and chunky:
So, if your world already revolves around Google services, you may find that the G1 fits like a glove. If not, you may be disappointed.
Also, like the iPhone, the G1 has a download service for third-party programs, called Market. I downloaded a couple of simple Market programs and they worked fine.
The G1 won’t win any beauty contests with its Apple (AAPL) rival. It’s stubby and chunky, nearly 30% thicker and almost 20% heavier than the iPhone. It’s a bit narrower — more like a standard phone than a “smart phone” – and longer, but has a somewhat smaller screen.
Still, it feels pretty good in the hand when closed, although I found it more awkward when opened.
But the software is slick. Programs appear in a virtual drawer you slide open via a tab at the bottom of the screen, and notifications of new messages and the like can be read by sliding the top bar of the screen down. The screen and software were quick and responsive
Engadget said it felt nice:
The phone is surprisingly thinner than we thought it would be, and it feels pretty solid in your hand (though they’ve opted for an almost all plastic device, no metal here). The keyboard seems usable and reasonably well thought-out, and the slider action is like butter, with a nice little swoop for good effect