ALL THE REST
Dubbed the G1, it's a promising first attempt as a whole lot of hands-on reviews on Techmeme would indicate. I'd recommend the ones by Mossberg, Pogue, Engadget, Gizmodo and Crunchgear amongst others as a start.
What's interesting to note that almost every review compares the G1 to Apple's iPhone, which of course is the "Gold Standard" competitor of most mainstream interest.
And the general consensus of these reviews seems to be that the G1 is a promising start as compared to the iPhone, with more improvements to come from Google, other hardware and wireless providers. This observation by Om Malik of GigaOm on Google's software platform, stuck in my mind:
"Amazingly robust operating system with little or no lag time. It makes Windows Mobile feel like a retiree; even the iPhone feels like a middle-aged person compared to Android OS."
Which brings up the following observation going through most of the full-on reviews of the G1. What seems to be lacking in most of them so far, was the almost total lack of direct comparison vs. other major Smartphone platform providers like Symbian, Windows Mobile, Blackberry, Palm and others.
If you look at the market share of these systems in this Wikipedia entry, the iPhone is so far a distant number five in market share, as of Q208:
- Symbian OS from Symbian Ltd. (57.1% Market Share Sales Q2 2008 )
- RIM BlackBerry operating system (17.4% Market Share Sales Q2 2008)
- Windows Mobile from Microsoft (12.0% Market Share Sales Q2 2008)
- Linux operating system (7.3% Market Share Sales Q2 2008)
- iPhone OS from Apple Inc. (2.8% Market Share Sales Q2 2008)
- Palm OS developed by PalmSource (now a subsidiary of ACCESS) (2.3% Market Share Sales Q2 2008)
As the old joke goes, when a few folks are running from a hungry bear, the survivor has to focus on outrunning the other runners, not necessarily the bear. The list above shows that there are a whole host of runners besides just the iPhone*.
Google has a whole lot of opportunity for Android beyond the iPhone, both from a mind share and a market share perspective. With pre-orders for a few hundred thousand or more for the T-Mobile G1, they're obviously on their way to catch a few other runners besides the iPhone.
I'd particularly be interested in seeing reviews of the new G1 Android platform against the latest Windows Mobile device and Nokia's N95 or N96, which are the ultimate "do-it-all" smartphones that serious geeks around the world have gravitated towards in the last year or so. Nokia is said to have sold over half a million unlocked N95 devices in North America alone, despite the fact that no US wireless carrier "officially" supports that uber-smartphone.
These comparisons and reviews are likely forthcoming, and for now be more relevant for Google to beat with it's Android initiative than just Apple's iPhone.
Update: Om Malik has a good post on the challenges Windows Mobile faces with the arrival of Android, with more thoughts to come on Symbian.