I got hold of the first Android phone - T-Mobile G1 - last night in San Francisco, where the "pre-sale" was held from 6pm.
Without too much going into the technical details, here is my impression about G1.
- Form factor: I am in strong belief that the form factor is the #1 key for success for mass-oriented mobile phone. With Andy Rubin, former Danger guy, in the helm, G1 definitely has inherited the cool "smell" of Sidekick that appeals to the young folks. (Although the hardware is made by HTC, I heard from the industry source that Google had a lot to say about the hardware design.) It was much sleeker than I thought, and feel how the screen opens up - a bit to the side and up - is "Sidekick"-like "fun" factor.
- Cloud factor: Smartphone market is exploding this year, and with the entry of Apple and Google, the main focus of smartphone market is how it relates to "cloud computing". In that sense, iPhone is "Web1.0" handset whereas Android is "Web2.0". iPhone is basically a beautiful "viewer" of the contents, including iTunes contents and website. With iPhone, you can buy the professionally made contents and see it on the phone, whereas with G1, the screen is much smaller and less beautiful, Android market is not developed yet, YouTube doesn't work very well, but it is much easier to input text and make phone calls. It is very true to the basic "mobile phone" function, which may also be the DNA of Sidekick. It also is still "work in process", as open source OS, so it may get better over the years, but at this moment, iPhone looks much more "complete product". With all its power and shortcomings combined, G1 is the "Web2.0" type handset.
I will probably come up with other stuff, but here is my brief impression about G1.