The long-awaited Google phone will be announced next Tuesday, so says the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, and the rest of the Web. The phone, which features the first release of the Android operating system, will be available near the end of October.
Coincidentally, Google today showed off a fairly polished version of Android and its HTC-manufactured hardware at Google’s Developer Day conference in London. Check out the YouTube demo video for details.
The upcoming news conference and the nearing release date got me thinking about what I’d like to see in the first Google phone. What I want isn’t a wish list, per se, but more of a checklist.
Stylish good looks
Based on what I’ve seen so far, the HTC Dream — now known as the G1 for the release — will feature an iPhone-like touch screen and a very non-iPhone slide-up display that hides a promising keyboard.
Rumors point to uninspiring black, white, and brown colors for the initial release. Black and white — been there, done that. But brown?
Imaginative user interface
Next, a polished, consistent, imaginative user interface is essential. It must, again, be on par with or better than the iPhone OS. Prove to us that somebody other than Apple can design a cell phone UI.
And please, please, please: If it’s not as slick as the iPhone UI, at least don’t give us an interface that’s like the clunky Gmail and Reader experiences. Give us something interesting and fun to play with like the iPhone was when it was released more than a year ago.
More than one carrier
I know this isn’t possible just yet, but please o’ please make the Google phone available on more than one network before 2112.
Other thoughts come to mind, but these are what the iPhone lacks, not what it does well.
- the ability to run more than one app at a time
- the ability to play Flash files, not just YouTube videos
- the ability to copy and paste
- the immediate availability of more polished, functional third-party apps when the Android Market (the equivalent of Apple’s App Store) opens for business
- (add your own iPhone shortcoming)
I believe the Google phone must meet these objectives because it needs to wow the public, just like the iPhone did (and still does). Most people outside of the techy, geek, gadget world know little about the Google phone, Android, or what it means to the mobile industry. Nor do they care.
T-Mobile, the exclusive carrier, is No. 4 in the U.S. It won’t have the resources to blitz our TV screens, radios, and printed media with Android ads like Apple did for the iPhone. What will propel the Google phone into orbit like the iPhone is sexy design, a slick UI, a quality fit and finish, an even better browser, and plugging the holes left by the iPhone.
The techies, geeks, and gadget hounds will talk about the Google phone. They’ll buy one for husbands, wives, and kids. They’ll recommend the phone to friends. They’ll proudly show it off, their latest high-tech talisman.
And if this happens, Apple will have serious competition for the first time since introducing the iPod years ago.