Posts Tagged ‘Gphone’

Samsung's first Google phone: Android 1.5, OLED screen, thinner than iPhone


Samsung's Android-based i7500

At last there’s some real competition among phones running Google’s Android OS, with Samsung announcing its first “Gphone”, the unimaginatively named i7500, which should see a European release in June (no word yet on U.S. availability).

Despite Samsung being one of the first major handset makers to join the Google-led Open Handset Alliance, it was left to Taiwanese HTC, working closely with T-Mobile and Google itself, to release the first Android phone called the G1 (see our review). And although the Android OS impressed, particularly its fast and elegant web browser, the G1’s hardware was disappointing to say the least. The device is chunky, has a sub-par camera, and the phone’s battery life doesn’t tally with Android’s always-on connectivity. HTC’s follow-up, the Magic, looks to be an improvement over the G1, although I’ve yet to have a hands-on with the device so can’t say for sure. Enter Samsung’s i7500, which on paper at least, has a number of things going for it.

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Hands-on: G1's Android web browser rocks [video demo]

I’ve been playing with the T-Mobile G1 for a few days now — the so-called Google phone — and I’m really impressed with the Android operating system. The touch-friendly User Interface is intuitive and very responsive, although not as ‘pretty’ as the iPhone, an inevitable comparison. And the included suite of native Google apps (Gmail, Google Maps and YouTube), along with the expanding list of third-party software available through the Android Marketplace, already make the G1 a very capable device — my only caveat so far is the drain on battery life that Android’s always-on connectivity and the G1’s large screen seems to impose.

See also: Hands on with the Google phone: a solid device that won’t unseat the iPhone

However, where Android really rocks is the bundled web browser. It’s fast, renders the full web flawlessly (aside from the lack of Flash support), and does a fantastic job of re-flowing text when you zoom in on a specific part of a web page, therefore eliminating the need for horizontal scrolling despite browsing on such a small screen. If the mobile browser is more important than the operating system, then Android has it covered. This is a really big deal in my opinion and good news for mobile web developers everywhere, since we’ll see a plethora of Android-based phones release next year and beyond, at a very competitive range of price points.

View a short video I shot of the T-Mobile G1’s Android web browser in action after the jump…

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