Google Android G1 and the Bitter Taste of Crow

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2008-09-24 Print this article Print

Crow tastes lousy, but it's the dish I'm eating now.

I suggested Sept. 17 that the first T-Mobile G1 phone based on Google's Android could ship 1 million units in almost the same amount of time as Apple's iPhone.

Had this device arrived before the iPhone, it would have easily shipped 1 million units in 70 or days. But after sampling the G1 in person, I would say the phone is nothing that will make people tuck their iPhones away in a desk drawer.

The G1 smart phone is less unwieldy than has been previously reported and offers a nice browsing experience, but it's hardly a game-changer in the wake of the iPhone. If you haven't had a chance to examine one, you can't go wrong with Walt Mossberg's review; it's spot on.

As you've seen from the press coverage, including from yours truly, the phone lacks the star power of the iPhone only because it so closely resembles it. I am personally partial to a gadget with a keyboard, but not everyone shares my sentiment.

T-Mobile isn't saying how many devices it expects to ship, but now I'm inclined to think the number will be below analysts' estimates of 400,000 to 500,000.

Now I'm thinking T-Mobile will sell maybe 250,000 to 300,000 G1 units. However, we just don't know what kind of marketing T-Mobile and Google will come up with to drive sales for the G1's Oct. 22 launch.

T-Mobile has indicated youth and families as targets. Will we see smug "I am a smart phone" commercials?

While I heard quite a few people express "Is that all?" disappointment in the device, there may have been others who fell in love with it after doing a few searches with the G1's speedy Webkit browser.

The compass feature is a winner, too, but no game-changer. No one was gushing about the G1, that's for sure.

However, in spite of the tepid first user and media response, we don't yet know how the general public will react to a mobile device that comes with Google's big brand cachet. We just don't know.

In any case, I'm collecting feedback from some experts in the mobile space, which I'm fashioning into a news blog for eWEEK today. Stay tuned. |

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