Android Has Arrived

After much fanfare, the T-Mobile G1, the world’s first Android based smartphone, was released on the 22nd of this month.

For those of you who aren’t familiar, Android is an open sourced software stack for mobile devices which includes an operating system, middleware and applications. Backed by Google, Android’s arrival has been anxiously awaited since the rumors of the Google phone first started to surface a couple of years ago.

After this much anticipation, it would have been very easy for the release to dissapoint. However that was not the case at all. In an interview with Mercury News, Peter Chou, chief executive and co-founder of HTC, who’s the actual manufacturer of the G1 device, stated that he expects to ship more than 600,000 devices this year alone and that he feels confident in their ability to compete with the iPhone in the growing smartphone market.

The rush by opportunistic eBay sellers to turn these devices for a profit, including unlocked versions that are reportedly going for as much as $1,000, has certainly matched the similar mania that followed the release of the iPhone. So if this can be considered a type of litmus test, it certainly looks like the G1, and the Android platform for that matter, are off to a great start.

That’s not to say that there haven’t been a couple of glitches during the initial release, including a security flaw that was found in the device’s web browser and reportedly already has a patch in development. There’s a thread over at T-Mobile where it seems people are having all sorts of problems with the POP3/IMAP email service.

But despite these bumps in the road, which I for one tend to both expect and accept with any new launch, the device seems very cool. Not to mention eerily similar to the images that surfaced in many places, including right here, over a year ago speculating as to what the rumored “gPhone” might look like.

I for one am pleased to see the Android release, not only because of devices like the G1, but because as an open sourced platform, it’s sure to lead to many cool mobile apps to talk about in the future.