With the Nexus One suffering from some severe customer service issues, we thought it might be interesting to take a look book at the first “Google phone”, the G1. So back in Sept. 2008, T-Mobile and Google got together to announce a phone with the oh so creative name of the G1.  Prior to the announcement, rumors had been circulating for some time of a magical “gPhone” coming from Google.  At the time the G1 was finally revealed to the world, everyone just assumed that was it, however, Mark ‘Rizzn’ Hopkins, then of Mashable, had reported it was an HTC handset we should all be waiting on.  Despite these warnings that had then been echoed by others, everyone got caught up in the fervor of Google releasing a phone, and went about heralding the device as the one that had come to save us from the iPhone.  Sadly, we were left rather wanting.

g1portraitWhile the phone certainly wasn’t horrible, it just didn’t seem to really get people into the buying frenzy Apple’s iPhone had.  Of course, when you have reviews from sites such as PC Mag starting off with “The first-ever Google Android smartphone is a solid initial effort that, given an open development platform, will grow with time,” it isn’t exactly verbiage that is going to inspire people to stand in-line at a store for the device.

At the end of the day the G1 just sort of felt like … well … a phone.  The market was already spoiled by the shiny, sexy curves of the near button-less iPhone, and here was the G1 with the horror of horrors right on its, face … words!  They had dared to label things!  Those heathens! And, we’re sorry, but as much as we would all like to think we don’t judge books by their covers, we do, and the G1 was just not as attractive as the iPhone even when you break it down by raw data like weight and keyboard placement.

G1 iPhone
H x W x D (in mm) 117.7 x 55.7 x 17.1 115.5 x 62.1 x 12.3
Weight (in grams) 158 135
Keyboard Slide-out QWERTY On-screen

None of this is to say the G1 was a bad phone, it just had to take on a juggernaut.

If the first phone out from Google had been the Nexus One, things probably would have gone smoother for the Android operating system this past year –in spite of the current 3G connectivity problems being reported all over the Web –, and Android would already have a larger market share than it does.  Instead it is growing, just not as fast as anyone probably anticipated if the G1 had actually been the prophesied “gPhone” we had all hoped for.