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Live from T-Mobile's Android event in New York City

Live from T-Mobile's Android event in New York City
Joshua Topolsky
Joshua Topolsky|September 23, 2008 9:50 AM

9:49AM We're here, and we're waiting out front for the big party to start. Stay tuned for more info as it happens!

10:07AM We're inside and we've got some very exciting happenings afoot... stay tuned.

10:12AM That's right folks -- we've already managed to get our hands on the G1 (see post above), and we're in the process of handling some other colors right now (there's also white and brown). We're hanging out with a few of the developers for the device, and they're being very gracious with their phones. Thanks guys!

10:17AM We just heard that for the first 90 days after purchase, all apps from the T-Mobile Marketplace (or whatever they're calling their App Store) will be free for phone buyers. That's a nice incentive... now how about some free Amazon MP3s?

10:19AM Announcement: ladies and gentlemen, we'll be starting 10 minutes. Also, there's some smooth jazz playing here that's a little too smooth, and not enough jazz.

10:24AM We've just got a ton of tips that the video stream is live, if you're into that sort of thing.

Okay, it looks like they're about to begin. We were just told there will be a photo op and unveiling about 15 mins in. So... less surprises then?

10:30AM And, they're starting. Awesome, awesome T-Mobile promo video. This is the funkiest techno rock we've ever heard.

10:31AM CTO Cole Brodman of T-Mobile is out. "Thank you for celebrating with us today."

10:31AM "We're here to celebrating the birth of a new platform and a new system."

10:32AM He's listing off who will appear... Andy Rubin will make a showing. Small applause. Peter Chow from HTC will be out as well. Sweet! "Let's get started!" Chris Schlaffer from T-Mobile Germany.

10:33AM "We're launching the world's first Android device... the G1." No way.

10:34AM "We told you we would introduce the first Android device this year. We are committed to driving innovation, to providing our customers with a superior experience."

10:36AM "We think the mobile internet is the dominant driving force in the industry." "We need to capitalize on this opportunity -- our partnerships are very important in making that happen. I would like to thank HTC and Google." "We have time and again shown with HTC we can bring innovation to the marketplace -- ladies and gentlemen, T-Mobile is committed to an open platform... the T-Mobile G1 is a milestone."

10:36AM He's introducing Andy Rubin -- "We're bringing Google advancements to the mobile phone."

10:39AM "Because of it's openness, you can modify or make the platform better. We think Android is future-proof. It has openness built in." He's intro'ing Mr. Chow from HTC. "I would like to congratulate Andy on the Android strategy and vision... I'm sure there's a big celebration in Mountain View... so, good job!" "Likewise, I want to congratulate T-Mobile for making this a reality... HTC, Google, T-Mobile... we share a similar vision for making the mobile internet practical and fun."

10:39AM "We think people can really use this device and enjoy it. We've worked closely with Google and T-Mobile to create an iconic design unlike anything in the market. The G1 will appeal to a broad variety of people."

10:40AM "This will transform how and where people can use the internet. Thanks and I hope you enjoy it!" Back to Cole!

10:42AM "Why did we invest in this platform? Mobile broadband has been around for years, but no devices take advantage of these services. The US leads the world in voice and text usage, yet mobile internet penetration lags. The experience hasn't been compelling -- users have not found it to be compelling. We're going to change that. We're going to lean into open systems and great partnerships -- and we're going to embrace 3rd parties."

10:43AM "No more fuzzy pictures on the internet, no more blog posts..." Thanks buddy! Demo video -- they're unveiling!

10:44AM Quick slideshow of Android features... and the G1 is revealed. Hey wait... this looks really familiar. They're posing for pics now. Gotta admit, the phone looks way slick in person, and it's smaller than you'd imagine.

We'd be elbowing people out of the way had we not been playing with one a few moments ago. People are acting rabid... ooh, the brown model is out! It looks nice. Very fashionable.

10:45AM "So the great thing we set this up is you'll get a chance to use it first hand. Lots of devices here running on our network here in New York. But let's take a quick look at what these devices can do..." More video.

10:47AM Video: Great touchscreen, and you can long press. Now showing the photo app -- you can "frame" a picture and drop it on your home screen. Drag and drop of apps. Music downloader! Looks slick... very iTunes like. Search by artists, albums. Now showing the music player -- links back to Amazon.

10:49AM Just start typing on the keyboard and it brings up contacts. Now showing off Gmaps and street view... you can pan just like we've seen Andy do in demos. Compass mode... the scene moves as you do. Pretty cool!

Back to the home screen -- demoing the browser now. Just running through the controls. If you've seen the emulator, this looks somewhat familiar. Yep, tabbed browsing, pop-up menus. Dedicated search button on the keyboard.

10:50AM Showing off the "Android Market" -- user ratings... instant downloads. Ha! Pac-man!

10:50AM Big applause!

10:52AM "So what do you think? Trust me it's a lot of fun. One of the things that's going to bring this into the future is this open platform. We believe it will drive the mobile internet. As humans, we can count on change, as times change, as technology changes, this platform will embrace that change by allowing 3rd parties to write applications..." Seems like they might be going after Apple's closed system here. Not surprising.

10:52AM Now they're showing off 3rd party partners... Android developer community discussing open source. They're really pushing the openness here.

10:53AM Video of devs big-upping open source. "It's risk free." "It's completely open... no one says 'you can't do that'."

10:54AM "Right now it can go so many directions..." Big cheers for the devs! And rightly so.

10:56AM Now showing off some developers here today. Lots of applause. Ecorio... Shop Savvy. The latter group has "turned the G1 into a barcode scanner." "Who doesn't want a better deal given the last few weeks?"

10:57AM Now they're doing question and answer... pricing! $179!

10:57AM Can be ordered over the internet for existing customers... commercial launch is October 22nd.

10:58AM Two data / messaging plans: $25 with unlimited data and some messaging, $35 with unlimited data and messaging.

10:58AM 3G: Will be live in 22 markets by launch, 27 by November. All major markets. Vast network to use.

10:59AM The device will be in the UK in November, across Europe in 2009.

10:59AM Andy Rubin: entire platform is open source. We're pretty focused on more features and functionality.

11:00AM Some questions from the group: Will this function as a tethered modem, can people just get a voice plan?

A: No tethering, data required.

11:01AM Q: Any support for Microsoft office? Is it sim-locked?

A: Can read Word, PDFs, Excel -- no exchange compatibility. The open marketplace has been dry there. It will be sim-locked to T-Mobile.

11:02AM Q: Will you offer push?

A: Gmail is push.

11:02AM Q: Will there be a desktop syncing app?

A: There isn't a desktop app. (What? How are we getting our contacts on there?)

11:03AM Q: Will this be available outside 3G markets? (Ah yes, we've been wondering)

A: Yes it will -- but the best experience is on WiFi or 3G.

11:04AM Q: Do you think there will be unlockers working on this?

A: It's worth noting that $179 is an attractive price. We want to be sure consumers use it on the network it's optimized for.

11:05AM Q: With no desktop app, will it have a server sync? And what Bluetooth profiles are supported?

A: Gmail, Yahoo!, Microsoft, AOL mail syncs -- does hands-free, no A2DP yet.

11:06AM Q: Will it use Chrome?

A: Yes, call it 'Chrome Lite.'

11:08AM Q: What is the Gmail client going to be like? (That's a good question -- we haven't seen much of it).

A: (And they're being vague about this) It will offer a lot of the same features. (They pretty much avoided answering... how far along is the Gmail app?)

11:09AM Q: What formats will it support? Will there be Skype?

A: AAC, MP3, but iTunes files will need to be DRM free (uh, yep). No Skype right now.

11:09AM Whoa! Larry Page and Sergey Brin are here! On rollerblades!

11:10AM Big cheers for these two!

11:11AM Sergey: "We had to rush here! It's exciting to be here. What really gives me pleasure with this is that I'm a bit of a geek, I like tinkering with things... I grew up messing with Linux... I get that same pleasure playing with Android and the G1... I've been using it for awhile. The first app I wrote was one where you throw your phone in the air and it measures how long it takes to catch it." Chuckles. Oooh, he just called the Marketplace the "App Store." Burn.

11:13AM Larry: "I've tremendously enjoyed my G1 -- Andy knows, I've given lots of feedback. I'm excited about the possibilities. This is as good a computer as you would have had a few years ago. Access to the internet, using applications... there's tremendous opportunity. Let me ask you guys to do a websearch... how long does it take?"

11:14AM "We're excited about having computer-like functionality on a phone with an open eco-system. You'll see a lot of really interesting things."

Joint photo op now. All in the family. HTC, Google, T-Mobile... that's a lot of money up there.

11:16AM Okay, thank you... and that's it! Time to go play with some phones!