Fair enough, the G1’s battery life sucks and the handset can’t compete with Apple’s sleek design, looking clunky by comparison. But it’s got a great, slide-out qwerty keyboard, allows easy access to Google’s range of online applications, such as Gmail and Google Maps, and comes with an open-source Android marketplace, which means that anyone with a bit of Java experience can write programmes that will run free of charge on the phone.
The G1 presents a great opportunity for entrepreneurs wanting to create mobile apps to promote their products and services. “With the iPhone, you have to wait two to three months for applications to be approved and authorised. On the G1, you can upload apps to the Android marketplace within two minutes,” explains G1 developer Tim Huckle.
Warren Bennett and David Hathiramani, co-founders of online tailor firm A Suit That Fits, admit that they’re addicted to their G1s. “I never stop checking it,” admits Hathiramani. “If I have a meeting with Warren, I can use my G1 to check if he’s even left his house yet!” The pair, who now employ 100 staff and had a record month in March with sales of £150,000, say they’d like to develop their own app, which would allow them to design suits on their phone and show customers a “mobile catalogue”.
Daniel Stock, founder of J&J Asphalt roofing company, reckons the G1 could change the way he works, too. At a recent T-Mobile focus group, he said: “My needs are pretty simple. But it would be amazing if this gadget could give me specific, accurate weather reports before I climb up a roof; alert me of road accidents in the area; and send me a congestion charge reminder.”