Google takes on mobile market with iPhone rival

Google will make its highly anticipated entrance into the mobile phone market with the launch of the G1, the first mobile device to use its Android operating system.

At a press conference in New York tomorrow, Google will launch the G1, made by Taiwan mobile phone manufacturer HTC and available exclusively on the T-Mobile network.

The phone is expected to cost about $199 (£108), or as much as Apple's 8GB iPhone. It could hit UK shelves by early December, ensuring a fierce mobile phone war before the lucrative Christmas season.

The hype surrounding the phone comes from what lies inside -- Google's Android operating system -- which will run Google's wide range of web applications such as Google Maps, Gmail and Google's newest brainchild, the Chrome browser. It will essentially enable millions of mobile phone users uncompromised internet access.

Furthermore, Android's "open source" platform means that anyone will be able to create applications to use and personalise their phone. These applications will be available for download anywhere on the web, unlike Apple's iPhone, which requires users to download applications through the iTunes store.

Since Apple began offering downloadable applications for the iPhone in July, over 3,000 have been created totalling over 100m downloads.

The G1 will feature a touchscreen, much like the iPhone, a slide-out "Qwerty" keyboard and camera, and may also include a GPS chip to boost its maps application.

Reactions from internet users and bloggers have been mixed but mostly positive.

Commenter Bhasker Raj on a New York Times blog about Android said: "Google always has something new up its sleeve to surprise everyone in the industry. Long live Google."

HTC expects to ship between 600,000 and 700,000 units of the new phone this year, however analysts have reduced that figure to 300,000 and 500,000.

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