I feel it in my fingers: The G1 has cheaper parts than the iPhone

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A tear-down of the T-Mobile G1, its Android-powered phone, reveals that its components are cheaper than the iPhone’s, according to component analysts iSuppli. To anyone who has used both devices, that should be no surprise.

While the iPhone 3G contains $172 worth of parts, the G1′s parts are worth only $143. Despite this $29 difference, T-Mobile sells the G1 for only $20 less than the iPhone ($179 versus $199 after subsidization). Though it explains how Wal-mart, which recently started selling the G1, can offer it for only $149.

The most expensive single component of the G1 is its ARM processor, which costs $28.49. Other than that, its touch-screen (which unlike the iPhone’s screen is not multi-touch enabled) costs $19.67 and its 3 megapixel camera (the iPhone’s camera is only 2 megapixels) is $12.13. The G1′s camera also features auto focus, while the iPhone’s does not.

While I own an iPhone 3G, I’ve been testing a G1 for about the past week. The difference in quality is pretty apparent — much more so than a $29 difference. The G1 just feels kind of “plastic-y” compared to the iPhone 3G which is solid. Part is this is no doubt due to the fact that the G1 has a flip-out screen, while the iPhone is a single, solid device.

I’ve already made it clear that I hate the keyboard on the G1, but the other buttons on the device are nothing to write home about either. Incredibly, with only one main physical button, the iPhone seems more functional than the G1 which has several buttons. The G1 definitely does have a nicer camera though and overall the system and the applications feel very responsive. Apps on the iPhone quite often lag.

The G1 is just the first of many phones that will be built on Google’s Android platform. It’ll be interesting to see how the system stands up to the iPhone on higher-end phones.

[photo: flickr/jonathansin]


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