Android developers, start your engines: Google unlocks the G1

All I keep hearing about is how great Google’s Android platform is. Wait, let me rephrase. All I keep hearing about is how great Google’s Android platform will be. I say that because it’s not great yet. Developers simply haven’t embraced it enough. But Google has just taken an important step towards making sure they will: It has unlocked the first Android phone, the G1.

Technically known as the Android Dev Phone 1, the unlocked G1 is a SIM and hardware unlocked device meant for developers. Because it’s completely unlocked, you’ll be able to use it on any network that will support it (aside from just T-Mobile’s). It also means you’ll be able to create any kind of application you want on the device using all of the G1’s hardware in any way imaginable.

Perhaps best of all, this Android Dev Phone 1 is only $399 (cheaper than the original iPhone) — though there is a $25 registration fee, as the blog AndroidGuys notes. Still, a very good deal.

It’s interesting that Google more or less hid this news at the bottom of a post about the release of the Android 1.0 SDK, release 2. After a couple of paragraphs going over what are mostly bug fixes, Google notes on the Android Developers Blog:

Second, many of you have asked if developer devices will be available. We’ve worked with our partners to create a program for developers to purchase devices that enable them to test and debug applications more easily.

Bingo. This, along with the upcoming paid apps in the Android Marketplace and the many more phones coming out next year running Android should help raise the number of apps for the platform from a puny 462, to something that can at least be mentioned in the same breath as the iPhone’s 10,000 plus apps.

[photo: flickr/dodge challenger1]


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