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It was almost two years ago that I got my hands on a G1, the first cellphone that used Google’s Android operating system. Now, a couple of hundred thousand Android phones are being activated a day.

T-Mobile hopes to reignite some of the excitement from those early days by launching the T-Mobile G2 Android phone later this month. The company just took the wraps off the HTC-built cell phone, which uses the Android 2.2 software and a Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM7230 microprocessor running at 800 megahertz. The device, pictured right, is reminiscent of the original G1 (pictured below), which also had a slide-out QWERTY keyboard.

It’s interesting to compare the G2 to the G1, to mark the progress of technology. This phone has a 3.7-inch touchscreen, which is likely much more responsive than the single-touch 3.2-inch touchscreen on the original. It has a 5-megapixel camera with a flash and 720 high-definition video recording, 4G connectivity using T-Mobile’s new HSPA+network2 (for faster data connection speeds), a Swype keyboard, and 4 gigabytes of internal memory with an 8 gigabyte microSD memory card.

T-Mobile humbly notes that it ignited the spark that set the Android world ablaze two years ago. Now, with the launch of the G2, the company is returning to its original partners Google and HTC to launch a true 4G phone, said Cole Brodman, chief technology and innovation officer at T-Mobile USA.

Andy Rubin, vice president of engineering at Google and the creator of the Android business, noted that there are now 80,000 Android apps, compared to just 50 at the launch two years ago. This new phone will be faster at loading web sites, running apps, playing videos, downloading files and more. It has seven customizable home screen panels, including a dedicated panel with one-click access to your favorite Google apps. The phone is tightly integrated with Google Voice (which transcribes voice mails to text)), Google Goggles (object recognition) and Voice Actions (which allows you to control your phone with your voice).

The phone will be available exclusively in the U.S. from T-Mobile in the coming weeks.

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