One million is a benchmark that is a pretty big deal. In the music industry it was the number of records that needed to be sold to reach Platinum status (Gold was a mere 500,000 copies), and everyone wants to have a million dollars.
Well, the folks at Google have a lot more money than that thanks to the Google Android operating system, which only debuted on the mobile platform last fall with the T-Mobile G1. But already the phone has reached its one-millionth customer. Yes, on the one hand that number still trails the iPhone, and it will take a lot more millions to reach the adoption of the BlackBerry, but what is worth noting is that this was done – much like the iPhone – with pretty much a single platform. And unlike the iPhone, there will soon be other Google Android handsets on the market.
This week Samsung unveiled the i7500, its first “Google phone.” This Google Android-powered phone will support HSDPA on the 900, 1700 and 2100 Mhz bands. At the present time T-Mobile is the only major carrier to offer support for the HSDPA 1700 band, so maybe T-Mobile is trying to corner the market on the Android.
Other key features of the i7500:
- 3.2 inch, 320×480 AMOLED touch screen
- Wi-Fi enabled
- 8GB of internal memory, as well as memory card slot
- 5 megapixel digital camera
AMOLED, or Active Maxtrix Organic Light-Emitting Diode, is still just an emerging display technology for mobile devices, but it is noted for providing an extremely bright display with very sharp images even in conditions where other handsets have trouble. While it might not allow you to watch videos while you’re sitting on a beach, the AMOLED should easily allow you to IM the office while you’re out on the street. Notably missing from the i7500, however, is a flip open QWERTY keyboard – ala the T-Mobile G1 – so users will have to rely on the virtual keyboard on the touch screen. Here again is where the bright AMOLED screen really comes in handy.
While unveiled, Samsung left out the most important part, namely availability of the i7500. This is actually only the third phone on deck that uses the Google Android OS – in addition to the G1 there is also the HTC Dream, which was released by Vodafone for the European market. And like the Dream, the i7500 is just something to fantasize about if you’re an American mobile user. While the handset could arrive in Europe by June, no release date for North America has been announced.
Android Update Coming Soon
Not only do the Europeans get all the cool tourist destinations and handsets that never make it to North America, but now the Google Android update is heading to Europe first. The Android version 1.5, which adds improved on-screen keyboard support along with new widgets, video recording, and even stereo Bluetooth will be releases for T-Mobile Germany users in the coming weeks. We’ll be watching to see if these improvements – notably that on-screen keyboard – will make it to North America.
But as the aforementioned i7500 lacks a flip open QWERTY keyboard, this suggests that maybe good things will come to those who wait.
Rumors & Releases: Samsung SGH-t349
In non-Google Android news, T-Mobile is hedging its bets with a new candy bar mobile phone. The SGH-t349, which has a name that sounds like the latest machine gun for Special Forces or the moniker of a Star Wars battle droid, is designed to be a phone for heavy text messengers, and it will be available next month for prepaid and post-paid customers. The SGH-t349 will offer several noteworthy features, including a 20-key hybrid QWERTY keypad and 1.3 megapixel camera with video capture.