For now, the HTC Dream is still just a dream

As the hype of the Google Phone ramps up, we ask if its open platform philosophy is enough to bring its competitors down.

News broke Monday that the FCC has finally given its seal of approval to the HTC Dream handset , which is purported to be the first cell phone to carry Android, Google's open platform for mobile handsets.

It appears that the HTC Dream will feature Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and a "jogball"-type navigation toggle (similar to the trackball on the BlackBerry Pearl). There are even indications that it will support WCDMA 1700, T-Mobile's new 3G band.

Is the HTC Dream just a dream? Google

Of course, the promise of the Android handset lies in its open platform. Earlier Monday, Google finally announced the first beta version of the Android SDK , which could send developers in a frenzy to develop applications in time for the Dream's release (which is purported to be some time in November, though there are rumors that it might debut as early as October).

But all of this still seems a bit pie in the sky. After almost a year of talk about the Google Phone, all we have are FCC sketches, prototype models , and demo screenshots of potential Android applications .

I understand it takes a long time for a product to come to fruition, but I'm afraid that by the time the Dream comes to market, it'll already be yesterday's news. Since it will face stiff competition by the likes of the iPhone 3G and the upcoming BlackBerry Bold, I think the HTC Dream will really have to pull out all the stops to compete on the same level.

So I pulled up my Google phone wishlist from November of last year . My list of must-have features were:

1) An easy-to-use operating system
2) Third-party application support
3) Select applications like a full HTML browser, POP e-mail, and a VoIP client
4) 3G and Wi-Fi
5) Full Bluetooth support that includes data tethering

It does sound like the Android OS will be close in fulfilling all five of my criteria, but even then, will the actual HTC Dream be a good phone? Will it be easy to use? Will the Android platform translate well to different kinds of hardware? And most importantly, will the applications be any good? There are more questions than answers right now, and I'm left feeling more skeptical than ever.

What do you, as early adopters and regular consumers, think of the Android OS and the HTC Dream? Do you think it will make a dent in the iPhone/BlackBerry/Windows Mobile arena? What do you want the HTC Dream to have in terms of design and features? Let us know in the comments below.

 

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