Daily Debrief: Putting the first Android smartphone under the magnifying glass
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>> Welcome to the CNET News Daily Debrief. I'm Charlie Cooper here with CNET Review's Kent German. The first Android smartphone is finally on the marketplace. It seems like we've been waiting forever. But it's here. You've had a chance to run it through its paces. Initial impressions?
>> Mm-hmm. Initial impressions are I think it has a lot of potential. And I'm real excited about it. It's certainly not the sexiest device around. We did take it out of the box, and we kind of said, "Ha. Hmm." Not the prettiest. Not the slickest. You know, certainly the iPhone has sort of set the standard for the slick, kind of flashy touchscreen device. But I think this device has a lot of potential for what -- really, what it offers and what it can bring to the market place. First, change in the cell phone world having a lot of people.
>> A short list of the things that you liked versus the things that you weren't so wild about.
>> Well, I did like the touchscreen, actually. I think that the device goes a long way toward making a great touchscreen. We've seen other devices, like the Samsung Instinct, the LG Dare, they have good touchscreens, but really the iPhone has been a lot better, a little more responsive, a little more intuitive. This touchscreen's pretty good. I really like it. I like the physical keyboard. I'm a big fan of that. I'm not a big fan of the onscreen keyboard in a lot of ways. I like having buttons. That's just a personal thing. I like the -- like the interface, like the menu, and has some good features. It has definitely some -- you know, it has the camera and has the GPS and has all the things you want there. Lacks in the important things, like the stereo Bluetooth that the iPhone supports, or that also lacks, and lacks full exchange support right now, so that will probably come with apps and maybe third party applications, but right now it is lacking some things as well.
>> Well, let's talk about the app angle. As far as an Android, or a potential Android developer, what's in it for programmers?
>> Well, I think the opportunity there is really -- seems like it's not a lot of restrictions on this app store. As Google explained to me, well, you do have to apply. You have to agree to a service agreement.
>> This is the Android market.
>> Oh, I'm sorry, this is the Android apps market, yeah.
>> And sort of, once you're in, it seems like you're in. You can build apps. And Google, of course, is hoping that people bring a lot of apps, they just don't bring one. But you don't need to apply and say, "Well, here's my app." And they don't review the app, and then they say, "Okay, we will accept you." You can apply without having anything in the tank, and they'll let you do it. Once the app is in the store, or in the marketplace, it won't be removed unless it's flagged by -- as inappropriate by the user community. So it's really user community driven in that sense. Then Google says, at least now they tell me, they will not remove it unless it's malicious. So I think that 's really -- that sounds really cool because it sounds like there's a lot of freedom to it. It's really user-driven. And we've now -- well, we're seeing with Apple a little bit, they put a little clamp on that store, and they say, "Well, we like what we like, and we don't what we don't like." You know, "We don't like what we don't like, and we'll kick you out if we don't like it." So --
>> Yeah, it is Apple, after all. But I mean in the end it may come down in this battle for hearts and minds as to which platform will emerge triumphant, those that make nicest to the developer community.
>> Mm-hmm. Yeah, I think that's really the case. It seems like Google's giving them a lot of freedom and really trying to drive a lot of people to just get involved in that. And that's a good thing.
>> Did they talk at all about the revenue split, revenue share from that -- from the application?
>> Yes. That's not something I discussed with them. I know that there was a story today that we have on News.com. But I think that they'll get him 77 percent of the -- the developers are getting, maybe, 77 percent of the revenue. I don't know that for sure, but I know that was discussed today.
>> And this comes, of course, on the heels of Apple's earnings yesterday, in which they announced 6.9 million iPhones were shipped in the third quarter.
>> Which is remarkable --
>> -- by any stretch. Is it reasonable to assume that the Android smartphone will reach that level of popularity that quickly?
>> It could. It will depend on its level of penetration. You know, right now this is one device. We're gonna see a lot more Android devices. But the iPhone is one the largest carriers in the US. Right now, is the G1 is one the smallest carriers in the US, the smallest major carrier at least. If it rolls out to more carriers, more devices, and we have a real broad range of devices, how they look, how they feel. We get it in more carriers. We get in more areas of the country, and T-Mobile is good about expanding their 3G network and really make -- really make good use of the phone, then it could be. But right now it is -- there are some limitations in the fact that it doesn't have a great penetration on it.
>> Great stuff, thanks Kent. On behalf of CNET News, I'm Charlie Cooper.
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