Christopher Laddise of San Francisco on Tuesday became the very first private owner of a T-Mobile G1, unwrapping the first smartphone running Google’s open-source Android software platform to wild applause at a special pre-launch event in the City by the Bay.T-Mobile, headquartered in Bellevue, Wash., will officially launch the G1 at its retail stores in 95 cities across the United States Wednesday, many of which will open early at 8 a.m. for the release of the $179 handset, and as many as 1.5 million existing T-Mobile customers have reportedly pre-ordered the devices. But for one night only, a couple hundred customers who lined up outside the telecom provider’s store at Market and 3rd streets in downtown San Francisco had the 3G-enabled smartphone all to themselves.
The T-Mobile G1 is available with a two-year voice and data agreement. Support for Web-based services from Mountain View, Calif.-based Google includes popular apps like Gmail and Google Maps, and the G1’s full HTML Web browser is already winning rave reviews. In addition to T-Mobile’s 3G network, the G1 has built-in support for the telecom’s Edge network, as well as WiFi and GPS. The new smartphone, 4.6 inches by 0.6 inches and weighing 5.6 ounces, has a 3.2-inch HVGA touchscreen but also sports a QWERTY keyboard, unlike the iPhone. It featurs a 3.2 megapixel camera and a microSD card slot.