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Monday, 13 October 2008 21:58

Google Android phone goes gangbusters on pre-orders

In terms of pre-orders which are now totalling 1.5 million, Google's first Android G1 gPhone is certainly hitting the gSpot, while reports say South Africa will also get the gPhone in 2009.

The UK's Telegraph newspaper is reporting that US telco T-Mobile has "sold out of its initial US allocation of G1 handsets" on a pre-order basis, because they're not going on sale for at least another week!

This apparently caused T-Mobile to triple its order with Taiwanese manufacturer High Tech Comptuer (HTC), and this is supposed to mean 1.5 million gPhones have been pre-ordered, with more stock on the way for retail store sales.

T-Mobile has made an Android emulator available for consumers to try out, and while the "emulator" is mostly an interactive canned demo, it's still quite impressive and iPhone-esque.

Unlike the iPhone, the G1 Android has a trackball and slide-out QWERTY keyboard, as well as being touch sensitive.

However just like the iPhone 3G, the G1 gPhone has no front mounted video camera for video calls, something US consumers don't have available despite the rest of the world enjoying video calls for years now.

The G1 certainly is an excellent first version of the Google phone OS, and with the promise of "compass mode" Street View, which for now seems to be a gPhone exclusive, along with Gmail, Google Search, YouTube and a host of other apps, it's easy to see why the gPhone is so hot right now.

Add to that a third-party "app store" with no restrictions, unlike Apple's iPhone App Store, and developer interest is very high, withe G1 phone set to land in US consumers' hands from October 22 onwards.

Consumers in the UK will get the phone from November this year, while South Africa has just had a 2009 launch date confirmed.

Australians haven't had any such launch date confirmation luck as yet but I'm hoping for a 2009 launch, too.

Clearly the gPhone has to sell in big numbers to show it can challenge existing competitors and get that all important developer and consumer support, but with figures like these, it's definitely looking good for Google!

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

Alex Zaharov-Reutt is iTWire's Technology Editor is one of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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