While a great many of us were disappointed by the unveiling of the G1, having had our hopes dashed by the lack of gasp-inducing sexiness we so anxiously anticipated, there's still plenty to be excited about. I'd say Android's potential to blow the mobile industry up with shocking features is just as great as that of the iPhone. I hate to make the comparison, but it's been floating around the Internets for some time now, and the "duel" is unlikely to be ignored by the mainstream media. I don't like the term ?iPhone killer,? or any other "[insert-successful-product-here] killer" title for that matter. However, last Tuesday was a rare opportunity for Google and HTC to make a triumphant splash that could have caused the iPhone to wobble a bit upon its coveted perch. Regardless, the chance of a mind-blowing, love-at-first-unobscured-sight introduction to Android still looms on the horizon. I think we can expect a few industry-changing creations to originate from within Android. And really, that's what the G1 is about. It's all in the software.
Aesthetic issues aside, the G1has some nifty features that facilitate Android's abilities. Case in point: Radar mode. Many of us have seen the demonstrations of the G1 being moved about in a space, with the motion tracked and reflected in Google Maps street view; giving the user the experience of being present in the represented location. Cool gimmick, eh? But the compass has a purpose beyond novelty. Working in concert, GPS, accelerometers and a compass become... a freaking homing device! Constantly forgetting where you left your car? No problem, Use GPS to mark it on a map when you park, and your phone will guide you back after dinner - not with spoken, sometimes inconvenient directions, but with an actual radar screen that pinpoints where you stand and where your car is; all the while monitoring your direction of travel in relation to the endpoint.
Here's a video from the Android Developer's YouTube channel showcasing radar mode in all it's glory. Oh, it's prefaced by a couple of minutes of touting Android as the ultimate comparative shopper's sidekick. It's worth watching the whole clip.
Things are heating up, and with an open platform, we won't need to wait a year for things to get hotter. It doesn't hurt that Google is offering $10 mil for the developers who can rock our socks the hardest. Personally, I'm hoping that some enterprising young coder will use unique GPS IDs to create a proximately sensor application that plots a user's friends and enemies on the radar screen. Audio/vibration feedback is presumed. The purpose is obvious: epic paint ball and water gun combat. I'm sure others will ponder more useful, productive, and boring applications... like meeting for lunch or something. Whatever is around the bend, it's sure to be interesting. I expect the open nature of Android, along with Google's generous offer, will inspire the innovation, spirit and productivity that we've seen with each Google Summer of Code. In other words, the brilliant apps will be coming, in droves.
I'm starting to recover from the anticlimactic introduction of the G1. A name like Google commands respect, and they've done so much to astound us in the past; I'm sure they will do the same via Android. The exterior of the G1 just isn't the show-stopper that I hope the software (and hardware) deserves. It's like the homely girl next door who has an encyclopedic knowledge of your favorite band, and answers your questions before you finish asking them: it's impossible to deny the attraction, she just happens to be a bit modest and frugal when it comes to clothing. Still, The more I get to know her, the more I want to know. (No more hokey analogies, promise.)