Android Launches with Multimedia Goodies

Obviously, the big news today is T-Mobile’s launch of the first Google Android phone – on HTC hardware. From a digital media stand point, what makes the G1 ($179, available next month) interesting is the bundled software and services. The requisite audio and videos (480×320 resolution) players are present, along with YouTube and a 3 megapixel camera. While I’m not certain what percent of smartphone owners will/do make music purchases direct from a handset, the alliance has brought on Amazon to power a resident MP3 store – consisting of 6 million DRM-free tracks. (Take that, Apple!?) Presumably, desktop software will also be provided to sync these tunes up to a computer. Although the G1 incorporates a microSD slot, supporting up to 8GB of storage.

The T-Mobile G1 comes pre-loaded with an Amazon MP3 application, giving customers a phone-optimized version of the Amazon MP3 store and the immediate gratification of buying and playing their favorite music.  Downloading music from Amazon MP3 using the T-Mobile G1 requires a Wi-Fi connection but searching, browsing, listening to samples and buying MP3s can be done wherever customers are connected to the T-Mobile network. Downloaded MP3s can be played anytime on the T-Mobile G1, PCs, Macs or any other MP3 music player.

No details yet on the capabilities of the video player (codecs) or possible support for Flash web video. And I have inquiries out to Sling and HAVA regarding their potential intentions. Stay tuned…

UPDATE: I’ve heard back from Sling. While the Android platform is on their radar, I wouldn’t expect Slingbox support this year. Blackberry and iPhone clients are the current priorities.

13 thoughts on “Android Launches with Multimedia Goodies”

  1. Still trying to get confirmation of a standard 3.5mm audio jack and if the camera shoots video in addition to stills.

    Doh! Engadget confirms NO headphone jack, USB connection instead. Blah. Also, no desktop sync software is a bit puzzling – surely it’s on the way? At the very least, I’d think Amazon’s MP3 download manager would be update to support moving songs on/off the device.

  2. This phone almost appeals to me, but despite all the hype I haven’t been able to figure out what “video” support means either. Also 3 megapixels is a little bit skimpy. I don’t something that can replicate my Canon Rebel, but it would be nice to at least have a 5 megapixel camera that I could always carry around with me in case something exciting happened. Once they upgrade the camera, let me record video in h.264 and play my DivX videos, I’ll buy one in a heartbeat.

  3. Is anyone working on a non-phone device that uses Android? (ala iTouch)
    I can see a lot of functionality beside the phone that might be attractive using WiFi,WiMax, Bluetooth etc…

    If they can set up a system like Apples App Store for developers I’ll start working on an app immediately.


  4. I’m slightly interested, but have to be fairly business-centric with my phone/e-mail/text device so blackberry curve is for me. I do envy the iPhone (and possible Gphone?) web, video & music browsing though.

    I love to see the competition between google and apple though. And second the desire for a non-phone device using Android as Bill mentioned.

  5. @Bill Pytlovany

    All great questions, no solid answers until we get on the other side of T-Mobile being the Bell of the Ball.

    You are welcome to get started right away and start writing apps ( there WILL be a generic app store for Android…eventually ). If you think about it, Google App Engine is Android’s App Store…just hasn’t been christen as such and there’s no connection to Google Cart;

    So between you downloading the SDK right now and App Engine, the framework is there.

    As far as non carrier issued devices running Android – none you can go buy this afternoon no…but PLENTY in the works. ;)

  6. Todd/Bill, after playing (again) with the Nokia N810 (Maemo) this weekend I was thinking they should go for an even larger device – like a 7″ tablet. That’d be a perfect coffee table computer.

    Davis, sounds like you need a Nokia N95. 5mp camera and DivX Mobile player (which I haven’t tried). Supposedly the N96 is coming any day, maybe it’s already here? And in conflict with my original post, I’m reading video player(s) software is not bundled – initially (forever?) it’ll be third party downloads. Then again that may not be so bad if they port VLC.

    Brent, it still seems pretty rough around the edges to me. With a Blackberry SlingPlayer on the way and Slacker support, my next handset will likely be the Bold or Javelin.

  7. Yeah, I’ve looked at the N95, but its just so ugly I’ve wanted to hold out for something a little bit more polished. Also I’m not sure what the internet browsing experience is like on the N95 compared to what the iPhone is capable of. Having the ability to go Wifi or 3G on the iPhone made it really attractive, but I’m hoping that someone will copy Job’s creation, only on a more open system. Since I’ve had my last cell phone for almost five years now, I want to make sure to get the upgrade right, even if that means I’m not the first to get the latest model.

  8. Doesn’t look as polished as the iPhone from the Engadget videos, which is likely a non starter for me. And the USB headphone jack is just a stupid mistake. But then again, this won’t be the only Android phone so that can be fixed. The platform looks very good in general, and T-Mobile’s willingness to allow anything on the phone, including tethering, podcast retrieval, google email apps etc that Apple is ruling unacceptable iPod applications should create some needed competition for Apple. I’ll probably still go with the iPhone though, once my company supports it.

  9. @Glenn: HTC always uses USB headphone jacks. All of their devices have them. Personally owning two of them at the moment and multiple before, I would know.

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