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.