FAQ: What T-Mobile’s new G1 phone will do for you

Editor’s Note: The following article is reprinted from PCWorld.com.

After months of hype, the first Android phone is finally here. T-Mobile unveiled its Google-powered G1 phone Tuesday morning, putting an end to all the speculation.

You don’t have to dig through all the specs and in-depth announcements, though—we’ve broken down all the biggest questions and answers for you right here. Read on and get the information you need.

When’s the G1 going to be available?

The T-Mobile G1 will be in T-Mobile stores and “selected retailers” in the U.S. on October 22. Existing T-Mobile customers will soon be able to pre-order the phone online. The G1 will launch in the U.K. in early November and throughout Europe in the first quarter of 2009.

How much will it cost?

The G1 is actually a little lower than what had previously been rumored. Pricing will start at $179 with a two-year T-Mobile contract.

How much are the data plans?

T-Mobile is offering two data plan options: a $25/month plan, which includes unlimited Internet usage and limited messaging, or a $35/month plan that upgrades to unlimited messaging. You have to sign up for one of T-Mobile’s voice plans as well.

What’s the deal with 3G coverage?

T-Mobile says its third-generation 3G network will be live in 22 markets by the time the G1 launches. That will include all major metropolitan areas and encompass 80 percent of the projected consumer base. The G1 phone will be available in areas not covered by 3G, as the phone also supports T-Mobile’s EDGEnetwork.

Does the phone work with WiFi?

Yes, the T-Mobile G1 will work over Wi-Fi connections.

What kind of navigation system does the G1 have?

The T-Mobile G1 features an iPhone-like touchscreen that lets you swipe across to navigate through menus and long-press to open options or drag-and-drop files. It also has a pull-out QWERTY keyboard and a navigation trackball.

What music options are built into the phone?

The G1 comes with integrated Amazon MP3 functionality, letting you surf through the site’s music store and do one-click ordering. Its default music player has options to search for related material on services such as Google or YouTube while a song is playing. Of course, a third-party app could ultimately replace that player if you so chose.

What instant messaging options are offered?

This first Android phone has Google Talk built into the platform and also supports AOL, Yahoo Messenger, and Windows Live Messenger.

Will the G1 function as a tethered modem?

The team indicates the G1 will not have tethering functionality as of now.

What about Microsoft program compatibility?

As of now, the Android platform offers support for Word and Excel documents, but not Exchange integration (enterprise e-mail). The Google team, however, indicated that third-party developers will likely create applications for these purposes in the near future.

What browser comes with the system?

Android’s default browser is an open-source browser (WebKit) based on the same foundation as Chrome, though it is not branded as such. Engineers describe it as a Chrome-like program that’s optimized for the small screen.

Will the G1 will limited to T-Mobile?

As of now, T-Mobile says the G1 will be SIM-locked to its network.

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