The first device to run on the Android platform - the HTC-manufactured T-mobile G1 has officially started shipping today in the US. T-Mobile customers that have pre-ordered the most anticipated handset of the season (okay, that and the Nokia 5800 XpressMusic) should be seeing more of it pretty soon. The UK branch of T-Mobile is the next to make its subscribers happy.
The UK customers are expected to receive the units of the Google-inside-QWERTY-outside G1 as early as the end of this month. The phone will initially be only available on a contract with T-mobile, much like in the US.
Availability across T-Mobile's European markets (Germany, Austria, Czech Republic and the Netherlands) is to follow at the beginning of next year. There is no information just yet at what point (if at all) a SIM-free version will become available.
Meanwhile the media embargo was lifted and quite a lot of G1 reviews saw daylight today. It does look a bit better on those live photos than it used to on the product shots but still qualifies as one of the worst looking handsets we have ever seen.
You can check out some of the reviews to have your G1 questions answered.
In case you need a quick memory refresh here is what the G1 specs sheet was mostly about. The handset sports a 3.2-inch display touchscreen display, QWERTY keyboard, quad-band GSM/EDGE and dual-band UMTS (with HSPDA) support, GPS, Wi-Fi and a built-in accelerometer. The 3 megapixel autofocus camera won't support video recording and the Bluetooth support will be limited to mono headset use only (no stereo and no file transfers). While promises for enhancing the Bluetooth functionality have been made we are somewhat skeptical about it happening soon.