Live from the Google Phone Announcement

Craig and Liz here, reporting live from the T-Mobile (s DT)/Google (s GOOG) launch of the new G1 “Google Phone” running on the new open Android platform.

If you’re antsy, here’s Om’s preview post from yesterday: Will the Google Phone Give T-Mobile USA a Boost? And our write-up of Google’s Rich Miner’s keynote at our Mobilize conference last week: Google’s Miner on Mobile: No One Party Will Be In Control.

The deets from the press conference below the jump:

Christopher Schlaffer, group product and innovation officer, Deutsche Telekom: Launching same device simultaneously on both sides of the Atlantic; opening up the mobile Internet and moving away from walled garden and closed portals. We’re committed to open industry platforms as they bring the necessary freedom to customers, developer community, and content providers.

Andy Rubin, senior director of mobile platforms, Google: Because the platform is open, it’s “future-proof.”

Peter Chou, CEO, HTC: An Internet experience that people can really use and enjoy. Unique, iconic design unlike anything else in the market, that will maximize mobile Internet experience. “Cool, rotating keyboard.”

Cole Brodman, chief technology and innovation officer, T-Mobile USA: Why did we invest in this platform? Mobile broadband networks have been out for years now, but compelling devices and applications have been lacking. Mobile Internet lags at a dismal 16 percent in the U.S. No more rumors, no more unsubstantiated blog posts…here it is. (video of interface, showing pictures, media, email, etc.) (now everyone is crowding in on top of the execs for a photo opp.)

Now an actual demo video: Touch screen, swipe across to get more screen real estate (as if your monitor is too small for your desktop), “long press” to talk. One-click ordering on Amazon. Multitasking — alerts come in over other applications. Pull down the “window shade” to see a text message, for example. Click on an address in contacts, automatically goes to Google maps. (Aside: Ukelele music in the background of the video is kind of weird.)

In “compass mode,” street view maps scene moves as you do. Now showing zooming within a big Facebook page to get to part you’re interested in. Search has dedicated button on the keyboard. Search means “address search” when you’re in address book, or web search if you’re on a web page. Can send an email directly from the browser linking to the page you’re on. Android Market for applications — example is PAC-Man by Namco.

Android developer community: Now video of programmers talking about how open source is great. It will lead to “a continuous stream of innovation.” Some guy makes a joke about how they shouldn’t talk about how they’re making specific tailored applications to make things more secure. (Aside: That was hokey.)

Now introducing developers of an app to track your carbon footprint. Called “Eco-Rio”? App to use phone as barcode scanner and get comparative pricing back. Called Shop Savvy.

Pricing and release: $179. Starting today existing T-Mobile customers can order them in limited quantity over the Internet. Commercial launch date is October 22. At T-Mobile stores and third-party dealers. $25 for unlimited web and some messaging. $35 unlimited everything.

Implications for T-Mobile: Broadband rollout. HSPCA launch will be live in 22 markets by G1 launch, will be out for 80 percent of markets by Q1.

Europe launch: Will be in UK early November, across Europe in first quarter 2009.

Google: Will open source entire platform at launch in October. “We think we have the body here, but the long tail of course is the part that’s interesting.”

Audience questions.

Tethered modem? No, will be mobile device not tethered modem.

Data plan includes voice? No, need to buy that too.

Any support for Microsoft products? Can read Word docs, Excel docs, Exchange compatibility is opportunity for third-party developer.

SIM-locked? Will be SIM-locked to T-Mobile as it rolls out.

Push email? Gmail is push.

Will there be desktop application for syncing? No, synchronization will happen in background with device.

Will it be available outside markets with 3G? Yes, but not as good. Will also have Wi-Fi for better experience there.

Will it get unlocked like iPhone? No guarantees. Won’t say the word iPhone (“the device you mentioned”)

Marketing? Integrated plan by T-Mobile and Google. Starting in October will be biggest marketing plan T-Mobile has ever launched for a mobile device. No comment on specifics of relationship with Google.

App support? Device syncs very well to Google services, supports Microsoft, AOL, Yahoo IM.

Bluetooth? Supports headsets. We’ll get to A2DP.

Chrome browser? Uses Webkit, of the same base as Chrome. Chrome is for PC and this is for mobile. You can think of it as Chrome Lite.

Who is target customer? More consumer than enterprise.

Note: Google Talk presence will show up in contacts list on your phone.

Supports iTunes? Yes but not DRM content.

Skype support? Not at this point.

International support? Yes.

More hokiness: Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page come in on rollerblades, say they had to rush in from Google Transit launch. Brin says he likes this cause he’s “a bit of a geek.” Page is wearing a sport coat but Brin is breathing like he was actually rollerblading. Brin says he wrote an app for when you throw phone in the air, measures how much time before it stops using the accelerometer. But they’re not shipping with that. Page says he really enjoys using it. 3 billion mobile phones, about a billion new ones every year. This is as good computer as you had a few years ago. But speed difference between searching on a phone and a laptop is pretty big, hard to bring your laptop everywhere especially if you’re rollerblading. This is really a big element of this, having computer-like functionality on the phone.