Google’s First Phone: The iPhone With More Buttons

The G1, which is primarily being offered exclusively through T-Mobile in the United States and Europe, has many more buttons on the front and many more choices on the screens inside. That means that it takes longer to do the things you want to do most frequently, but you also have many more options at hand.

Physically, it is a little narrower than the iPhone, but thicker. That means the screen is a bit smaller. The biggest differentiator is the G1’s slide-out keyboard, some might find easier to type on than the iPhone’s virtual keyboard.

One area where the G1 falls short of the iPhone is streaming media. The software supports neither Adobe’s Flash nor Apple’s QuickTime. Google did write a special interface so the phone can play videos from Google’s YouTube service.

For now, it seems like a very interesting phone for people who really want to type on a little keyboard. But until the value of Android’s slightly clunky flexibility proves out, I suspect many people will prefer the polished simplicity of the iPhone.