Ever since Google announced the Android mobile operating system, fans have been lured by the promise of an open and accessible handset that they had full control over. This was one of the biggest disappointments that open source developers had with the release of the T-Mobile G1.
Now things are starting to chain. Google has announced the availability of completely unlocked G1 devices for Android developers on the Android Developers blog. Since there is no carrier subsidy and no 2-year contract attached, the devices go for the slightly hefty sum of $399 plus a $25 developer registration fee. However, the device is everything that the T-Mobile version is not.
For starters the developer version of the G1 is carrier-unlocked. That means that you can use it with any GSM SIM card from any carrier around the world. But that’s only the beginning.
Android devices that are attached to T-Mobile have a software encryption lock on the OS image. They also have the bootloader locked down as well as root access to the device. The developer G1s eliminate all of these restrictions completely.
This means that soon enough we could see custom Android installs being released both for the G1 and for basically any other device. Android uses Linux drivers, so we could see Android images popping up for any and every phone that currently runs Linux. It also means that we could start seeing custom interfaces for Android.
So yeah, it’s a little pricey. And it may not be necessary unless you really want to work on core Android issues. However it’s an important benchmark in terms of making Android more open, delivering on Google’s promise to the open source community, and shifting control over our phones from the carriers into our hands.Similar Stories:
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