Google G1 Phone announced

The Google G1 phone is now available for pre-order on the T-Mobile network for $179.99. You may be able to get your hands on one as early as Oct 22.

So what can you expect in the HTC handset running Android, the Google-sponsored mobile OS? For starters, a touch screen, a slide-out screen that reveals a full QWERTY keyboard, a screen that displays in both landscape and portrait modes, a 3 Megapixel camera,  3G network and Wi-Fi access.

The G1 will come with a number of apps built-in, yes, all centered around Google applications, such as Gmail, Google Maps, YouTube, Calendar, Google Talk. It will also thankfully have an IM application that is multi-platform.

Google has also already announced the Android Market which is analogous  to the iPhone Store, where you can download and/or buy apps for your Android-based phone.

It remains to be seen how successful Google will be with their handsets in terms of open sourcing the whole Android platform. My suspicion is yes they will, and I won’t be surprised if Apple ends up doing something similar with the iPhone OS within a year. After all, if both Google and Nokia/Symbian are running open source systems and have significant market share because of it, well… you can figure out the rest.