HTC's been in handhelds a long time as well, and probably has enough handheld IP to make Apple think twice.
Google, on the other hand, probably doesn't have much handheld IP at all, which is probably why off-the-shelf Android doesn't do multitouch.
Full disclosure: IANAL, this is just what I read in the trade press. If any lawyers want to clear up anything here or correct it, please feel free.
This is mildly off-topic, but I just thought I'd give a heads up to some of the iPhone users in this thread-- you are almost assuredly eligible for a 15% discount on your monthly fees.
Go to the link below and try to find if one of your emails is eligible for the discount:
Basically, if you have an email address ending in .gov, .edu, work at a reasonably large company, etc., you can probably qualify. Many smaller businesses may also qualify. It's totally done by email, so even an alumni email ending in "duke.edu" will work.
My brother got the original iPhone shortly after it came out and is currently out of the plan window, but they still lowered his rate.
Ooooh just installed a "jailbroken" Google Maps Navigation on my G1 and it's pretty sweet. It's not enough to convince someone to buy a new phone, and it's probably not that much better than a normal GPS you can get from CostCo for $200. But in my mind, it is exponentially better than any map software on cellphones, and especially on a reliable network like Verizon, I would imagine street view + compass + map = awesome. I haven't tried using it in a car yet, but here are some screenshots I took at home:
Regular map mode
Overhead satellite view
Compass + Street View = where it gets fun. If there was a camera + Augmented reality mode, that would be pretty sweet, but that probably wouldn't help drivers.
Vertical view, just for the hell of it
GPS devices work off from satellites, which provide coverage anywhere.
Cell phones work off towers, which leaves vast swaths of the US unable to use this "revolutionary" new feature. And if the navigation app requires 3G coverage, that further limits where it can be used.
What good is a navigation feature based off cell phone towers, if you (heaven forbid!) find yourself outside of a city.
My phone, AT&T branded HTC Raphael, has a GPS receiver in it, and I use the Bing Mobile app for navigation. It also does turn-by-turn directioning, aerial & birds-eye views, etc.
While I can get a GPS track wherever, regardless of cell signal availability, the mobile app uses the data connection to download the maps of where the GPS says you're located. The phone, obviously, doesn't have enough memory to store a country's worth of detailed data.
So, assuming the Google nav works the same way, you can be located by GPS, but need a cell signal to view it. YMMV.
It's nowhere near as good as a dedicated GPS device, but frequently I don't have my GPS device handy, and I want GPS. And it's nice not to depend on the data signal.
So I was hanging out with an iPhone-enthusiast this past weekend and he was particularly impressed with the notifications on my Droid (although that's an Android feature, not something specific to the Droid).
If someone sends me an IM via Google talk, that IM automatically appears in the notification bar at the top of the screen. It's always on, I don't need to have the app open or even to have started it. Apparently, this isn't the case with his iPhone.
Battery life has been good with background apps running. It's about what I expected.
So has anyone picked one of these up and given it a try?
Yes, I got it the day it launched. The Android OS is much better than I expected. Let me know if you have any questions.
Some nice apps that I've been using:
Weather Widget (looks just like the SenseUI clock on the HTC phones)
Where's My Droid?
I got a Moto Droid four weeks ago, after my trusty but museum-ready Treo 650 finally had to be shot and buried by the side of the road. I had been trying to delay the inevitable in hopes that Verizon might come out with a device comparable to the iPhone, which my son finally capitulated and bought a few months ago. Fortunately, the Droid was released the very week my Treo reached the end of its road.
I'm absolutely delighted with the Droid. And having had the opportunity to compare the features of the iPhone, I wouldn't trade my Droid for one even if the iPhone suddenly became available on Verizon. The so-called "camera problem" was a temporary auto-focus glitch that is being rectified by an update being sent later this week. The video camera and music player are fabulous--my son agrees the Droid's sound and video quality clearly surpasses the iPhone--and it's quick and easy to transfer files from my laptop, especially using the software that can be quickly downloaded from the Motorola website. The GPS system is awesome--we used it extensively traveling to and around Atlanta this past weekend, since it's more current and easier to use than the nav system in my wife's car. The voice Google search function is very convenient, and there are tons of cool apps, including the Dolphin Browser that enables the same "pinch-to-zoom" multitouch capability that the iPhone offers, and the newly released Google Goggles. The wi-fi seems to work great, too, although I've yet to be anyplace where there isn't a good 3G signal with Verizon's network. Most importantly for me, however, is that it is the clearest and most reliable cell phone I've ever used.
In fairness, the physical slide-out keyboard is not as easy for typing as my Blackberry Curve (which my business provides for work use), so that takes a little acclimation--I prefer the onscreen touch keyboard for short messages. But otherwise, the only problem I've had so far is that it crashed a couple of times during the month I've had it following periods of extended use, which required rebooting by removing and reinstalling the battery (which takes only a few seconds); and the speaker audio went out briefly, but came back when I turned the device off and back on. Aside from that, it's incredibly smooth...
Is there an app that tells you of friends' apps? there is a few like that for the iPhone, and that might be a good way to figure out what is a good app, since the rating system is totally useless. here's my faves so far:
* Aldiko (e-reader)
* Astrid (tasks)
* Radiant (Galaga clone, best game for android hands down)
* Twidroid (Twitter)