It looks like the folks at Google are listening and they’ve taken a big step which will help a number of developers get at least one Android powered device to work with.
Yesterday Dan Morill announced a new version of the SDK with a link to the android blog, what he didn’t mention is that the blog post also reveals that Google have created a programme for developers which allows they to get what is basically an unlocked T-Mobile G1.
The Android Dev Phone 1 as they’re calling it will initially be available to developers in the following countries; US, UK, Germany, Japan, India, Canada, France, Taiwan, Spain, Australia, Singapore, Switzerland, Netherlands, Austria, Sweden, Finland, Poland, and Hungary. Google are looking to add to that list as and when it’s possible.
This is a great move and one worthy of praise, because it will truly kick start development in those countries by providing them with access to an “official” Android device.
The only people I can see losing out because of this will be those making ‘phones for those regions where T-Mobile aren’t providing the G1 (such as Koogan providing their Agora, and Koolu putting Android on a Openmoko Freerunner) where developers were buying these ‘phones to get their hands on some hardware running Android. It should also be made clear that Google is not trying to steal Koogan, Koolu, or anyone elses market entirely because the Android Dev Phone 1 will only be available to developers registered with Android Marketplace, and won’t be on sale to end consumers.
Now here’s hoping that the next big step is API equality for all apps to address my other big gripe with the Android strategy at the moment.