Android's Rubin: We Don't Get a Second Chance to Make a First Impression

Google's first Android OS-based phone is expected to be formally announced next week -- an HTC phone (Dream) on T-Mobile's network. Google's Andy Rubin, one of Android's co-creators, is feeling opening-day jitters. Reuters interviews Rubin:

"We're in the final stages and having lots of sleepless nights," he said in an interview. "We're very happy with the results," said Rubin, who worked previously at Apple and a number of Silicon Valley start-ups . . .

After two years of speculation, Google is under pressure to deliver a product sufficiently different from Apple's iPhone and the myriad copycats that have appeared since it was introduced last year . . . Rubin said Google chose to "put our blinders on" and make sure the first phones impress consumers.

"If we come out with a dud, people will go, 'Well, that was a waste of time," said Rubin. . . Google has worked almost exclusively with Taiwan's High Tech Computer Corp (HTC) and T-Mobile for the first Android phone, he said.

I'm not sure that Google gets only one shot to make a first impression. Apple's iPhone 1.0 was great but had weaknesses. That device has been improved several times with hardware and software upgrades. However, the press and mobile analysts will certainly pronouce judgment on the first Android device, which is probably impressive but will likely leave room for improvement.

BlackBerry is the dominant smartphone in the US market and is rapidly improving, under pressure from Apple. But Apple's decision to go with an exclusive carrier relationship has probably limited its market potential. Those unwilling to switch to AT&T (and not on BlackBerry, which has limited consumer appeal) would probably welcome a new, consumer-friendly device with capabilities and software comparable to the iPhone.

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Here's more from the Wall Street Journal, which says the phone will actually go on sale in October.