Techies have known about the "gPhone" (as it has been called) for almost a year, and have been working with prototype software to create applications for it - but this is the first time a real Google Phone has been put on sale for ordinary users.
Costing from $179 (€125) with a two-year plan, the T-Mobile G1 phone has a camera, accelerometer and GPS to detect location and angles, supports 3G and slower data protocols, and can browse the web, play music, show maps and download additional applications.
As far as specifications go, it's pretty much on par with the iPhone - except that it has a keyboard, and a less minimalistically stylish interface.
But it's not the hardware that sets the gPhone and the iPhone apart, it's the underlying philosophy.
Apple's iPhone is just open enough to allow developers other than Apple to create programs for it - and no more.
Coders need to sign a strict non-disclosure agreement, and rely on Apple's seal of approval before users can even touch their applications.
Everything goes through Apple: even mobile phone providers must jump through hoops before they are allowed to support Steve Jobs's precious vision.
Google, in the same spirit as its other works, is so open as to almost seem naively idealistic."