Consumers are often wondering how they can get the unlocked version of their favorite phone for use on their own carriers. Meanwhile, Android developers are often wondering how they can obtain an actual Android handset so they can test the applications they’re building on a real world device. Those two worlds collided today when Google announced Android’s Devices for Developers program.
The phone is technically called “Android Dev Phone 1” but in reality is just an unlocked T-Mobile G1. I like how they put a number one on the end of that, indicating that Developers should have access to future devices unlocked as well.
Lets get this straight… this device is intended for developer use only but I see know why reason that you couldn’t use this device as your actual mobile phone. Here is the description google provides:
The Android Dev Phone 1 is a SIM-unlocked and hardware-unlocked device that is designed for advanced developers. The device ships with a system image that is fully compatible with Android 1.0, so you can rely on it when developing your applications. You can use any SIM in the device and can flash custom Android builds that will work with the unlocked bootloader. Unlike the bootloader on retail devices, the bootloader on the Android Dev Phone 1 does not enforce signed system images. The Android Dev Phone 1 should also appeal to developers who live outside of T-Mobile geographies.
To purchase an Android Dev Phone 1 device, you must first register as an Android developer on the Android Market site, if you haven’t done so already. Once you’ve logged into your developer account on Android Market, you can purchase the device by clicking the “Purchase” link. To accommodate demand, there is a limit of 1 device per developer account, for now.
The device currently costs $399 (USD) (including free shipping in the US), and will be available for purchase in 18 international markets, including the US, UK, Germany, Japan, India, Canada, France, Taiwan, Spain, Australia, Singapore, Switzerland, Netherlands, Austria, Sweden, Finland, Poland, and Hungary. We will continue to expand this program into new geographies over time. Check this page for updated information.
Note that Android Dev Phone 1 devices are not intended for non-developer end users. Since the devices can be configured with system software not provided by or supported by Google or any other company, end users operate these devices at their own risk.
Each developer can only buy 1 of these devices and you must be a registered developer on the Android Market. There are no requirements to become a developer but it does cost $25 plus the $399 device cost and you’re looking at $425 for a brand new, unlocked T-Mobile G1!
Now remember, this is supposed to be used for development so we’re not suggesting you go out and do this. But if you do, let us know how it works out!
This news comes at the end of an Android Developers Blog post that laregely focuses on an updated SDK release that offers some improvements on “future proofing” the platform so developers don’t get stuck referring to static, archaic code within their apps.