Google's G1 Android handset to be free in UK. Look out iPhone.

TechCrunch has been “double-live blogging” (oh yes) the T-Mobile / Google Android handset press launch, and here’s a handy summary of what was said.

If you’re pressed for time, here’s the skinny: It launches in the UK in early November and the rest of Europe 2009. The handset will be free on price plans from £40 a month (no news on pays as you go), which will make it competitve with the iPhone on pricing, which is “free” for a £45 a month tariff from O2. You can pre-register with T-Mobile here

Cole Brodman CTO and CIO for T-Mobile talked about the “New mobile Internet of the future.” Others present at the launch in New York were Andy Rubin, Senior Director of Mobile Platforms for Google and Christopher Schlaffer. Peter Chou, CEO HTC was there. HTC makes the G1.

Expect the G1 to have a “Superior user experience.” T-Mobile’s Web and Walk tarrif saw a 250% increase in internet traffic and it was a founding member of the open handset alliance, (and that was without the iPhone), they say.

Rubin: “With Android we are bringing some of those [Internet] strategies to the mobile phone. Developers will be able to develop on it and also to modify it. Because it is open, it is somewhat future proof.” Peter Chou, CEO of HTC said it was a “tremendous effort” to make this Open Handset Alliance/Android possible.

In the US the G1 Phone will be $179 – very cheap for a smart phone – and will be launched on October 22.

The G1 has a touch-screen interface and a Sidekick-like keyboard, which will really set it apart from the iPhone.

With video you can swipe, frame and crop a photo to the homescreen (just like the iPhone!). Street view and google maps look great. Compass (GPS) mode moves as you move. Comes with Google Talk, Google Maps with directions and traffic view, street view with landmarks. Facebook looks good in the Webkit browser. The Music player has advanced features. The Android Market wil be an app store for games and apps (Pac Man!). It has a dedicated search button on keyboard, which competition authorities might take a good look at.

Third party parners include Eco Rio which let’s you track your carbon footprint; Shopsavvy, a barcode scanner, with comparative pricing on goods.

Existing T-Mobile customers can order it today in the US with a $25 data plan with unlimited Web access, limited messaging or $35 unlimited, but no free email.

The Q&A posed a few questions.

Rubin said: “We will go broader with more features and functionality.”

You can’t use it as tethered modem. It can Word docs, Excel, but no Exchange, though there is the opportunity for third party developers to build for this. Email will be push.

The phone will be SIMlocked to T-Mobile.

There is no desktop syncing application. (I guess Google thinks your Gmail is already ‘in the cloud’, right?)

Email: HTML email client, which syncs with Gmail and other POP3 or IMAP mail services. It has a 3-megapixel camera.

It will come with WiFi. YouTube support is also on board.

Google is expecting a “huge effect on GTalk”. I bet.

Larry Page and Sergey Brin made a surprise visit on rollerblades!

Brin said: “I have been using it in my pocket for a while now. The first app I wrote was one where you throw the phone up in the air and it calculates how much time it takes to hit the ground, using the accelerometer.” Man these guys are geeks…