Google's involvement with G1 was also important to another buyer, Steve Schultze, a post-doctoral researcher at Harvard University who arrived before the Cambridge store opened. "I feel Google's not going away soon," Schultze said.
While the G1 is tied to the network of T-Mobile, the open development capabilities of Android will yield a "huge environment" for applications, Schultze added. "The openness factor means I know that I'm buying a device that is getting only, maybe, 10 percent of the applications that will be available a year from now."
Schultze said he would love to see an application for the G1 that gives him remote log-in capability to monitor servers and to respond to server alarms that he uses in his work. For now, however, he said the G1 will be both a work and a personal device, where he can make calls and also access Gmail, Google docs and more.
Another early G1 phone buyer, Earl Miller, said he bought the device "because I wanted a mini-computer" but didn't want to go with a closed operating system like the iPhone. Miller, a professor of neuroscience at MIT, said he expected he would find online applications he can access via the G1 in his field of study, but from a practical standpoint, the G1 would be useful to access Gmail.
Yet another man in line for a G1 at the Cambridge store, who would only give his name as Dan, said there might be a limit to the value of the open applications from Android. "I wonder if the closed iPhone applications might be more thought-out and researched, but it's something we have to wait and see," he said. He said he had more interest in the G1 because he was already a T-Mobile customer and was hoping to extend his T-Mobile contract to purchase it.
Comparisons between the G1 and the iPhone drew the attention of G1 buyer Igor Malioutov, a Russian doctoral student in computer science at MIT. Malioutov said one of his computer science professors uses the iPhone.
"I was drawn in to the G1 by the open Android OS," Malioutov said. "I like that Google's involved, as long as they do no harm and if they don't start manipulating things too much. I think Google has a huge customer base, while Apple's base isn't really that technical. I think the Apple people are more like San Francisco hippies."