T-Mobile has become the first operator to launch a mobile phone based on the Google Android mobile interface. The T-Mobile G1 will be available for free on certain mobile phone contracts.

The T-Mobile G1 Google handset has a 320x480-pixel touchscreen but also has a trackball with which to zip about its menus. As well as this, there's a slide-out Qwerty keypad - no real surprise since this has become almost a signature of handset OEM maker HTC which put together the G1 on behalf of T-Mobile.

The G1 runs off a 528MHz Qualcomm processor, has 256MB of onboard memory and offers Bluetooth v2.0 as well as HSDPA, Wi-Fi, GPRS and Edge connectivity. The phone can be used anywhere in the world as it's a quad-band GSM handset.

The phone offers instant messaging, email, contact management and web-browsing and has a speaker and a microphone so it can be used for hands-free phone calls. Other important features are the inclusion of a GPS receiver and a 3.2Mp fixed focus camera.

There's a dedicated Search button, a calendar and direct access to YouTube you can update video clips directly. You can listen to music stored on the T-Mobile G1 by plugging in any earphones with a 3.5mm jack, but there's no radio tuner.

Of the Google-specific applications on the G1 Android handset, one of the best is Google Maps. This has a Street View mode which you can use to swoop in to a location in a major city and have a look around. Only a handful of cities have yet been mapped, however.

You can also hit a Compass button on the G1 and pan up, down, left and right. Odd.

Other Android applications include a tool that scans the barcode of an item you want and then checks the web to see whether you could buy it cheaper elsewhere, and a carbon footprint monitor called Ecorio.

For more details on the T-Mobile G1, head to www.T-Mobile.co.uk/G1.

Click here for our review of the T-Mobile G1 Google Android phone.

T-Mobile G1 Google Android phone