Google intros an unlocked 'developer's' G1 model for global use

Google is now offering an unlocked version of HTC's Android-based G1 phone which can be used almost anywhere. Priced at $399, the phone also contains features geared to advanced developers...if you don't mind its shipping costs.

Like T-Mobile, Google is now selling an unlocked version of HTC's Android-based G1 phone which is suitable for use just about anywhere, even outside the US. But Google's Android Dev Phone 1 -- ostensibly for developers -- is different from T-Mobile's because, among other things, it is flashable.

The Dev Phone 1 is priced at $399, about the same as T-Mobile's unlocked G1. You also need to pay $25 to sign up with Google as a developer.

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Due to its flashability, though, the Dev Phone 1 lets you install a test version of Android -- to create a custom build, for example -- or any other OS of your choice. The Dev Phone 1 is also unique because it has an unlocked bootloader.

"Unlike the bootloader on retail devices, the bootloader on the Android Dev Phone 1 does not enforce signed system images," according to an online post from Google.

Google also advises that the Dev Phone 1 is "designed for advanced developers."

But whether you're an Android developer or not, an investment in the Dev Phone 1 might make sense if you're a US resident, especially if you travel overseas with any frequency, or to places within the US outside of T-Mobile's broadband wireless coverage range. You stand to get more flexible use from the Dev Phone 1 due to the Dev Phone's features. The Dev Phone can be used with any SIM card.

Meanwhile, international users in the Android Developers group on Google Groups have been voicing unhappiness over shipping prices for the Dev Phone ranging from $151 USD for Taiwan to $178.90 for the Netherlands and $264 CDN for Canada.

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