Google phone hits Australia via eBay

The first mobile smartphone to be run on Google Android’s operating software has hit Australian shores, thanks to online auction house eBay.

The first mobile smartphone to be run on Google Android’s operating software has hit Australian shores, thanks to online auction house eBay.

Like Apple’s iPhone, the HTC G1 is selling on the site before it has been officially released in Australia, with prices currently running at around the $1000 level.

But the price is highly inflated compared to the US, where the device was released last week for $US179 on a two-year contract. Department store Wal-Mart announced it will sell the phone for $US148.88.

It took less than one week for the phone to become “unlocked” so it can run with other carriers. But while the phone is marketed to operate on 3G networks, it will only work on 2G networks in regional areas, and will not run on Telstra’s Next G network.

The device has opened to rave reviews, but some have criticised its lower battery life, lack of “multi-touch” capabilities and difficulties in obtaining a signal.

So far no Australian carrier has announced a plan to launch the device, but Telstra, Vodafone, Optus and 3 say they are examining the phone’s possibilities.

The latest release is just another indicator smartphone sales are on the increase. Research from Telesyte last week shows nearly three in 10 phones sold in Australia are smartphones.

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