Google's first cell phone is optimized for Internet use

NEW YORK — The first cell phone running Google Inc.'s mobile software looks something like Apple Inc.'s iPhone and has a large touch screen, but it also packs a trackball, a slide-out keyboard and easy access to Google's e-mail and mapping programs.

Google made its debut as a cell phone software provider Tuesday at an event where wireless carrier T-Mobile said it will begin selling the G1 phone for $179 with a two-year contract. The device hits U.S. stores Oct. 22, and only where the company has rolled out its faster, third-generation wireless data network.

In other areas, people will be able to buy the phone from T-Mobile's Web site. The phone does work on T-Mobile's slower data network, but it's optimized for the faster networks. It can also connect at Wi-Fi hotspots.

The data plan for the phone will cost $25 a month on top of the calling service. And at $179, the G1 is $20 less than the least expensive iPhone in the United States.

Like the iPhone, the G1 has a high-resolution screen, making it easier to browse Web sites that haven't been specifically adapted for cell phones. Unlike the iPhone, Research in Motion Ltd.'s BlackBerrys and most other high-end smart phones sold in the United States, the G1 has very limited ability to connect to corporate e-mail servers.