Via con Google

google_legoI’ve been pondering the “with Google” (WG) branding found on the back of the G1.  Was this in initial marketing move by Google to get awareness out there for Android,  letting people know who sponsored Android or is this a user interface issue wherewith your device without Google would be different than the one that is.

Looking back over Android’s Year One, I think it’s safe to say that all of the Android devices have at least GMail, Calendar, Contacts, and GTalk out of the box and other Google apps can be downloaded out of Market like Finance, Listen, and Voice.  So why the WG mark then?  I suspect it is because of hardware design.  Google insisted on the unique slide mechanism design, trackball, and a full QWERTY.

This looks to be more like the “Intel Inside” sticker that you see on PCs and now can be viewed in hind sight as a hardware design effort in collaboration with Google and HTC.  The G1, Magic, and Hero hardware designs all carry the WG mark but are also the least appealing visually, even though Sense is the overriding UI on the Hero.  The WG branding may have even stifled the flow and design of handsets for Google to establish a brand for hardware and software user interface alike.

So what does this mean for us?  Only goodness is that the OHA manufacturers look to be gearing up after cautiously watching from the sidelines as the G1 battled it out with iPhones, BlackBerrys, and all the rest.  And let’s be honest, if Android not only survived but thrived on the G1, then this is just another reason why 2010 may be the year of the Robot.

  • Alex

    "with Google" means the phone conforms to particular standards (CPU, memory, screen size, etc), and features native Google applications.

  • AndrewM

    My unlocked, unbranded Hero (Euro model) doesn't come WG, and I would strongly debate the statement "least appealing visually"!

  • Jamey

    We purchased a “family pack” of 4 Sprint Heroes on 10/9. 2 of them are branded WG and 2 are just branded HTC.

    I think I would have believed that The WG Mark meant it follows the Google HW reference standard except interesting thing about the hero it has no slide out keyboard, just the software keyboard, so that invalidates at least that part of the standard.

    • The unique slide out keyboard of the G1 was in reference to the very first phone marked "WG". And not the ones that came after. Meaning that Google wanted to clearly draw a physical distinction of the very first "WG" device.

  • Eric H.

    Based on that whole cyanogenmod debacle I came to the understanding that the WG branding meant that the phone was a google experience phone. If it does not carry the WG branding then it will not have native google application support. This was the reason why Google lawyers were so pissed that cyanogen was distributing Google's apps as they may find their way onto devices where they do not belong.

  • There must be different levels of WG experience. I'm up in Canada and the Rogers phones don't have the WG branding on the back, but come with google apps and are advertised as Google phones.

    I don't think we'll be getting over the air updates though… not sure if that has to do with the WG branding or the carrier

  • The Rogers ROM had Exchange support and the HTC keyboard and were not stock Google Android phones. I believe this is why they were not marked as WG. Engadget:

  • Tim

    I'm confused by this article. Are you really questioning what "with google" means? Or just contemplating alternative theories as to why they chose to market it that way? Mr. Andy Rubin explained the "3 flavors of Android" several months ago. The story was even covered right here on Androidguys.
    "With Google" apparently refers to one of the more restrictive licenses that allows a carrier/manufacturer to place the Google Apps on the phone. Note, the Archos 5 tablet appears to be the "obligation-free" variety from the reports that I read (again, here on AndroidGuys), and as such does not come with any of the Google Apps.

  • CaneCarry

    thats really cool