TC writes up the new Google Android phone as competing with the iPhone merely by adding a keyboard and a compass and concludes "that's it?...I'm afraid so".
Let's talk about what's wrong with that assessment for a moment. The Android comes with a compass. TC on the compass:
"...it’s got one built in (in addition to the accelerometer and the GPS), so that when you look at StreetView on Google Maps and swing the phone around it shows you a picture of what you are facing. Some developer is going to write a cool hiking app that taps into the compass, I’m sure."
What a compass adds to a mobile phone (with GPS, web access and accelerometer) is a point&click interface for everything in the world. A way of pointing your phone at a thing - any thing - and asking it "what's that?" Asking it, for example, not just "is that a restaurant and what's on the menu and are there any tables free right now?" to "is that house for sale and who's selling it for how much?"
A compass isn't "it" - it's everything that makes the mobile phone a seamless way of interacting with a world of digital information about everything around us. Point the G1 at things and ask it (ask Wikipedia, ask property websites, ask restaurant booking sites, ask maps) "what's that?" That's huge.
And that's before we even get onto what the GPS/compass/acceleromter combo means for mobile, locative, multi-player gaming. A post for another day.