The full employee letter: Googlers, The holiday bonus is a Google tradition - it’s a great way to thank everyone for their hard work. In the past, we’ve done this in cash. This year, we’ve decided to give Googlers a different kind of present - a Dream phone (this is the same device T-Mobile (NYSE: DT) markets as the G1). We’re really excited about getting the phone to more Googlers in more countries, and also seeing all the cool new things you do with it. Shipping these special edition phones in such a short time frame (they were designed especially for Googlers with a ‘droid’ on the back) and making sure they would work anywhere in the world was no small feat. So a big thank you to the Android and Legal teams for making this happen. While these phones do not have SIM cards, they are unlocked so they can be used with the network provider of your choice. Plus - thanks to more fancy footwork from the Android team - they’ll work immediately as WiFi devices! Sadly, despite all our best efforts, there are some countries - India, China, Brazil, Korea, Israel, Russia, Argentina, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Mexico, Turkey, Kenya, United Arab Emirates, South Africa, Egypt, Chile, and the Ukraine - where even our legal team could not work their magic. Googlers in these countries will receive the cash equivalent of the phone in their December paychecks, which is about $400 USD. Overall though almost 85% of Googlers globally will be able to receive the phone - including the United States, Western and Central Europe, Canada, Australia, Singapore, and Japan. The holiday gift team in your office will be sending out an email with logistical information on distribution shortly. We know that some of you are already on your holidays - don’t worry - your phones will be waiting for you when you come back! For more information, check out the FAQ here. Some of you will of course be wondering why we decided to change from a cash bonus to the Dream phone. Here are the reasons. First, we’ve never developed anything like the Android software before and this represented a unique opportunity to celebrate that achievement. Googlers globally have been asking for the Dream phone and we’re looking forward to seeing all the different things that you do with them. This is a chance for us to once again dogfood a product and make it even better! Second, as we discussed in our email this week, the current economic crisis requires us to be more conservative about how we spend our money. We felt that giving the Dream phone would be a great holiday present - something we could all celebrate. Thank you for all that you do to make Google the company that it is. We hope that you will enjoy using your Dream phone in 2009 and have a very happy holiday! …and the Q&A that followed: Q: What is the holiday bonus for 2008? The holiday bonus is a Google tradition. In the past, we have chosen to make this a monetary gift. This year we decided to try something different: on December 19th, we will begin distributing free Dream phones to Googlers worldwide. Q: I already have an Android phone. What happens to my holiday bonus? These phones are a personal gift. We hope you will put them to good use! Please do not resell them as this is against Google [policy link removed]. Q: Why did we decide to give Dream phones as our holiday bonus this year? The launch of Android was one of this year’s highlights for the company. When the Android phone was announced, Googler interest was extremely high - we had scores of TGIF questions, misc threads, and just general buzz about how Googlers could get a phone of their own. After seeing the amount of interest in the Android phones from Googlers, we agreed that every Googler should have one. Q: Will all Googlers get phones? It was a huge task to ensure that the phones would work around the world and we want to thank the Android team and Legal team for making this happen. We’re proud to say that almost 85% of Googlers globally will receive Dream phones, including Googlers in the United States, Europe, Canada, Australia, Singapore, and Japan. Q: I’m not getting a Dream phone because I don’t live in an eligible country. Do I still get a holiday bonus? Yes, Googlers who live in countries where it was not currently feasible to distribute Dream devices will be getting a cash equivalent gift in your paycheck in December. This includes people in India, China, Brazil, Korea, Israel, Russia, Argentina, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Mexico, Turkey, Kenya, United Arab Emirates, South Africa, Egypt, Chile, and Ukraine. For more information, please see [removed]. Q: I do live in an eligible country. Can I opt for the cash equivalent gift instead? Only those Googlers in countries where it was not currently feasible to distribute Dream devices will be getting the cash equivalent gift. All other Googlers will receive a Dream phone. Q: Can I resell my phone? Googlers should not resell any item given to them by Google. Please review our Personal Transactions policy [removed]. Q: Will I be able to take my SIM from my Google managed Corporate Mobile device (BlackBerry (NSDQ: RIMM)) and use it in my new Dream phone? No, this is against policy and Google could incur significant overage charges. Placing a Blackberry SIM into a Dream device may cause the data plans to be disabled and break data for both the Dream and the Blackberry. Please review [link removed] for more info. Q: Are there tax implications to this? Google is covering the taxes for this gift; there will be an extra payroll run before the end of the year to cover the taxes. If you have further payroll or HR-related questions about this gift please email [address removed].
egistered as a developer to be eligible to purchase this handset; registrations fees will run you $25. Now developers don’t have to purchase this phone from T-Mobile and wait for ages after requesting an unlock code. This development version also has a bootloader that does not restrict the device to officially signed firmware builds. It looks like this may be a way for countries to legally get their hands on one as well. This version is currently available to Japan, Germany, India, France, Taiwan, Australia, Switzerland, Sweden, Canada, Finland, Hungry, Poland, Spain, the Netherlands, Austria, the US and the UK. Google plans to expand the regions in the future. Although this handset is meant specifically for developers, consumers can register and have these devices shipped right to their door. Is this what it takes to get one in a country that does not currently have the G1? [Via XDA]
Unlock-TMobileG1.com. In honor of this we will be giving away 3 unlock codes for the T-mobile G1 in a community contest. This contest is open to any registered Android Community member. Unlocking the G1 is very quick and easy, in fact anyone who can make a phone call can unlock their G1 with no trouble at all. Unlock-TMobileG1.com offers unlock codes for $22.99 USD. After placing an order including your IMEI code you will receive an eight-digit unlock code for your device. Your IMEI number can be found by pressing *#06# in the dialer, or by going into your settings, selecting “About phone” and then selecting “Status”. The IMEI number then can be found about half way down, it is 15 digits long. After you receive your unlock code you insert a non-T-Mobile SIM card and the G1 will prompt for an unlock code, enter the unlock code provided to you and hit unlock. You will then know the device is unlocked with a notification that reads “Network Unlock Successful”, it is as simple as that. We have found that with an AT&T SIM card the device would make and receive calls as well as send and receive text messages. Upon switching the SIM cards, the Gmail account was automatically signed out, when we entered the correct log in information it still would not log in. Needless to say the Android Market did not work either due to the fact that the Gmail account is needed. However this does not mean that it will not work, all tests have been done with the default network operator settings. We want to thank our sponsors over at http://www.unlock-tmobileg1.com/ for helping sponsoring this contest. To enter our contest, members must submit a photo showing their loyalty to Android Community in a creative way. Some examples are: putting an Android Community logo on their car, wearing the AC shirt at a large event, carving an Android Community sculpture or even if you are fearless, getting an Android Community tattoo. More information can be found here. A user has sent over this video for us that demonstrates that the unlocking process actually works. [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ob32_fp24ag[/youtube]
Love For Biz were able to convince a T-Mobile store in their area to sell them one after sales were not so good for the area. They report that there is no need for a store activation, the phone can be activated from home if you wish. The hard part is persuading a T-Mobile employee to sell one to you without a contract. Here are the steps to activating a T-Mobile G1 without first having an activated SIM card. (Note you will need to borrow and activated SIM card for only a few minutes.) 1. Insert friends activated T-mobile SIM into G1 along with battery 2. Power on and wait for setup screen 3. Go through setup process to link any Gmail account 4. Go to Settings > Wireless Controls > Wi-Fi Settings > Enable Wi-Fi 5. Connect to nearby Wi-Fi network if one is available 6. Optional: Stop the phone from syncing with Gmail account by going to Data Synchronization and unchecking Auto-sync, Gmail, Calendar, and Contacts 7. Once done, take out friends SIM card and insert unactivated SIM that came with G1 You may also use a prepaid T-Mobile SIM card to activate the G1. We do not see T-Mobile taking any measures to prevent this process as customers are paying the full price for the phone. Another thing to note, if you would ever like to change the Gmail account that was used to setup the G1 a soft reset is required and the process must be followed again. Photo courtesy of Android Community member heyitsnan. [Via Love For Biz]
Forums and many seem to think there will be an iPhone-style rush to unlock the G1 in the coming days and weeks. Does this mean there will be a G1 Dev Team, too? And while a mad dash to unlock the G1 still remains to be seen, the fact that we even have to have this conversation is a tad bit unsettling. After all, isn't the entire point of an Open Handset Alliance to maintain an open attitude and allow for the free exchange of ideas for the betterment of the final product? That's what I took it to mean, anyway. What do you think? If the G1 is locked to T-Mobile can Android be truly allowed to grow to its fullest potential? Or am I just overreacting?