The GPhone is finally here
Since you have undoubtedly filled your noggin with bailout headlines this week, let's shift gears and talk gadgetry.

It was a big week for Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), as the company teamed up with handset maker HTC to unveil the G1 smartphone. The computer-friendly phone will hit the market next month, priced at $179.99 with a two-year service contract through Deutsche Telekom's (NYSE:DT) T-Mobile.

Is it an iPhone killer? No. It may not even be a BlackBerry tickler. However, you have to give Google points for trying. As the launch pad for its Android mobile operating system, the G1 ups the stakes against Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) hit iPhone by including a better camera and a welcome pull-out keyboard for texting and sending e-mails.

I don't know about you, but it would take me several frustrating hours if I were to peck out this column on my iPhone.

I didn't. Promise.

The phone will also come with a Apple-esque Apps Market, including a hookup with Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) for digital music download purchases.

T-Mobile is allowing early adopters to buy the G1 now to "avoid long lines" next month but that sounds a bit cocky. It's going to win over Google fans, but Big G isn't a hardware company. It takes years to build up the kind of rabid hardware fan base that Apple has collected.

Ultimately, it's good for consumers to have some exciting smartphone choices out there. It keeps prices honest and breeds innovation.

Briefly in the news
And now let's take a quick look at some of the other stories that shaped our week.

  • Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is cracking open its vault. The world's largest software company is earmarking $40 billion for another massive share buyback. That's a lot of money. It's actually more than even the cash-rich Mr. Softy has on its balance sheet. However, the company is a cash cow, so it shouldn't have a problem bankrolling the repurchase if it's done gradually.
  • Circuit City (NYSE:CC) is so hungry for change that its CEO is going away. The company has struggled lately. The quick fix -- replacing all of its red and white signs with black and yellow Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) ones -- is probably illegal in most states.

Until next week, I remain,

Rick Munarriz

Microsoft and Best Buy are Motley Fool Inside Value selections. Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick. Best Buy, Amazon.com, and Apple are Motley Fool Stock Advisor picks. The Fool owns shares of Best Buy. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz recommends windshield wiper fluid when trying to look back. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story. The Fool has a disclosure policy.