At least that’s one thing that Google does better than Apple: Developers can order an unlocked device that allows to test software:
“The Android Dev Phone 1 is a SIM-unlocked and hardware-unlocked device that is designed for advanced developers. The device ships with a system image that is fully compatible with Android 1.0, so you can rely on it when developing your applications. You can use any SIM in the device and can flash custom Android builds that will work with the unlocked bootloader. Unlike the bootloader on retail devices, the bootloader on the Android Dev Phone 1 does not enforce signed system images. The Android Dev Phone 1 should also appeal to developers who live outside of T-Mobile geographies.
To purchase an Android Dev Phone 1 device, you must first register as an Android developer on the Android Market site, if you haven’t done so already. Once you’ve logged into your developer account on Android Market, you can purchase the device by clicking the “Purchase” link. To accommodate demand, there is a limit of 1 device per developer account, for now.
The device currently costs $399 (USD) (including free shipping in the US), and will be available for purchase in 18 international markets, including the US, UK, Germany, Japan, India, Canada, France, Taiwan, Spain, Australia, Singapore, Switzerland, Netherlands, Austria, Sweden, Finland, Poland, and Hungary. We will continue to expand this program into new geographies over time. Check this page for updated information.”
18 markets? That’s something I like. None of the usual “US only” crap.
Thinking about all the worries Apple voiced about untested software on the iPhone – this little piece of hardware (price translates into EUR 468 for germany) could probably bring doen mobile networks all across the united states ;)