July Launch Set for New Google Phone
Following huge introductions of the Palm Pre and new iPhone 3G S, T-Mobile today announces July availability of MyTouch 3G, the second phone on Google's Android operating system.
It's the first of 18 new Google-powered phones coming worldwide by the end of the year, Google says, declining to provide specifics. Tech and telecom analysts expect Sprint to have an Android phone by year's end.
T-Mobile has sold 1 million of its first-generation Google phone, the G1. That's tepid compared with the 21.2 million iPhones sold in the last two years, but T-Mobile says it's thrilled with the response. It expects the new phone to sell at a faster clip.
The MyTouch is smaller, can sync with Microsoft Outlook and has an improved battery, T-Mobile says. "We've addressed some of the concerns from customers," says Andrew Sherrard, T-Mobile vice president.
Current T-Mobile customers can order beginning July 8 for delivery later in the month. General retail availability is planned for early August.
The touch-screen phone - made by HTC - sells for $199 with a new two-year contract. Sherrard says T-Mobile will offer a discounted rate for current customers but hasn't finalized pricing.
T-Mobile's selling point is personalization, with customizable menus, wallpapers and icons. A new program called Sherpa learns your favorite locations and preferences and makes recommendations accordingly. The phone also has instant access to Google services.
Even though the Android platform hasn't taken off in public consciousness as the iPhone has, "It's important to remember that globally, this is a market of billions and billions of users," says Andy Castonguay, a Yankee Group analyst. "There's plenty of room for lots of different players."
Google first announced Android in 2007. It gives the operating system to manufacturers for free. Google product manager Erick Tseng says getting phones from idea stage to manufacturer is an 18- to 24-month process. "What you're seeing now is the outcome of the development."
Google has 5,000 applications available for Android from its network of developers, and the list is growing, says Tseng.
Apple has a huge lead, with more than 50,000 applications available from about 20,000 developers, says Forrester Group analyst Charles Golvin. "But in the United States, there are probably more developers working with Google, after Apple, than any other mobile platform."