Phew, that was a close one! T-Mobile could have found itself on the receiving end of another angry online mob. We've seen a rash of them as of late, such as the public outcry in defense of Daniel_K and his modded Creative Drivers, and, more recently, the Amazonian backlash towards EA for saddling Spore with draconian SecuROM DRM. T-Mobile could have been next, had it decided to stick with its guns and impose a one gigabyte cap on its upcoming G1 phone. Now T-Mobile is saying that the bandwidth limit has been removed, at least until it reviews its plans and comes up with a new one.
"We removed the 1GB soft limit from our policy statement, and we are confident that T-Mobile G1 customers will enjoy the high speed of data access over our 3G network," T-Mobile wrote in a statement. "The specific terms for our new data plans are still being reviewed and once they are final we will be certain to share this broadly with current customers and potential new customers."
Good thing too, because the limit would have affected customers who plan to use Android features, and the last thing T-Mobile and the new Android platform needs is bad press if it is to wage war with Apple and the iPhone regime.
For more than a year, Apple’s iPhone has garnered the lion’s share of press and remained a must-have device for gadget junkies. In an industry in which $300 products quickly become free incentives for signing a contract, the iPhone has managed to remain relevant. This is due in part to Apple’s marketing savvy, which made many people—consumers and journalists alike—look past the device’s shortcomings, but also because the iPhone’s innovative interface and full web browser provided consumers with something truly new.
Now, handset-maker HTC, T-Mobile, and Google hope to get some of the attention the iPhone has received by releasing the G1, the first mobile phone to use Google’s mobile OS, Android.
We're still a month away from seeing the first mobile phone running Google's Android mobile platform hit the retail sector, but while ordinary folk have to wait patiently, there exists a handful of Google and maybe T-Mobile employees plugging away on the new phone. And it's from spotting one of these pre-release units in the wild that VentureBeat reports that Amazon will have a mobile store in place by the time Android ships.
Speculation suggests that the Amazon music store on Android will most likely be a mobile version of its existing AmzonMP3 online digital music store. Such a move would certainly heat up the competitive juices between T-Mobile's HTC Android phone and Apple's iPhone, and perhaps help Amazon grab some of the marketshare controlled by iTunes.
And so it has begun, or at least it soon will. We're referring to the inevitable battle between Google's Android platform and the Apple iPhone, the latter of which is arguably the hottest cellular gadget currently available.
Nothing is official yet, but according to the Wall Street Journal, the HTC Dream will be the first Google Android smartphone out of the gates. If the report holds true, you'll be able to own one for $199 with a 2-year service agreement tied to T-Mobile. This would put the smartphone on the same pricing tier as Apple's iPhone, leaving the Android platform little wiggle room to falter.
Based on earlier reports, the HTC Dream will sport a 3-inch screen, integrated Wi-Fi, 3G compatibility, and GPS functionality. But potentially putting the Dream at a disadvantage next to the iPhone are several reported missing features, such as no motion sensor chip that can switch the screen layout between portrait and landscape mode, no multi-touch capability, and lack of Bluetooth wireless connectivity.
Despite what's missing, HTC seems to think it can sell between 600,000 to 700,000 devices by the end of the year, which would give it momentum moving into 2009.
Is HTC overly confident in Google's brand recognition, or is Apple's one-man show in the high end touchscreen cellular market about to become a two-man tango?
Google’s chief of mobile platforms Andy Rubin seems to believe the cliché ‘first impression is the last impression’. He told Reuters that the success of the Android platform would depend on the reception of its first phone. He believes that there is very little margin for failure as far as the first Android phone goes - first impression. The first Android phone will be T-Mobile’s HTC Dream, and is rumored to be scheduled for release later this month.
It is well known that T-Mobile will be launching the maiden Android-based phone, which in all likelihood would be the HTC Dream. Now, Reuters is reporting that the launch of the first Android device could be just a few weeks away. September 23rd might witness an official announcement from T-Mobile and Google – members of the Open Handset Alliance, according to the report, which is based on intel gained from two anonymous persons. After the launch of Android, Cell phone users will be spoilt for choice as far as mobile platforms are concerned.
Microsoft is no stranger to digital distribution: its popular Xbox Live service was a first for game consoles. However, the company has no effective digital distribution channel to sell the myriad of third party apps for its Windows Mobile OS. But Microsoft seems to have finally taken a leaf out of Apple’s book with news of an application store for the Windows Mobile platform doing the rounds.
Yesterday Google announced on its Android Developers Blog that it is releasing the Android 0.9 SDK beta. A crude SDK build was made available in November, 2007 to give a dekko into the Android mobile platform. The Android 0.9 SDK gives developers a better chance to unravel the OS before the release of version 1.0. The release of 1.0 shouldn’t be far off as the first Android-bearing phone will be soon launched by T-Mobile, a member of the Open Handset Alliance. It is called the Dream and has been developed by leading smartphone manufacturer HTC, another key member of the consortium behind Android. To get your hands on the 0.9 SDK beta and Google’s development roadmap head over to the official blog.
According to a previous report by The Wall Street Journal, Google's open-source Android platform likely won't see the light of day until 2009, but that may not be the case. A new rumor hitting the web claims that T-Mobile will debut the first Android phone for pre-sale as early as September 17th.
Blog site TmoNews, who claims to be privy to this information based on a "trusted source," also says the new phone (codenamed G1) will cost consumers $399 - ouch! But that's when it goes fully public. TmoNews says the G1 pre-sale will last for one week and be available only to T-Mobile customers, who will be able to pick up the phone for $250 below retail. Everyone else will have to wait until mid-October.
The site also claims the G1 will come in black, white, or brown and include a 3-inch wide touch screen, 3G support, and a slide-out Qwerty keypad. Anyone that plans on picking one up will need a Gmail account, or so the rumor goes.
CNet says that Dell has dropped some hints that it is working on a Smartphone for those of us that are addicted to gadgets. They found an article in which Michael Dell drops some hints in his interview with Om Malik of GigaOm.
Dell said, "We are certainly looking at the whole smartphone category, but I wouldn't expect anything anytime soon." When Malik pressed him about their interest in either the Symbian or Android OS for such a device, he spilled a few more beans and said, "We're not ready to publicly disclose our plans there...we're kind of working on that".
I’ll take Michael Dell at his word. They have nothing coming soon. While Cnet may be holding their breath, with so many really great smartphones out right now I won’t be holding mine. How about you?