With the first availability of an Android-based phone is only weeks away, it's my guess that T-Mobile's G1 phone will be the next big "must-have" gizmo for today's techno geeks. The carrier, which promised delivery on the Oct. 22 launch date to customers placing advance orders, has sold through its initial allotment and has stopped taking advance orders.
The company said it expects to sell half-a-million G1s through Christmas, and according to reports yesterday, T-Mobile will order as many as 2 million G1 units from HTC, maker of the device.
While T-Mobile has never billed G1 as an "iPhone killer" as many media reports have, the parallels are hard to ignore. The frenzy surrounding the device, for one thing, hearkens back to the iPhone buzz prior to its launch and strong sales and inventory shortages afterwards. Let's hope T-Mobile took note of the networking woes suffered by AT&T (to say nothing of the PR fallout suffered by Apple). Such woes might have been behind T-Mobile's initial decision to throttle bandwidth usage on its 3G network to 50Kbps for anyone topping 1GB of data transmission. The company on Sept. 24 reversed that decision, a wise move if you ask me.
In terms of price, the US$179 G1 has the edge over iPhone, which costs $244 with an unlimited data plan from AT&T. Both offer GPS and a large touch screen. The G1 also has a hardware keyboard. And while Apple might have the edge when it comes to applications, that lead might not last long. Thanks to Google's recent Android Developer Challenge, the device will get off to a running start.