Expectations Soar for T-Mobiles G1

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2008-10-21 Print this article Print

When asked how many devices he expects T-Mobile to ship, Tseng said he wasn't at liberty to say, which tells me the Android team knows but is sworn to secrecy by T-Mobile. Why not? It's the carrier's product.

Last week, a T-Mobile spokesperson confirmed for me that T-Mobile had tripled the number of phones it initially made available for the Oct. 22 launch and sold them all. 

Most folks seem to believe this is around 1.5 million units, which is great considering Apple's iPhone sold 1 million in 74 days. I've asked T-Mobile if it can accommodate even more units for consumers, but have received no reply as of this writing.

Click here for G1 pictures.

To what do I attribute the uptick in G1 sales? A couple things. First, it's a solid alternative to the iPhone, as AllThingsDigital's Walt Mossberg, New York Times' David Pogue and eWEEK's own Andrew Garcia attested.

Second, I think the iPhone's amazing success has opened the world's eyes to the power of Web-based phones, and now they are expecting different, but not necessarily superior, smart phone experiences. The G1 seems to provide that. Enderle Group's Rob Enderle, who tested the device last week, agreed and told me this:

"It's a good phone, and it is more exclusive than the iPhone at the moment, and one of the few 3G phones for T-Mobile users, all of which help sales significantly. The iPhone also helped blaze the trail by making those that preferred T-Mobile but wanted something like the iPhone desire the G1. It shows potential for the platform as well and suggests that it will do very well as it matures and as better-looking phones come out. Android has legs, and it is a nice piece of work."

All of this begs the question: If Android is as cool as folks perceive it to be, will other carriers hop onboard? Greg Sterling, of Sterling Market Intelligence, told me the early sell-out of preorders will force other carriers to accelerate their Android development efforts.

After all, while the pie may be huge, it may be juiciest right now with the holidays coming and before we slide into a more prolonged recession.

"If it's as aggressively priced as it is and it's pretty good, people will buy it because people don't want to switch to AT&T," Sterling added, alluding to AT&T's sketchy 3G network experience for the iPhone 3G.


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