The cat is out of the bag regarding the Android-based Dream phone from T-Mobile, Google and HTC.
We know for sure the Dream smart phone will be unveiled at an event Sept. 23 in New York. We know from specs and pictures the Dream has a slide-out keyboard. We suspect T-Mobile will begin selling it Oct. 20 for $200 with a two-year service plan.
What we don't know is how many of you will buy the first Android-based phone. Sources at HTC have said they expect T-Mobile will sell 600,000 to 700,000 units of the Dream from late October through Dec. 31. Figure on between half a million and three-quarters of a million gadgets shipped in 60 to 70 days.
That's not shabby, but those estimates fall short compared with sales of the top smart phone the Dream is looking to challenge. Apple sold 1 million first-generation iPhones in 74 days in 2007 and a stunning 1 million in three days in July 2008.
I asked Enderle Group Principal Analyst Rob Enderle how many units he expects T-Mobile will sell before the new year.
"Unless this thing is buggier than the last iPhone, it probably will sell very well given the power of the Google brand and the interest in the phone," Enderle said. "It will get a lot of press coverage and it may be the hot thing for the fourth quarter."
I agree with this assessment. On that merit, I think the Dream will ship nearly 1 million units by 2009, or roughly as many units as the iPhone shipped in almost the same amount of time.
It's been tremendously hyped, and if it has few bugs out of the gate and delivers an iPhone-like "Wow!" user experience, Dreams will fly off the shelves and end up as gifts for mobile consumers and corporate road warriors.
Of course, if HTC et al. didn't make enough gadgets my prediction is for naught, as Enderle noted:
"So unless the thing is really buggy or unless the economy goes so far south people stop buying anything in this class, I expect it to easily sell through initial planned volumes and be on constraint relatively soon in its life."
There's a flip side to this coin, too. We don't know what the demand level for smart phones will be like as we slip into a bear market.
Look, Apple has shipped millions of units, so people could be smart-phoned out and not want to shell out $200 bones or clams or whatever you call them for another whiz-bang gadget.
Flip the iPhone coin over.
If people are as fed up with the iPhone 3G as I've read (on my colleague Joe Wilcox's Apple Watch blog, among other sites), they might leap at the chance to get a Sidekick-like device that is also 3G-enabled. But it has to work. By which I mean, very few dropped calls.
What do you think? Will you fulfill your Dream in 2008 and how many Dream orders will be fulfilled this year in total?