Journal Says Google Android Phones Will Appear This Year After All
The Wall Street Journal today is rehashing last week's Reuters report about the Sept. 23 introduction of the HTC-built Dream, based on the Android mobile operating system, by Google and T-Mobile USA.
This is an interesting twist because usually it's Reuters who rehashes the Journal.
That's a warning; if you see Reuters issue a report rehashing the Journal, which rehashed Reuters, then you've got a cause for concern, but I digress. I've asked both Google and T-Mobile for confirmation and an invite to an alleged Dream launch event in New York City next Tuesday.
Rumors of the Dream launch have been burbling since astute observers found specs for the Dream in FCC documents online. The 3G-enabled smart phone will have a touch screen but will also slide out to produce a full five-row keyboard.
The Journal notes that some wireless companies working with Android have hit snags, which is the reporters' attempts to bolster their early claims that Android phones wouldn't appear this year as expected. They clearly didn't touch base with T-Mobile.
Now the Journal reports that the Dream will hit shelves at the end of October, perfect timing for the holiday season.TechCrunch confirms the official release date as October 20.
The Journal cited someone familiar with HTC's thinking as saying the manufacturer expects to ship 600,000 to 700,000 units of the smart phone this year. To sell more than a half million units in two months is fantastic, considering Android is an unproven entity.
By comparison, Apple took just 74 days to sell 1 million first-generation iPhones and only a weekend to sell 1 million 3G iPhones. Google and T-Mobile obviously can't expect that type of reception, but 500,000 to 700,00 units shipped before 2009 is nothing to laugh at.
I think the fact that only one Android phone is coming to the fore this year is smart, whether it is because of developmental delays by the other vendors, or even just a strategic move to test the waters.
Android is unproven, so Google, manufacturers and operators can't afford to saturate the market with a bunch of phones that might not even work well.
Look at all the issues Apple 3G iPhone users are having, as my colleague Joe Wilcox notes on Apple Watch.
I don't believe Google will have that leeway for failure. The expectations created by Apple's iPhone and all of the hype swirling around Google's entrance into the challenging mobile OS market have put unprecedented amounts of pressure on the search giant.
An early Android failure could derail Google's hopes to dominate mobile search, apps and advertising.