With Motorola Droid versus Apple iPhone stories dotting the world of wireless news, T-Mobile’s CTO reminded everyone that the first company to make a phone based on Google’s Android platform has its own dogs in the smartphone race.
T-Mobile CTO Cole Brodman said at the Open Mobile Summit Nov. 4 that T-Mobile will let customers pay for Android applications on their monthly mobile bills starting Nov. 17.
The billing capability will be part of a new T-Mobile Channel on the online Android Market that is designed to recommend Android applications to T-Mobile customers.
Users will be able to visit the T-Mobile Channel in the Android Market, browse for applications for their T-Mobile phones and click to buy them. They will be billed for their purchases on their regular wireless bill.
To showcase Android applications, T-Mobile the week of Nov. 2 added the ability for Android developers to pitch their applications daily for featured placement and marketing partnerships with T-Mobile.
Android Market currently hosts 12,000 applications, compared with the 100,000 applications Apple’s iPhone App Store hosts today.
While this makes the Android platform seem dwarfish by comparison, Android’s growth is respectable for a platform that launched on smartphones little more than a year ago. The iPhone is a phenomenon no one has seen before in the nascent smartphone market.
Brodman meanwhile said T-Mobile’s fourth-quarter phone lineup includes the seminal T-Mobile G1 phone, the T-Mobile MyTouch, the new Motorola Cliq and the upcoming Samsung Behold II.
While the G1 is generally considered clunky, if not amateurish, by the standard set by iPhone, the MyTouch has made a strong case for Android as a viable smartphone platform.
In a statistic-laden keynote speech in San Francisco, Brodman told the crowd that half of all MyTouch users visit the Android Market at least once per day.
Moreover, 80 percent of MyTouch users browse the Web at least once per day, and two-thirds say they browse several times per day, he said. Nearly half of MyTouch users say they have customized their MyTouch phones, while more than 40 percent of MyTouch users access social networking sites multiple times each day.
However, while the MyTouch has had a strong showing as the current top Android phone, the Motorola Droid, which Verizon Wireless will begin selling Nov. 6, is getting the bulk of the attention as an iPhone challenger.
Mixed reviews have done nothing to dull the hype of this device, which is backed by strong ads from Verizon and a preorder offer from Best Buy, complete with instant rebate.