The biggest piece of hard news out of the “T-Mobile MyTouch 3G with Google Media Event” July 8 was that existing T-Mobile customers could begin preordering the MyTouch 3G, the second U.S. smartphone based on Google’s Android open-source operating system.
See great pics of the MyTouch 3G here on eWEEK. Customers can order the device now through T-Mobile until July 28 to get it before the device becomes available nationally Aug. 5.
The second big piece of news out of the event was that Google wasn’t even there, a stunning turnaround from the September 2008 T-Mobile G1 launch, where Larry Page and Sergey Brin came in on roller blades wielding the devices. That event had a lot of pomp and circumstance. Yesterday’s event? Not so much.
I commented on this paradox to T-Mobile USA Chief Marketing Officer Denny Marie Post. Was Google distancing itself from T-Mobile? No, apparently not.
Post told me this was T-Mobile’s event to showcase the hardware, but added that she expected Google Android people to participate in the T-Mobile applications event in San Francisco July 10.
That dovetails with what T-Mobile CTO Cole Brodman reportedly told the (paywall) Wall Street Journal yesterday during the event: that “the lack of Google’s presence wouldn’t affect the launch strategy, and that the Web titan is more focused on the evolution of its platforms and application market.”
But I later learned Google had intended to be there. A Google spokesperson told me Google was unable to attend the event due to travel conflicts. T-Mobile later confirmed that Brodman and Google Android creator Andy Rubin are attending a breakfast event at the St. Regis Hotel in San Francisco, at which, “T-Mobile and Google will briefly discuss how an open platform and compelling new devices are fueling an innovative developer ecosystem driven by consumer demand. This informal event will provide an opportunity to speak with key executives as well as try out the new MyTouch 3G and some of the latest Android applications.”
That seems fair. Yesterday’s event was geared to show off the device to the media and kick off the preordering. While the MyTouch 3G features one-touch access to Google Search by voice, Google Maps with Street View, YouTube and Picasa, T-Mobile is focusing on Sherpa, a personal recommendation app created by Geodelic, as the symbolic app for the device.
Sherpa embodies T-Mobile’s “100% Personal” marketing pitch for the device, and it will be one of the recommended apps in the T-Mobile AppPack, an app within Android Market that will highlight apps that personalize the MyTouch 3G for consumers.
The G1 launch was big because it was the first Android mobile device ever, and it was important for Google to be there to support it and tout the then-new Android Market, which has since expanded to host thousands of applications. It’s no Apple iPhone App Store, but it’s passable.
Post also said she wasn’t sure when the G2 would arrive, but said there would be another one added to the family. It may or may not have the same form factor.
In the meantime, we shouldn’t worry that Google is backing away from its device partners. Google is no Apple; since it doesn’t have a hardware peg to hang its hat on, the software maker will keep dancing with manufacturers and service providers willing to carry Android.