T-Mobile announced today that the myTouch 3G phone will go on presale July 8th, a mere 15 days away. T-Mobile has priced this phone at $199 and believes it can compete with its Android operating system with today’s hottest smartphones. Let’s take a look at T-Mobiles positioning of this phone.
All about you
The myTouch 3G is pitched as totally customizable to you. You get to create your own mobile experience, customize menus, themes, skins and even a 3rd party application that knows you better the more you use it. T-Mobile touts Androids widgets to put whatever info is important to you on the home screen.
Google as a feature
T-Mobile is using Google to lure more customers to this phone. The phone integrates Google Search, GMail, Google Maps, Picasa, YouTube, and even a Google Search widget on the home screen. T-Mobile goes so far as to offer to add July 8th, the presale opening day, on your Google Calendar via a link. Pretty cool if you love the Google network.
Apps, front and center
On the myTouch website page, viewers will find a “Featured Exclusive App.” Interestingly, this app, Sherpa, is supposed to learn about you through your searches and provide you customized results based on your past search history. According to T-Mobile:
At the heart of the T-Mobile myTouch, Sherpa is an application with a built-in learning engine that automatically customizes itself to your preferences. Created by Geodelic, the application learns your likes and dislikes through behavior and user feedback, prioritizing recommended retailers, restaurants and attractions. Seamlessly blending behavior recognition, a recommendation engine and location-relevant information, this combination of learning is exclusive to Sherpa and unlike any experience currently on the market.
I find it interesting that T-Mobile is paying to get an exclusive app on a mobile OS. Surely, it is one way to set T-Mobile apart from other Android phones (more are inbound this summer) but it seems counter intuitive to the 3rd party app system. It seems to be a statement that the Google App catalog doesn’t have everything you need. That’s how I read it, anyway.
The myTouch 3G is the second Android powered phone on the T-Mobile network. Following on the success of the G1, which sold over a million phones, the myTouch looks to be a step in the right direction. The phone features a software keyboard, no odd angle at the bottom of the phone, which allows for a much thinner piece of hardware. Early testers say the phone has a “plasticy feel” compared to other smartphones.
MG Siegler of Techcrunch who got his hands on the myTouch early had this to say about the phone:
I’ve only played with the iPhone 3G S for a few days, but I think it’s safe to say that for day to day use of any application and browsing the web, the new iPhone blows past the myTouch in terms of speed. But again, the myTouch seems noticeably faster in many regards then the original iPhone and the iPhone 3G.
Can it compete?
“Can it compete?” is a two part question. First, would the 1 million or so G1 users see fit to upgrade to the myTouch? After all, one of the big selling points of the G1 was the physical keyboard, which the myTouch lacks. The younger crowd tends to gravitate to physical keyboard, which may have helped the G1 fly off the shelves. Will they be disappointed with that the myTouch?
Second, if the Android OS was the big draw to the G1, what does the myTouch have to lure upgraders? The biggest spec change was a doubling of internal memory to 512MB to help the phone load and exit applications in a much more rapid fashion. Other vitals, screen size and resolution, camera and processor all stay the same.
I lied about the two part question. Let’s make it a three-part. Third, if G1 users are not the target market (the above seems to indicate they’re not) who is? Perhaps it is those that have yet to be tempted to join the smartphone fun but haven’t committed. GMail users tend to be tech-aware which should mean they have or have a good lead on a smartphone for them. Everyone uses Google though so maybe they’ll push the Google angle hoping to cast a wide enough net to find another million users.
Android is a good OS that just needs users and some time to build an app catalog to rival others. In truth, if their market is “any Google user” and their pitch is “create your own experience” I believe they will have a hard time moving phones. Joe Public doesn’t know a darn thing about creating mobile experiences and having someone who does build his experience, and do it now for just $99 (Apple iPhone 3G) might be too much of an offer to pass up.
The phone will go on presale July 8th with an anticipated delivery in early August for $199.
Product site: [T-Mobile myTouch]