UPDATE WITH DEVICE INFO! Theory Update
As an early adopter and someone who pre-ordered the G1 on the first day of availability, I have been incredibly disappointed with T-mobile’s direction and lack of ambition with Android phones. Initially, it seemed as though T-mo would charge the way with releasing devices that run Googles little green alien. However, with disappointments like the CLIQ, MyTouch 3G(even the name is a joke), its Fender cousin, and now the Slide, it seems like T-mobile has given up the space of being the premier Android carrier. They do, however, still hold this title out of all the US GSM carriers.
Almost two years later, I am sitting here with my aging but wonderfully entertaining (thank you Cyanogenmod) G1 and no flagship Android device available on T-Mobile excluding the Nexus one.
My Hypothesis: T-mobile is announcing the ‘Slide and Touch my 3G’ to try and lure non-techies into a cheap and non-flagship device. Once the non-geeks jump onto the flashy, and cheaper Slide, they will release a truly flagship device for the geeks that bought the G1 in the first place. The release will be timed to the actual contract end-date of the G1, which is around October 2010.
Here is my theory: T-mobile data subscribers are eligible for upgrades after 18 months of the previous term. So that most of the non-techie G1 owners will naturally go and get the slide. Now the funny thing is that the Slide is actually a low end android device. The phone is built around the ARM 7227 processor clocked at 600 MHZ. When this processor was announced by Qualcomm it was billed as a low-end processor for sub-$150 phones. The genius button and the two-tiered skinning (tmo skin on top of the Sense UI on top of Android) does not appeal to the technically savvy crowd. Neither does the sidekick type styling and the general marketing that will be used to promote this device.
The Mytouch 3G slide costs $179.99 on contract, and one cannot expect to pay much more for a truly top-of-the-line device. The more people T-mobile can get to buy this phone, the higher their margin per subscriber will be due to the lower cost of the unit itself. Later on but before the end of the 24 months contract length, I believe they will introduce a flagship device probably priced at $199.99. This will allow them to bolster their bottom line and at the same time keep all the geeks and nerds around.
In conclusion: If you are an Android loving, T-mobile using, new phone needing Techie, wait for a surprise from T-mobile. All stars point to a new Android flagship device. At least, that’s what I’m hoping for.
UPDATE: Could this be it? a 5-Inch SonyEricsson device with a keyboard running Android 2.1. Probably not since it’s more of a PMP, but something to consider.