T-Mobile USA is unveiling new details today about its second phone based on the Android operating system. Called myTouch, the phone is expected to round out some of the rough edges of the T-Mobile G1, which was never able to expand past the technology-savvy, early-adopter market.
T-Mobile says this version will have more features that mass consumers expect from a smartphone today, like Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) Exchange support and longer battery life. But whether it will be able to effectively compete with other phones on the market, like the Palm (NSDQ: PALM) Pre and the latest iPhone, remains to be seen. The phone will be available for pre-sale starting later this month with nationwide availability coming in August. The phone will cost $199 for a two-year commitment.
The myTouch is essentially identical to the HTC Magic being sold by Vodafone (NYSE: VOD) in Europe, and does not come with a full Qwerty keyboard, like the G1. In addition to Microsoft Exchange support, it will come with other T-Mobile features, such as myFaves, which allows unlimited calling to five people of your choice, and an application called Sherpa, built by Geodelic, specifically for the myTouch. The application is like CitySearch, but adapts to your preferences the more you use it.
Josh Lonn, T-Mobile USA’s director of Product Development, told mocoNews that they consider the G1 to be a success after selling more than 1 million devices, and that it did a great job of establishing Android as a “relevant option in the mobile space.” But the the G1 was generally aimed at the technology crowd “to show what the platform will do.” With myTouch, it is now important to “deliver an optimal, T-Mobile experience — something for the masses, something that is a little more consumer friendly.”
While the phone will offer a more T-Mobile-like experience that doesn’t mean it will lose any of the Google (NSDQ: GOOG) features. It will still come with Google Search, Maps, YouTube and Picasa. It will also have an improved camera at 3.2 megapixels, and will have the standard Wi-Fi, 3G, GPS connectivity. It will also come loaded with a 4GB microSD card for saving music and pictures. Something that all T-Mobile Android phones will gain is the ability to download music from Amazon’s embedded MP3 application over 3G, not just Wi-Fi. Another important part will be the selling experience. Customer service representatives will train users on the phone more thoroughly. A number of accessories will also be available to customize your device such as new battery colored battery covers.
That flexibility is something that neither the iPhone or the Palm Pre offers, however, it may still have a hard time stacking up against the Pre, which has been able to generate a lot of buzz, and sold tens of thousands of the devices on opening weekend, or latest iPhone, which costs the same amount even though it comes with 16GB of hard drive capacity, 50,000 potential applications and the powerful advertising machines behind Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) and AT&T.