T-Mobile’s myTouch Due in August – Will Anyone Care?

mytouch.jpgT-Mobile will unveil the company’s second attempt to make an Android smartphone matter in the North American market come August, according to a report Monday at TechCrunch, and while the phone appears to have some worthy features its eventual success remains an open question.

To be called the myTouch and sell for $199, according to the report, T-Mobile’s Android 2.0 is apparently a modified HTC Magic, which has been available in Europe for a couple of months and went on sale more recently in Canada.

The myTouch will lose the Android G1’s physical keyboard and sport a more robust battery than T- Mobile’s initial open source Android product, but offers little to distinguish it from the latest version of Apple’s iPhone or the putative new kid on the smartphone block, Palm’s Pre.

The major drawback for the myTouch will undoubtedly be its lack of multi-touch screen functionality that sets the iPhone and Pre above others in the smartphone class. An improved battery and Android’s ability to run third party applications in the background (which the iPhone famously prohibits, based mainly on concerns for battery life) could draw some curiosity seekers; and widespread dislike for AT&T’s network — the only one iPhone presently runs on in the US — could attract those who find T-Mobile a more palatable carrier than AT&T or the Pre’s Sprint Network.

T-Mobile’s marketing for the myTouch and TechCrunch’s initial review on the device both tout “a deep level of customization” as the biggest thing going for it, however, and that does not bode well for a gadget in a category with performance specs that improve markedly with each new release.

The myTouch will come in a choice of three hardware colors (black, white and a shade of purple the company calls “distinctive merlot”) and feature an array of themes and skins to customize menus, wallpapers, icons and a range of other things, which doesn’t sound like the kind of $200 device that’s likely to sell a million units its first weekend on the market.

Perhaps disaffection with Apple’s tight control of the third party application market will continue to grow; perhaps applications developed for the Pre will fail to materialize. And perhaps millions of people will be attracted to the idea of spending time setting up and customizing their phone instead of using it.

Perhaps, but not likely.

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  • Great article. It’s going to be tough competing against the Apple market especially now that it’s cheaper to even own one of those toys. Being an iPhone user myself its not likely I would convert just because I can customize my phone.

  • A reader

    Wow, you truly don’t know what you’re talking about.

    Already, the G1 (the MyTouch’s predecessor) has sold well over 1 million phones and there are over 5000 apps available for the phone with most being free (Pre has 14), including an app to turn the phone into a metal detector, Google Streetview that gives virtual location viewing in real time and in real space, as well as calorie counting fitness programs, an app that scans barcodes to find the best price for any items in stores and on-line, and the ability to stream full films (Saving Private Ryan, Pirates of the Carribean, etc) for free. All of these apps are free and not available for iPhone users. Let’s not forget that even if MyTouch’s T-Mobile market is saturated, there are 17 other Android phones coming out by the end of the year on Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, as well as T-Mobile. Adobe Flash is coming to Android where it’s nowhere on the development table for the iPhone.

    If you want to trash talk, at least have a basic understanding of what you are talking about.

  • @A reader: what I do know is that the number of Android phones and 3rd party apps in the marketplace pales in comparison to the number of iPhones and iPhone apps.

    What I do know is that the number of developers interested in developing for iPhone dwarfs the number interested in developing for Android or Blackberry or Palm.

    What I do know is that Stanford University teaches courses in iPhone development while it does not teach them for the other smartphone platforms, yet.

    What I do know is that many savvy people believe Flash will be a royal clusterf*ck on mobile platforms.

    All of this may change and change comes faster and faster all the time. My guess is the myTouch will send small ripples across the large mobile phone pond this summer.

    We’ll see what happens.

  • Pomme Homme

    Lonnie: By your logic, then, Windows is far superior to OSX.

    What I do know is that the number of Mac installations and 3rd party apps in the marketplace pales in comparison to the number of Windows installations and Windows apps.

    What I do know is that the number of developers interested in developing for Windows dwarfs the number interested in developing for OSX or Linux or Unix.

    What I do know is that Stanford is an exclusive private school that feeds the needs of Silicon Valley corporations in exchange for large donations and is just a few miles away from the Apple campus and the fact that NO OTHER SCHOOL more than a few blocks from Cupertino has an iPhone development course for fear of being laughed at.

    What I do know is that there may be “savvy people” on Apple’s payroll (which this site appears to be) that thinks Flash on a mobile phone is a clusterfuck, no legitimately technically savvy person believes that.

    All of this will change because Apple changes its mind faster all the time. My guess is that the iPhone will be supporting Flash before long because it will have to and the company’s pouty little spat with Adobe (the real reason Flash is not supported) will disappear.

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  • Good one, PH.

    As the great Bard wrote, “time will tell who has fell and who’s been left behind…”