On Tuesday morning,
officials will be in New York to tell the journalists and analysts all about the upcoming release of what has been touted as the first possible
iPhone killer: the
. It will be the first released device that runs on the open-source, Android smartphone operating system.
We're not sure of its exact name -- or all of the features that will be included. But according to many of the bloggers who think they know (and also the "leaks" in and around the industry), we think the phone, made by HTC, will have some sort of hardware as well as an on-screen keyboard, will connect to many Google services (Gmail, calendar, Google maps with GPS, Google office suite, and a Google "app" store), will have Bluetooth and Wi-Fi and will connect to T-Mobile's brand-spanking new 3G network.
Google Phone for $150?
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Earlier Thursday, T-Mobile announced that by the middle of next month, it will have its 3G service up and running in 21 U.S. cities: Austin, Baltimore, Boston, Dallas, Houston, Las Vegas, Miami, Minneapolis, New York (including northern New Jersey and Long Island), Phoenix, Portland, San Antonio and San Diego. The company plans to expand its 3G service by mid-October to Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, Orlando, Philadelphia, Sacramento, San Francisco and Seattle as well as six additional markets -- Birmingham, Denver, Detroit, Kansas City, Memphis and Tampa -- before the end of the year. T-Mobile says those 27 cities represent more than two-thirds of all its data customers.
Until now, T-Mobile has been at a disadvantage when it came to 3G. It just didn't have enough spectrum to construct a proper high-speed data network. That was, until the government auctions awhile back. T-Mobile bought itself enough AWS spectrum to deploy an all new UMTS/HSDPA data network across the country.
On the other hand, those new data frequencies are not compatible with any other 3G service on the planet. So, new 3G handsets have to be designed and made especially for T-Mobile. The Google phone is one of the first. Here in New York, the 3G network has just been switched on. I've been playing with
3G andsets, but they're not really top-of-the-line data devices, so it's been difficult to tell just how fast upload and download speeds really are.
There also are rumors that the new phone will rival the iPhone with another feature: price. Today, some are speculating that the
will retail for $199 with a two-year contract. As of this writing, I am assured that would be the absolute maximum number. I wouldn't be surprised if the actual price were a little lower than $200 -- maybe in the $150-$175 range.
We're all waiting to see whether this first Android-based device lives up to all the industry hype and whether it can stand up to the already user-tested iPhone,
Centro or any and all of the Nokia and
Research In Motion
Blackberry devices on the planet.
Gary Krakow is TheStreet.com's senior technology correspondent.