The mobile providers’ device lineups are ever-changing, and the forces that create the dynamics are difficult to understand. Six month ago, when the Google Nexus One was announced along with T-Mobile as the initial service provider, this subsidiary of the German Telekom appeared to be on the cutting edge of the promising Android market and its growing threat to Apple’s dominance.
Today, a visit of T-Mobile’s website in an attempt to upgrade to anything remotely attractive that runs Android results in utter disappointment. The Garminfone is the latest addition, but hardly attractive with its comparatively small screen (320×480), outdated OS version (1.6), inferior processing power (600mHz), and unknown upgrade options (the device is provider-locked, after all). It comes with a car mount and charger. Maybe this phone appeals to a niche market of GPS aficionados, but to general Android customers it does not – at least not at $200 and a 2-year contract.
Everything else I see on the site is even less attractive. There are the MyTouch and Cliq, and yes, the G1 is still for sale as well. No thanks, is all I can say.
It looks that as of today (June 2010), if you are an existing T-Mobile customer wishing to upgrade to a modern Android device, your best bet is still to purchase a Nexus One from Google without a contract – the same situation that we had back in January. What has changed is that competitors today have better hardware that they sell directly. Stories like this one sound too good to be true – if T-Mobile has plans to add subsidized Android devices to their line-up, why don’t they share these plans so that customer can factor this into their purchase decision. If you don’t want to shell out $500+ for a phone without a contract and don’t mind signing up for a 2 year contract, Verizon’s new Droid Incredible sure looks like a worthy reason to switch (this still is a CDMA phone, however, since Verizon does not have a GSM network – which means that you can’t use the phone while travelling abroad).
Update: I was researching this because my wife needed a new phone. I ended up bying a practically new T-Mobile MyTouch Slide 3G on eBay, for close to $400. While it is not a bad phone, it cannot compete with the Nexus One.