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T-Mobile Prepping G2 As Its First HSPA+ Phone

The Android-powered device will run at 4G speeds, says the carrier's teaser site.



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T-Mobile has created a mini-site to promote its first HSPA+ compatible Android phone, known as the G2, according to the carrier. The Google Android-powered smartphone will be the first to run on T-Mobile's HSPA+ network, which claims speeds of 4G. It is the successor to the T-Mobile G1, which was launched two years ago.

The carrier is divulging little about the G2, except to say in a statement that it is "proud to have launched the world's first Android-powered phone, the T-Mobile G1, which captured the imagination of developers and consumers alike nearly two years ago." The G2 will "deliver tight integration with Google services and break new ground as the first smartphone designed to run at 4G speeds on our new HSPA network," the carrier said.

T-Mobile said more news will be released "in the coming weeks," and that current T-Mobile customers would be the first to have access to the new smartphone. T-Mobile's HSPA+ network is available in close to 50 markets now, covering 85 million users.

The G1 was launched in September 2008 with a touchscreen, a pull-out QWERTY keyboard, navigation trackball, and a Webkit open source browser with Google Maps.

A leaked roadmap showing T-Mobile's upcoming device launches for the rest of 2010 indicated the G2 may make its debut in September.

With a global marketshare equal to RIM and bigger than Apple, Android-powered smartphones are a must for all carriers if they are to remain competitive, said Mike Morgan, a senior analyst at ABI Research. The typical lifecycle of a smartphone is about two years, so it makes sense that T-Mobile is moving away from the G1 to the G2, he added.

The G2 will have upgraded Android technology and HSPA+, "which is not a 4G technology, it is a fast download technology,'' Morgan noted. While it won't be akin to the HTC EVO 4G, the G2 "is going to let T-Mobile show off some of its network enhancements it's been dumping its billions into."

Morgan said he expects the G2 will come with basic Wi-Fi 802.11n, since it's a new phone and the cost of adding it in isn't that much. "What will be interesting to see … is if [the G2] has any UMA [unlicensed mobile access] technology built into it" -- a way that T-Mobile USA allows users to make calls over their T-Mobile Wi-Fi router without having to use their minutes, he said.

"T-Mobile has been expanding its 4G coverage and it needs a powerful phone that can deliver a rich end user experience,'' concurred Vishal Jain, an analyst at the 451 Group, in an e-mail. "Google's Android has been gaining significant traction, and tight integration with the phone should deliver the 'wow factor' promised by the network capability." Jain added that in order to attract customers to 4G, T-Mobile needs to offer smartphones with "rich software and applications."

Consumers can register for updates on the G2 at T-Mobile's mini-site.

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