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Communications Handhelds Hardware

T-Mobile Will Be First To Use Android 203

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the setting-your-sights-too-high-can-lead-to-disappointment dept.
stoolpigeon writes to tell us that T-Mobile's upcoming phone will try to combine the best elements of many of the new smart phones, and will be using Google's Android software. "The HTC phone, which many gadget sites are calling the 'dream,' will have a touch screen, like the iPhone. But the screen also slides out to expose a full five-row keyboard. A video of the phone has been posted recently on YouTube. A person who has seen the HTC device said it matched the one in the video. The phone's release date depends on how soon the Federal Communications Commission certifies that the Google software and the HTC phone meet network standards. Executives at all three companies are hoping to announce the phone in September because they would benefit from holiday season sales."
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T-Mobile Will Be First To Use Android

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  • by Junior J. Junior III (192702) on Friday August 15, 2008 @03:34PM (#24620087) Homepage

    From the summary:

    A video of the phone has been posted recently on YouTube.

    Come on, link! I'm lazy!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 15, 2008 @03:34PM (#24620101)

    That sounds like a nice way of saying robot slavery! FREE OUR MECHANICAL BROTHERS!

  • FCC (Score:4, Insightful)

    by XanC (644172) on Friday August 15, 2008 @03:35PM (#24620115)

    The FCC has to certify software? That seem strange to anybody? Isn't regulation of the power and frequency enough, and everything else is between the carrier and the phone?

    • Re:FCC (Score:4, Interesting)

      by niceone (992278) * on Friday August 15, 2008 @03:42PM (#24620191) Journal
      Not so strange: the software will control the power and the frequency.
    • Re:FCC (Score:5, Informative)

      by JustOK (667959) on Friday August 15, 2008 @03:42PM (#24620193) Journal
    • Re:FCC (Score:5, Informative)

      by tepples (727027) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .selppet.> on Friday August 15, 2008 @03:43PM (#24620203) Homepage Journal

      The FCC has to certify software? That seem strange to anybody? Isn't regulation of the power and frequency enough, and everything else is between the carrier and the phone?

      If software controls the power and frequency [wikipedia.org], FCC regulates the software.

    • Re:FCC (Score:4, Funny)

      by oneal13rru (1322741) on Friday August 15, 2008 @03:44PM (#24620229) Journal
      Of course they do! It said Android!! They have to make sure it follows the 3 Laws of Robotics or the phone might take over the world!!
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by sm62704 (957197)

        Well, considering that T-Mobile and Google are corporations and the FCC is a government agency, you don't expect it to have to follow the zeroth law, now do you?

        Is the phone's code name "R. Giskard Relentlov" or "R. Daneel Olivaw"??

        • by Tumbleweed (3706) *

          you don't expect it to have to follow the zeroth law, now do you?

          0. [Classified]
          1. Serve the public
          2. Protect the innocent
          3. Uphold the law

          Hmmm...*that* doesn't inspire confidence...

          • Directive 4 was classified. I'm not sure what zeroth law is supposed to mean, but then again I've never read Asimov. Rather I recognize references to 80' sci-fi movies.

            • by Tumbleweed (3706) *

              Directive 4 was classified. I'm not sure what zeroth law is supposed to mean, but then again I've never read Asimov. Rather I recognize references to 80' sci-fi movies.

              Clearly, you have not yet received the upgraded humour module. Please to look up, "creative license."

        • by gmuslera (3436)
          Considering that comes from all those corporations, I would be scared of hidden directives if the phone's code name is R. Obocop.
        • by mcpkaaos (449561)

          Is the phone's code name "R. Giskard Relentlov" or "R. Daneel Olivaw"??

          My guess would be Caliban.

      • by Tumbleweed (3706) *

        Of course they do! It said Android!! They have to make sure it follows the 3 Laws of Robotics or the phone might take over the world!!

        Too late to worry about that - it's Google.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by wealthychef (584778) *
      It doesn't seem that strange. They probably regulate airborne communications, not airborne communications hardware. It's not the Federal Communications Hardware Commission, after all. Not that I think the government should have power not explicitly granted in the Constitution, but that's another story. :-)
      • by Anpheus (908711)

        This clearly falls under the commerce clause, as unregulated spectrum falls under a tragedy of the commons: he who shouts loudest is heard best, to the detriment of everyone else.

        We can't very well allow any corporation with a many-megawatt transmitter to drown out everyone else and damn the consequences. Likewise, our broadcast television, cell-phone and wireless internet infrastructure would never work if people and corporations were permitted to just use whatever spectrum they wanted at whatever output l

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by node 3 (115640)

          No, you simply just don't understand. The Constitution is a document perfect in crafting. There is no fault with the Constitution. Any fault here is your lack of faith in the rightness of the Constitution.

          If the Constitution doesn't explicitly address things like fire departments, libraries, schools, space programs, health care, nuclear weaponry or electromagnetic communications, those things clearly have absolutely no need for governmental attention. All problems related to any such issue can be completely

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      No. What if the frequency and power were correct, but then the phone decided to sniff out other phone calls and interfere with them? It'd still be within the correct frequency bands and power limits. They have to make sure that the phone "behaves" properly on the network.

    • by k1e0x (1040314)

      The NSA has to make sure they can turn it on in your pocket and bug you.. you know.. for your safety.. in case Bin Ladden ever got one.. and if you don't like that then you must be hiding something..

  • Is that "dream" as in "wonderous achievement" or "dream" as in "vapourware"?
  • by e2d2 (115622) on Friday August 15, 2008 @03:47PM (#24620287)

    A mention of Android? Cue iPhone debate.

  • Open markets. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by B5_geek (638928) on Friday August 15, 2008 @04:00PM (#24620479)

    Now that Google has a 'shipping' product I am excited about the future for these reasons:

    1) Google can pull an Apple'ish move and push for carriers to open up the networks.
    or (even better)
    2) Google can open up all of that dark-fiber that it has bought in the past and become a telecommunications juggernaught.

    Google already has data centers all over the planet, they can match these up with worldwide GSM coverage and beat the existing companies at their own game.

    I currently pay $150 CDN per month for the 'privilege' of using my phone anywhere in North America to make phone calls. If I try to use any data features I get charged $0.05/kb + US Roaming + US Data Rates/kb. To view the /. home page costs me almost $1.00 without viewing any stories.

    Canada has been crippled by our 3 colluding state-sponsored ogilopies and I am desperate for another option.

    Googles' ability to offer North America a non-draconian cellular service coupled with content/location-based advertising would be a god-send.

    Scenerio: Motorist stranded on side of the road; does a Google search via cell-phone for tow-truck. Built-in GPS can show you the closest mechanics, and contact info.

    Google; please take my money and give an option to ditch the horrible choices that I currently have.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by thanatos_x (1086171)

      For all the reasons that you mention, it makes me very glad Google is around. In general they're responsible for opening up a lot of markets that would otherwise not happen.

      Youtube doesn't make much money, but it enables other online video companies a respite because everyone targets youtube. Of course all this online video creates a huge demand for increased bandwidth. It creates more videos, since they can now be uploaded, and it creates more data that needs to be searched.

      Even if Google doesn't make mone

    • $CAD150/month? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Animaether (411575) on Friday August 15, 2008 @04:55PM (#24621203) Journal

      How on earth do you end up spending that much? Does that include making all your calls + roaming + etc?

      When I was in the U.S. for 3 months I got a Cingular prepaid SIM card - traveled all throughout the U.S. and could make calls just fine.. cost me $10. I'd imagine it'd work just fine in Canada as well on any GSM provider there. So I can't imagine the $CAD150/month being some flat fee just so you can actually use the phone on GSM networks.

    • by speedtux (1307149)

      1) Google can pull an Apple'ish move and push for carriers to open up the networks.

      Apple hasn't pushed for carriers to open up the networks to anybody but Apple. With an iPhone, you're far more restricted than with a Palm, Nokia, or Windows Mobile on any of the major carriers.

    • Surely the dark fibre is the easy part? Actually building out a GSM network means spending billions of dollars and years negotiating to build cell sites everywhere.
      While they have a few pieces of the puzzle, the cell sites themselves are the biggest and hardest part.

  • t-mobile? why? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by randyest (589159) on Friday August 15, 2008 @04:15PM (#24620649) Homepage
    How unfortunate. Isn't t-mobile the smallest network in the US, with the least coverage, and no 3G/high-speed data whatsoever?

    It was bad enough when Apple locked the iphone to AT&T, but at least they have some 3G and good coverage (after acquiring Cingular.) But t-mobile? That's not going to be good for business :(
    • Re:t-mobile? why? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Vectronic (1221470) on Friday August 15, 2008 @04:31PM (#24620835)

      Not good business? From which perspective?

      I have no idea about which companies have better coverage than the next in the US, but if T-Mobile is indeed the smallest, then it makes a lot of sense for Google to partner up with them for their first(?) phone, the contracts are probably better than they would get from going with a bigger corporation, bit cheaper, not as much loss if it fails, and from T-Mobile's perspective, they can't really go wrong, since its already got them a lot of publicity, stocks probably went up, more website/store hits, etc...

      As far as I am aware there is nothing keeping "Android" from also being used on any other phone that supports it (or vice versa), and that may happen more now if T-Mobile's attempt is even a moderate success.

      Besides, its a little more demand for 3G/better networks, or at least more awareness of the need even if it does fail.

    • T-Mobile is in the process of rolling out serviceable 3G. The new phone will have 3G, at least in some markets.

    • by kcbanner (929309) *
      Nobody said locking to T-Mobile. They are simply the first. RTFS maybe :)
    • by pavon (30274)

      T-mobile may own fewer towers than other companies, but they have the same coverage as any other GSM provider - they all have "roaming" agreements between each other that don't cost the user anything. You're close about 3G though - the only place they have 3G coverage yet is New York City.

      I like them because they have good prepay plans. In fact, AFAIK, they are the only major carrier that does - the other decent plans are with prepay-only carriers like tracphone. I don't use my phone a whole lot, and cut my

      • Wow. T-Mobile in the UK have some of the best 3G coverage (they're the only network I can get a 3G signal with at my mother's house in the middle of nowhere) and are busy rolling out 3.75G a networks with a 7.2Mb/s maximum speed in big cities. It's often hard to remember that, apart from the name, the two companies have very little in common.
    • by hellwig (1325869)
      It all depends on what you see as valid use of bandwidth. You ever watch tv on your Verizon phone? I don't even see commercials for that any more. I guess T-Mobile is waiting to see where the trends go before it devotes a lot of their resources into technology 90% of their customers WON'T use. I have a base plan with added text messages. I never felt the need to browse the internet on my phone. As far as needing directions or finding a place of business, that's what texting to GOOGL and my GPS are for
  • by barzok (26681) on Friday August 15, 2008 @04:32PM (#24620839)

    to lock their phones down tight and wipe out the OEM software in favor of their own crap, the chances of me ever getting to use it are close to nil. T-Mobile's coverage is spotty at best in the areas my wife & I frequent, even AT&T can get iffy, so we're stuck with Verizon.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by EXrider (756168)
      Same here, I HATE Verizon. But I'm stuck with them for the coverage. GSM calls don't even work in my house unless I'm standing in front of my living room window.

      Now, if I could get 802.11 roaming to make up for the loss of coverage in my house FOR A REASONABLE PRICE, I'd switch to a T-Mobile based Android in a second.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by TubeSteak (669689)

      T-Mobile's coverage is spotty at best in the areas my wife & I frequent, even AT&T can get iffy, so we're stuck with Verizon.

      T-Mobile will roam on AT&T/Cingular & Sprint's networks wherever they companies have agreements. m

      The only catch is that if you roam "too much" (for undefined values of to much) they'll terminate your contract.

      That said, you can always get a contract, try it out and you have 2 weeks to cancel it and get your money back.

      • by barzok (26681)

        T-Mobile will roam on AT&T/Cingular & Sprint's networks wherever they companies have agreements.

        T-Mobile & AT&T's coverage maps for my area are nearly identical. Stray off major roads and you're rolling the dice.

        OTOH, with Verizon, we've found at most a handful of dead zones, and they're at most 100 yards in radius.

  • by mini me (132455) on Friday August 15, 2008 @04:36PM (#24620881)

    It will be very interesting to watch the mobile computing space heat up. Can Android steal away the momentum the iPhone currently has on third-party development?

    • by Ma8thew (861741) on Friday August 15, 2008 @05:50PM (#24621869)

      The thing which is choking iPhone development right now is the absurd NDA, and the absolute control Apple has over the App store. The NDA prevents any discussions about development, if you want to see the frustrations caused by this, just follow Craig Hockenberry's Twitter feed [twitter.com]. He's the developer of Twitterrific.

      And why risk investing thousands in an iPhone app, if in the end, Apple can arbitrarily reject it? Not to mention the ridiculous wait times developers endure to push out updates, whilst Apple review them. Especially bad if you inadvertently ship a show stopper bug.

      Apple needs to sort this stuff out, or iPhone development will gradually die out. Which would be a shame, because they managed to get an awful lot of developers very excited about it.

      • by furball (2853)

        If $30 million/month in sales is what happens iPhone development is choking, I'd love to have my business choke too.

  • by loconet (415875)

    But if it's "open" why does it matter if it's T-Mobile who will be first. I can use it on my provider right......

  • iphone (Score:3, Interesting)

    by pak9rabid (1011935) on Friday August 15, 2008 @04:45PM (#24621033)
    I'd totally be interested in a version of Android for the iPhone. I like the hardware and Unix-based OS on the iPhone...I just don't like resorting to jailbraking it in order to utilize it the way I want.
    • Jailbreaking it is completely not scary. You download a program, load the software update (2.0.1 firmware support is working) from the iTunes folder, and let it run. When you update your phone with the 'new' software, you get a jailbroken iPhone

      If it doesn't work, you can restore from the stock firmware. And you have a backup of all your contacts and settings for both cases.

      What's scary is unlocking the phone from AT&T, which updates the baseband firmware. That will brick the phone.

  • by LarsG (31008) on Friday August 15, 2008 @06:00PM (#24621947) Journal

    Erm.. Shouldn't it be "HTC will be first"?

    Something must be seriously broken with the cell phone market in the US when $cell_carrier is considered more important than $phone_manufacturer.

  • I found here [electronista.com] of an earlier prototype. Video was released sometime in February 08.

    It does not look substantially different, saved for being black instead of white.

  • by Coward Anonymous (110649) on Saturday August 16, 2008 @03:16AM (#24624751)

    I know someone (who shall remain nameless) who got a pre-production HTC handset like this from their (nameless) employer.
    To prove I've played with it: the friend's phone had a mode where unlocking it required connecting a grid of dots in a particular order. This may exist on other phones but I'd never seen it before. Cute gimmick.
    Unless HTC and Google sort out the HW and UI it's a non-starter as an iphone competitor.
    This may change in production but the touchscreen is simply horrible. It's unresponsive and inaccurate. This is plainly visible in this video [youtube.com] of the device. Apart from that, the device is big and fat. I did not get a chance to test call quality or battery life.
    The UI itself is not as simple as the iPhone's. It's yet another spin on the usual icons in windows maze that invariably leave you lost.
    Apple's "secret" sauce is execution. Their phone is pretty, their HW works with the software (the touchscreen anyway, not the 3G issues... :) and they've made it dead simple to download $999.99 useless apps. It all works together well.
    Shipping Android on subpar HW, such as the example I saw, will doom it to being yet another of the "other" phones.

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