T-Mobile (DT) will start selling its second Google (GOOG) Android-powered phone in August for $199. The new “T-Mobile myTouch 3G with Google” is the name it’s giving the HTC Magic, which went on sale in other countries earlier this year.
The new gadget is nice-enough looking, and the Google software is better than a lot of the competition. But in the era of a $99 Apple (AAPL) iPhone and $199 iPhone 3G S, there’s nothing here that makes this a must-have phone. Unless T-Mobile and Google do something radical — such as offering the phone for $49 or free, or making monthly service much cheaper than $65+ a month — it is not going to attract a whole lot of would-be iPhone buyers.
Meanwhile, T-Mobile is hoping that a big emphasis on “customisation” — letting users change a bunch of stuff that Apple doesn’t let you change, like the way your home screen looks and works — will attract attention. And it’s invested in promoting a new local retaurant/shopping search app called Sherpa, which it hopes will set it further apart from other phones.
That’s fine. We’re not so sure if people value customisation more than features available on the iPhone — like a much bigger app store, iTunes syncing, etc. — but it worked for MySpace, so maybe T-Mobile will get a few fans there.
And based on its physical appearance — looks like a slightly thicker iPhone with a few more buttons — it should do well as T-Mobile’s high-end smartphone. (Especially now that it’ll support Microsoft Exchange e-mail.) That is, loyal T-Mobile subscribers and Google addicts will continue to upgrade to it, the same way more than 1 million purchased its predecessor, the T-Mobile G1.
So, in summary, the myTouch should sell fine — relative to T-Mobile’s other devices — and will help boost some subscribers’ monthly service spending. But it’s not going to take meaningful share from Apple or other carriers.