One of Apple’s (AAPL) biggest effects on the mobile industry: Now that AT&T (T) is subsidizing the iPhone 3G down to $199, competitors have cut their prices, too. If your phone isn’t nearly as good as the iPhone, it can’t retail for the same price, or even close to the same price.
We saw that last month, when Sprint Nextel (S) slashed prices on its iPhone-wannabe Samsung Instinct.
And now we’re seeing it at T-Mobile. As we had predicted in June, the carrier has slashed the price of the Motorola ROKR E8. Two months ago it was selling for $199. Now, after subsidy and mail-in rebate, you can get one for $99.
The new ROKR isn’t a bad phone, by the way. We’ve been playing with one for a few days, courtesy the fine folks at Motorola (MOT), who weren’t have been pleased with our first moniker for their gadget: “iPhone Summer Roadkill.”
The screen is small, and surfing the Web with its browser is a pain — standard complaints for most non-smartphones. But we enjoy its solid heft; it doesn’t feel like a cheap phone. And its ever-changing keypad and squishy-feeling haptic feedback are novel features.
But in the era of a $199 iPhone — even though the iPhone costs more per month to use, etc. — it’s just going to have a hard time selling for $199. A $99 price tag is a better fit.
How The New iPhone Is Already Changing The Mobile Industry: Cheaper Smartphones
Steve Jobs’ iPhone Gamble: Betting Billions To Beat RIM, Microsoft
The $199 iPhone’s Summer Roadkill: Moto’s ROKR E8
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