Still unknown: Whether Google’s (GOOG) Android ‘GPhone’ smartphone operating system — an impressive technical achievement — will become a commercial success.
But U.S. carrier partner T-Mobile seems to think it could be: T-Mobile is planning to order between 1.5 million and 2 million units of the first Android-powered phone, the HTC ‘G1’, “including 400,000 to 500,000 to be sold in the fourth quarter of this year,” Taiwanese news site CENS reports, citing “industry insiders.”
Google’s phone goes on sale on Oct. 22. So selling 400,000 to 500,000 phones in 71 days would be about half the rate at which Apple sold its first iPhone in the summer of 2007 — 1 million shipped in 74 days. That’s a solid pace, and if T-Mobile can hit the 1 million mark in early 2009, that’s a real commercial market that Android developers can get excited about.
CENS’ report also gives us an idea about how much HTC is charging T-Mobile wholesale for the phones. HTC expects NT$7 billion in Q4 revenue — $218 million — from the devices, according to the report. Assuming a midpoint of 450,000 shipments, that suggests they’re priced around $480 wholesale. That suggests T-Mobile is subsidizing them around $300 down to their $180 retail price — which seems about right.
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