T-Mobile announces first Android-based phone – will it fool everyone?

Whether to buy a smartphone or a basic phone is a conscious decision for most subscribers when shopping for a new model. However that may soon be changing, according to ABI Research director, Kevin Burden.

Burden stated: “Today’s unveiling of the T-Mobile G1, the first mobile phone based on the Android platform from the Google-spawned Open Handset Alliance (OHA), may be the beginning of a significant movement towards a situation in which a majority of mobile phones will run a high level operating system, rather than the variety of real time operating systems currently powering more than 85% of the world’s mobile phones.”

If Google’s intentions behind Android and the formation of the OHA are indeed about leading the industry towards common standards that halt further fragmentation so that its services have a broad base to work on, its emphasis will be on the high volume feature phone market rather than pitting the G1 against lower volume smartphones that offer similar functionality, said Burden.

Since users buy mobile phones not operating systems, the ultimate goal of the OHA is that users will eventually buy an Android-based phone without necessarily intending to buy a software-heavy handset.

Marketing based on capabilities has brought the smartphone market to less than 15% of worldwide handset sales, ABI figures show. Burden concluded: “If Android is going to pay off for Google and OHA, subscribers will need to start buying smartphones without fully realizing what they just purchased.”

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